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Intel Maxes Out Laptop Power with Core HX CPUs

Gaming laptops and mobile workstations, start your engines.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography, PCs and laptops, gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin
2 min read
Intel's 55-watt 12th-gen Core CPU line, the HX

You'll hear Intel and laptop manufacturers refer to Intel's latest chip as a "desktop-class" processor, but the new HX line of Intel's 12th-gen Core i9, i7 and i5 CPUs are really just the company's most powerful mobile CPUs to date. They share a lot of characteristics with their most recent fixed-location equivalents. They're primarily targeted at creatives, though with unlocked and overclockable i9-12900HX and i7-12800HX options, you'll naturally see them appear in gaming laptops as well, such as the Lenovo Legion 7 models also announced Tuesday.

They're not the first unlocked and overclockable mobile processors (Intel's i9-12900HK is just a one-off), but they do seem to be Intel's first line of them. They do so with a boosted base power requirement of 55 watts and top turbo draw of 157 watts; the next step down is the H series at 45 watts, with a much lower maximum turbo of 115 watts. Intel promises as much as 81% improvement in performance for rendering, with significant gains in multithreaded speeds, over the HK.

The higher power also allows them to support more cores -- up to eight performance and eight efficient in the case of the i9 and i7, just like their desktop equivalents -- and add technologies that haven't yet made it into Intel-based laptops. Those include PCIe 5 (plus RAID) support on the CPU bus for better solid-state drive performance and the ability to support 128GB of DDR5 memory (twice the current H generation's 64GB). 

Of the seven CPUs launched today -- the i9-12950HX, i9-12900HX, i7-12850HX, i7-12800HX, i7-12650HX, i5-12600HX and i5-12450HX -- one from each line is intended for use by professional workstations, with vPro support for centralized management and security, and support for error-correction memory.