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Are Intel’s 12th generation Core chips able to take on Apple’s M1?

Intel has announced its latest-gen chips at CES 2022

Intel announced its upcoming 12th generation Core chips at CES 2022, chief among which are the H Series laptop chips. But during the launch, Intel claimed that the new high-end Core i9 is the fastest mobile processor ever – and yes, it means that it’s faster than Apple’s M1 Max from the latest 16in MacBook Pro.

That’s some claim considering the performance of the ARM-based M1 Max, but as always things are not as they seem. While Intel deployed one of those vague graphs on stage that never quite seem to tell the full picture (which Apple is a dab hand at using, too), the devil is in the detail.

While Intel claims better performance-per-watt, the simple fact is that the power draw from the Core i9 at 5GHz boost speeds can reach 115W. That’s much, much more than the M1 Max ever sucks from the battery – Anandtech suggests that it draws up to around 40W at top performance.

And, as ever, mobile computing isn’t always just about out-and-out performance; it’s also about other factors such as battery life. And it’ll be really interesting to compare things at that stage. Tests pinpoint the Mac around 15 hours of battery life and it’s unlikely Core i9-based PCs will be able to match that at the same performance levels. But as ever the proof is in the pudding. It’s also worth remembering that Apple is expected to launch M2 chips later in 2022.

Intel’s 12th generation Core lineup is certainly extensive, with 28 mobile processors launching. As with older generations, this is still based on the 10nm process with refinements that should yield significant performance improvements. Intel claims that its new gaming chips will offer around 28 percent better performance compared to their predecessors. PCs featuring the new performance mobile chips have been announced at CES, with availability starting next month.

At the thin and light end of the laptop market, Intel says the 12th gen chips will offer up to 14 cores and 20 threads with Iris X integrated graphics. Systems with these chips – including foldable and 2-in-1s – will be available later in 2022.

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