Intel Alder Lake comes to lightweight little laptops

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(Image credit: Intel)

Intel has been making some pretty hefty announcements in the PC gaming space lately. With last week’s 2022 investors day presentation we saw heaps of news drop and even got a look at the company’s CPU roadmap for 2024 and beyond. Talks of 13th, 14th, and even 15th gen CPUs are mentioned to already be in development. But that doesn’t mean the well respected 12th gen Alder Lake is done with by any means, and very soon we get to see the new lightweight mobile chips added to this generation in action.

While we’ve been seeing excellent performance from the beefy laptop-friendly Alder Lake H series chips, it’s taken a bit longer for Intel’s lower-end mobile offerings to release. Finally, the new Alder Lake chips for more modest or lightweight laptops have arrived, and Intel has not held back on the options available.

There are 20 different kinds of the new P and U series of Alder Lake chips available to work in different devices. Already 250 laptops are planned to harbour the chips this year, the first of which are expected to start releasing in March 2022. They’re also coming in a range of prominent brand’s laptops including Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, LG, MSI, NEC, and Samsung. 

At least 100 of these devices have received Intel Evo specification, meeting the high multitasking requirements expected of the hybrid chips. Some are even said to have folding displays and other new fun features. The chips even support Wi-Fi 6e for some reason. Hopefully this means we are going to see some very zippy lightweight Intel powered laptops in the coming months.

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The chips themselves aren’t too different from the rest of the Alder Lake lineup, and that’s almost certainly a good thing. They’re still using the hybrid architecture this gen has become known for and can have up to 14 cores total (6 Performance cores and 8 Efficient cores) like the P series' i7 1280P. 

These numbers actually match up with current models from the H series like i9 12900HK, but are still clearly going to be less powerful on other fronts. There are also going to be much less powerful and likely cheaper options for those who don’t need anywhere near that much grunt, like the i3 1215U with only 2 P cores and 4 E cores to its name. All the new Alder Lake chips will have a lower power draw than the H series and lower clock speeds as well.

The chips allow for memory support for DDR5 and DDR4 RAM, assuming any is available, and provide Integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, though of course can be paired with a discrete card depending on the manufacturer's choosing. Judging by the sheer number of devices listed it sounds like there are going to be plenty of options at different levels of power for anyone looking to check out the new series of laptops.

While clearly positioned to be the cheaper, lightweight, and less powerful options, it's going to be interesting to see how these new P series stack up to the H series of chips. The U series are clearly designed to be even smaller and less power-hungry, but it sounds like they can have a surprising amount of heft to them too. It’s clear these are designed more for productivity, work, and Zoom meetings but maybe they’ll play a game or two while they’re at it.

Hope Corrigan
Hardware Writer

Hope’s been writing about games for about a decade, starting out way back when on the Australian Nintendo fan site Since then, she’s talked far too much about games and tech for publications such as Techlife, Byteside, IGN, and GameSpot. Of course there’s also here at PC Gamer, where she gets to indulge her inner hardware nerd with news and reviews. You can usually find Hope fawning over some art, tech, or likely a wonderful combination of them both and where relevant she’ll share them with you here. When she’s not writing about the amazing creations of others, she’s working on what she hopes will one day be her own. You can find her fictional chill out ambient far future sci-fi radio show/album/listening experience podcast right here. No, she’s not kidding.