But Intel could be poised for a come back in the performance stakes with its upcoming Alder Lake laptop processors. That's because leaked benchmarks show how an unreleased Intel Core i9-12900HK can outpace the latest Apple Silicon chips.
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Wccftech (opens in new tab) spotted a Geekbench 5 listing for the laptop-grade Core i9-12900HK, which will be based on the Alder Lake-P architecture and likely sport 14 cores and 20 threads, an upgrade over Intel Tiger Lake. In the single-core test, the unreleased Intel chip scored 1,851, while it's multi-core test hit 13,256.
Those scores surpass the M1 Max chip, which managed a score of 1,785 and 12,753 respectively. The Core i9-12900HK also easily soars past the older Core i9-11980HK and AMD's Ryzen 5980HX.
This big jump in power is promising for the performance of future Windows 11 laptop that are likely set to use such a chip, at least in high-spec models. It's also an indication that Intel's next-gen laptop chips might be a a serious upgrade over there predecessors, whereas the last few jumps from generation to generation haven't been as noticeable.
It's also worth flagging that this Core i9 chip is almost certainly an engineering sample, so there's no telling the conditions it was running under. Maximum power could be easily achieved if efficiency and performance-per-watt are left on the table.
And that raises the question of how this performance compares to efficiency. One of the key advantages of Apple's in-house chip is that it’s able to balance performance and power consumption to offer significant advantages to both — all thanks to Apple building both hardware and software.
Having such intimate knowledge of both aspects of a machine means Apple knows exactly what they’re capable of. This allows Apple to design the hardware and software in a way that ensures one complements the other, and means it can get more for less. It’s something the likes of Intel and AMD can’t easily do.
Benchmark tests may be able to show Intel has made a huge leap in performance, but it doesn’t tell us what the cost of that performance was. In other words, until these chips actually get released and tested by the world at large, there’s no way of knowing what the impact on power consumption will be.
In any case it’s great to see that Intel is likely taking Apple's chip innovations seriously, and is working on trying to outperform Apple Silicon where it can. Though we should hold off on making any sweeping declarations until we know the full picture.
Of course, performance is one thing and user experience is another. If you're firmly in the macOS camp, then Intel's performance isn't likely to see you choose a Windows laptop over a new MacBook Pro. But if you're platform agnostic, or a PC gamer, then these leaked benchmarks may have you waiting to see what Intel does next before deciding on what laptop to get.
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