So we have something very interesting for our readers today. We were able to exclusively get our hands on the first-ever benchmarks for Intel's upcoming Alder Lake mobility processors - which are going to go head to head against the Apple M1 Max processors clawing away market share as well as AMD's upcoming mobility chips. While we do not have the scores for AMD's next-generation mobility chips, we do have the scores for the current generation x86 chips as well as the validated score for Apple's M1 Max.
Intel Core i9 12900HK mobility CPU benchmarked: faster than the Apple M1 Max, 11980HK and AMD 5980HX
The Apple M1 Max is a fantastic chip and is going to push both AMD and Intel to perform at their very best. And while I doubt x86 architecture will ever beat ARM on power efficiency, absolute power (within roughly comparable battery life) is another matter altogether. Geekbench has historically been a benchmark where Apple has reigned supreme (because it relies heavily on algorithmic optimizations) but it was still pretty awe-inspiring to see the Apple M1 Max score absolutely decimating everything x86 in-sight. It even managed to beat Intel's flagship desktop chip: the Intel Core i9 11900K.
As tech enthusiasts would know, Intel stumbled quite a bit on the 14nm process and has only recently recovered from this misadventure - meaning Apple chips for the past few years (and even AMD ones) have had a distinct node advantage. Beginning with Alder Lake, however (which is built on Intel 7), this advantage is going to seriously diminish as Intel finally moves on to a sub 14nm node on its desktop side. The introduction of extremely power-efficient "e-cores" will further improve performance on the mobility side, considering Alder Lake's big.SMALL design was purpose-built for mobility. Without any further ado, here is the score of Intel's 12900HK Alder Lake Mobility flagship in Geekbench.
The Alder Lake's powerful p-cores effortlessly take the performance crown in the single-threaded benchmark with a score of 1851. To put this into perspective, Apple's 5 nm-based M1 Max chip scores 1785 in single-threaded performance. The Core i9 11980HK (note: we found several overclocked and stock benchmarks for this processor on Geekbench but will be using 'stock' configurations considering our ADL score is also stock and makes for a like-for-like comparison) follows behind with a score of 1616 and AMD's best mobility chip clocks in at 1506. This means Intel has improved the single-threaded performance by 14.5% generation over generation.
Almost all of us expected Intel to win on the single-threaded front because of high clock rates and some serious architectural improvements but what is surprising is that they even beat the Apple M1 Max on the multi-threaded front. The Alder Lake Core i9 12900HK mobility processor gets an astounding 13256 score which is followed by Apple at 12753 points. The Intel 11980HK (stock) is further into the horizon at 9149 points and AMD clocks in at 8217 points. This is a generation over generation increase of almost 45% in roughly the same TDP - although not surprising because even though the ADL-P CPU only has 8 "big cores" the small cores have proven to be quite powerful as well.
Now keep in mind, I have no qualms that Apple is still going to win on a power efficiency metric - they always have since the A11 - but Apple's reign as the fastest mobility chip "period" seems like it is going to be short-lived (we expect ADL-P to land in early 2022). Another important point to note here is that this benchmark was done using Windows 11, which allows Intel's brand new Thread Director technology to run - so some of these gains could be the result of better hardware scheduling as well.