Intel’s latest HX chips bring desktop-grade features to gaming laptops



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Intel’s 12th-Gen Alder Lake CPUs (opens in new tab) have already wowed on the desktop and in laptops, where its hybrid architecture produced a great performance uptick, particularly when it comes to gaming. Intel isn’t done with its new architecture and has just announced the release of its HX processors—the most powerful mobile Alder Lake chips yet.

A total of seven HX processors are being launched across the usual Core i5, Core i7, and Core i9 models. These “Ajax” chips are unlocked and overclockable, essentially using desktop-caliber silicon in a mobile package. These CPUs come with support for x16 PCIe 5.0 natively, with a dedicated platform controller hub (PCH) supporting up to four PCIe 4.0 SSDs, for seriously beefy configurations. 

As with existing Alder Lake chips, these new HX processors support DDR5/LPDDR5 as well as DDR4, although given the nature of the machines these chips will be used in, we’d expect DDR5 to be the norm. New here is support for EEC RAM, which offers improved integrity and reliability for larger data sets that are commonly needed for workstation-class uses.

These chips are available with up to 16 cores (that’s eight Performance cores and eight Efficient cores), for a total of 24 threads. This is the configuration of the top-end chip, the 55W Core i9 12900HX, which supports P- and E-core overclocking as well as support for XMP 3.0 memory overclocking. Obviously how much you can overclock any of these chips is down to the individual laptops and the cooling provided. 

These chips are designed to be used in laptops with discrete graphics, including Intel’s own Arc offerings, although what systems builders actually use is going to be down to whatever is available. Intel says it already has more than 10 different workstations and gaming machines planned to be released this year, with the likes of Dell, HP, and Lenovo all providing machines showing off these new chips.

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