Intel Announces 16-Core Alder Lake-HX Extreme Mobile Platform

At today’s Intel Vision conference the company unveiled a new version of Alder Lake for mobile. Unlike its existing H-class mobile CPUs, the new HX variants are designed for extreme performance in a variety of workloads. It’s sort of like HEDT for laptops, if you will. Intel is even marketing the new chips as “desktop-caliber” technology.

This new batch of CPUs is designed for workstations and desktop replacement gaming machines. They mark the arrival of 16-core CPUs and PCIe Gen 5 in the mobile space, which is a first for the industry.

These new CPUs join the Alder Lake H “enthusiast” mobile family. They are one rung higher, representing the company’s flagship mobile parts. You know Intel means business because they added an X to the name. One huge difference between the HX and H series is the seven new CPUs are desktop chips with BGA packaging. Also, as extreme CPUs Intel has bumped power consumption across the board. This family is all 55W base power CPUs, as opposed to 45W for the H-class CPUs. Max Turbo Power has also been juiced to 157W for the entire lineup. The high-end CPUs in the H family top out at 115W, with the second-tier chips hitting 95W. Intel was able to squeeze its Alder Lake chips into a mobile footprint by reducing their Z-height by 2.4mm. The other dimensions of the CPU package are exactly the same at 45mm by 37.5mm.

Like Alder Lake desktop CPUs, these chips are made for overclocking. Every SKU supports overclocking, as well as Intel XMP 3.0 for DDR5. As with standard Alder Lake, DDR4-3200 and DDR5-4800 are both supported. Up to 128GB of memory is possible and ECC is also supported on certain models. It’ll be the first mobile platform to offer PCIe 5.0 with 48 PCIe lanes. (5.0 x16 + 4.0 x20 + 3.0 x12). This is a notable increase from Alder Lake H, which offers PCIe 4.0 x16 and PCIe 3.0 x12. These chips also support Intel Thread Director for optimized workload balancing in Windows 11. It also supports up to four PCIe SSDs for up to 16TB of storage. Extreme indeed.

The top four CPUs in the stack are Intel’s first 16-core mobile CPUs. They all feature eight hyper-threaded performance cores and eight efficiency cores, given them a total of 24 threads. The previous flagship, the Core i9-12900HK, topped out at 14 cores and 20 threads. The two Core i9 CPUs also have 6MB more of L3 cache than their H counterparts, for a total of 30MB.

Another way in which these chips differs drastically from their H-class counterparts is their GPUs. As desktop class parts their iGPUs are trimmed down significantly compared to the mobile versions. This is because all of these chips will be paired with a discrete GPU. While the high-end H-class chips have 96 Execution Units (EUs), the HX mobile parts have just 32 EUs in six of the seven CPUs. The “entry level” HX part has just 16 EUs, so they all have about one-third of the EUs of their H-class brothers and sisters.

These new CPUs will be appearing in a plethora of both gaming and workstation notebooks. In fact, we’ve already discussed one of them previously: the Dell Precision 7670. You might recall this is the laptop with Dell’s new DDR5 memory module named CAMM. Other models include the Asus ROG Scar Strix 17 SE, MSI GT77 Titan, HP Omen 17, and more. These will all be big, beefy notebooks, no doubt.

For now it seems like this lineup of mobile CPUs will have a run of the place as AMD’s current 6000-series chips are more focused on efficiency than raw horsepower. AMD also recently announced its 6000-series Pro processors, but those are also focused on battery life and security, not maximum performance. That will all change later this year (or early 2023) when AMD releases its next-generation mobile platform based on Zen 4. Those chips, which are named Dragon Range, were built to capture the performance crown on mobile. AMD is pre-bragging about those CPUs having the highest core, clock, and cache numbers in a mobile solution. With today’s announcement from Intel, AMD clearly has its work cut out for it. It brings to mind the words of a noble Japanese scientist: “let them fight.”

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