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

Intel Alder Lake HX CPU
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel's 12th-Gen Alder Lake CPUs 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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Alan Dexter

Alan has been writing about PC tech since before 3D graphics cards existed, and still vividly recalls having to fight with MS-DOS just to get games to load. He fondly remembers the killer combo of a Matrox Millenium and 3dfx Voodoo, and seeing Lara Croft in 3D for the first time. He's very glad hardware has advanced as much as it has though, and is particularly happy when putting the latest M.2 NVMe SSDs, AMD processors, and laptops through their paces. He has a long-lasting Magic: The Gathering obsession but limits this to MTG Arena these days.