Intel Alder Lake mobile: lineup and details of the new low-power CPUs for ultra-thin laptops

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Let’s talk about the laptop variants of the 12th generation Intel processors again, but this time the spotlight shifts to lineup and details of Intel Core P and Intel Core U processorsthe two low-power series that will arrive on board more than 250 portable and ultraportable devices in the course of 2022.

The architecture is the Alder Lake one we know well by now and the philosophy, similar to that of the ultra-high-performance laptop models presented at CES 2022, is to reduce high-performance P-cores while maintaining a high number of E-cores ad high efficiency, useful for guaranteeing a high overall power without weighing too much on consumption.

We are talking about 28 W and 15 W models, with a variant of the Intel Core U series at 9 W for particularly compact tablets and ultraportable, which however maintain at least two high-performance cores, useful for devices that look to an increasingly interested public. to devices capable of combining high portability, remarkable computing capacity and even good performance in gaming.

Hardware features

Intel’s mobile processor family

The consumption of the first high-end desktop models of the Alder Lake series have raised some concern, but with the arrival of mobile models it has become clear that the new Intel architecture enjoys good scalability that allows less pushed processors to maintain excellent performance despite a clear decrease in frequencies. And it is a vital factor for laptop processors, especially in the case of those of the 28W Intel Core P series, designed for thin laptopsbut high-performance, and the Intel Core U series that looks to convertible And ultraportable in the 15 W version and points to tablets, folding and ultra-thin devices in the 9 W variant.

One of the secrets, we said, is the change, compared to desktop CPUs, in the ratio of high-performance cores to high-efficiency cores. We have seen the same philosophy with high-end mobile processors, but in this case the relationship in favor of high-efficiency cores becomes even more marked, excluding the flagship model of the series Intel Core P, the Intel Core i7-1280P, which retains 6 high-performance cores and 12 threads and 8 high-efficiency cores, like the 12900HK. All pushed to a maximum of 4.8 GHz in Turbo mode which is not bad for the flagship processor of a 28 W Base Power series.

The Intel Core i7-1270P, on the other hand, drops to 4 P-cores with 8 threads, but retains the 8 E-cores which are a constant across the board. We find them, in fact, also on the Intel Core i7-1260P, Core i5-1250P and Core i5-1240P, equipped with 4 cores and 8 threads, and even on the weakest model, the Core i3 1220-p, still guarantees an overall count. of 10 cores promising, thanks to Alder Lake’s net performance leaps, a net leap in the overall power of laptops. Of course, in the case of the Core i5 and Core i3 both the frequencies and the number of joined computes of the Integrated Intel iRIS Xe GPUthe same from a maximum of 96 EU that we find on the Alder Lake-H, but on the other hand we are talking about 28 W models, although the limit in Max Turbo Power is well 64 W.

The scalability of Intel's new GPUs

The scalability of Intel’s new GPUs

However, it should be noted that the increase in efficiency has allowed us to push up to 28 W models in the past to 15 W, where we now find the flagship lineup of the series Intel Core U which, with the same core, promises performance not too far from those of the higher models. This is thanks to similar frequencies which however involve a Max Turbo Power of 55 W, not too lower than that of the previous series. Additionally, the entire series is limited to 2 high-performance cores, excluding models Pentium And Celeron who are satisfied with only one core. This limit, however, makes a completely similar series possible, excluding 100 MHz less speed in Boost for the top model, limited to 9 W of Base Power and 29 W of Max Turbo Power.

As for features of the platform, Intel Core P and Intel Core U series give up little by supporting DDR4 3200, DDR5 4800, LPDDR4X 4267, LPDDR5 5200, WiFi 6E (Gig +), 4 Thunderbolt 4 ports, 2 PCIe Gen 4 slots for SSDs, 10 USB 2 ports , 4 USDB 3 ports and DisplayPort 1.4b. We also find the Intel 5G Solution 5000 module which, despite the transition to 9 W of Base Power, does not give up latest generation WiFi 6 and DisplayPort 1.4b. On the other hand, it is satisfied with only LPDDR4X and LPDDR5 mobile memories, with only one PCIe Gen4 for SSD, with 6 USB 2.0 ports and 4 USB 3.0 ports, but the sacrifices are functional to the net reduction of the package size, essential for extremely compact devices. which drops to 28.5x19x1.1 mm from the 50x25x1.3 mm of the higher models.


The performance of Alder Lake CPUs

The performance of Alder Lake CPUs

Speaking of performance, Intel’s internal tests are dedicated to the top models of the two series, starting withIntel Core i7-1280P which promises a 70% increase in overall performance, with all threads at work, compared to the Intel Core i7-1195G7, based on Tiger Lake architecture. Enough, according to the official slides, to support the Apple M1 Pro with the same consumption and to overcome it with consumption from 30 W upwards. We are instead on the side of the Apple M1 in the case of the Core i7-1265U at 15 W, surpassed by the AMD Ryzen 5800U which, however, loses ground with increasing consumption, so much so that it is just more powerful with the Intel processor at 25 W and the AMD one at 35 W.

In terms of productivity, Intel benchmarks indicate a 50% decrease in rendering time in the Blender 3.0 Car Demo compared to the Intel Core i7-1195G7. In this case, the Apple M1 Pro is slightly more performing and in the case of AMD we must consider the arrival of the 6000 series which mounts much more powerful integrated graphics, but the leap of the new Alder Lake mobile processors compared to the Tiger Lake is undoubtedly remarkable. .

Performance with Iris Xe

Performance with Iris Xe

According to what Intel has published, we are talking about overall performance in CrossMark by 20% higher than those of the flagship model of the previous series which, in the Intel tests including productivity and system reaction times, would be on par with an M1 Pro, with the latter being passed in cross-tests also by the Core i7 -1265U.

All in function of compact systems that also promise decent performance in gaming, while not changing the integrated GPU compared to the previous series. However, there is talk of a recent architecture that in the case of the flagship GPU from 96 EU Intel iRIS Xe promises an average 58 fps in Deep Rock Galactic, 62 fps in CS: GO, 72 fps in Dota 2, 81 fps in Rocket League and 115 fps in League of Legends, in all cases in 1080p at high graphics settings. Enough, therefore, for those who do not mind playing on ultra-portable, with the advantages on consumption and productivity also guaranteed by the new EVO specifications, but do not have great needs and do not aim for high-profile graphics titles.

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