Intel finally introduces practical 12th Gen Alder Lake chips for Ultrabook’s

Kareem Anderson

Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake chips are finally being put into more attainable devices other than super-cooled tower PCs and beefed-up gaming rigs with the introduction of the company’s P and U-series.

Since last summer, Intel has been hitting the marketing hard on its 12th Gen Alder Lake chips as worthy Apple M1 silicon competitors, but has done so with a sleight of hand. While benchmarks are in favor of the Alder Lake chips, practicality hasn’t been, up until now with the M1’s simply outperformed Intel chips in power per wattage that results in real world uses in a form factor most PC users utilize, Ultrabook’s.

During CES 2022 Intel inched closer to a real-world competition with the M1 chip when it tucked its 12th Gen H-Series chip into some admittedly, power-hungry laptops. While benchmarks still tend to favor the Alder Lake chips when recording raw performance, average users (no scientific researchers or AI and Data mining buyers) are still looking for a balance of power, heat and battery life from this 12th Gen chip.

Enter the new P-Series (15W) and U-Series (9W) Alder Lake chips from Intel. Both the P and U-Series maintain the newly minted hybrid performance and efficiency core architecture of the beefier H-Series chips but also promise 70 percent better multi-thread performance than the 11th Gen Intel chip.

Other achievements in tow for the P and U-Series include better performance in GPU reliant tasks such as photo editing and web browsing, to which Intel calls out AMD’s new Ryzen R7 5800U in comparison.

Perhaps due to elevated power ceiling of the Alder Lake chips, Intel is bumping its naming convention up a tad and shifting around where the P and U-Series fall in the 12th Gen hierarchy. Changes to the P-Series now host the inclusion of 28W models that were previously held for U-Series chip branding. P-Series chips traditionally drew a lot of power and heat and were reserved for thicker portable laptops, but this year, they will house similar 14-cores at the top end but clock in lower speeds to balance performance and efficiency.

On the other side of the fence will be U-Series chips that will now top out with two performance cores regardless of core count (which could range between 6 and 10) depending on the final configuration.

The P and U-Series mark a second wave of Alder Lake chips and performance for 2022. Perhaps the P and U-Series will become the benchmark by which the industry weighs Intel’s chip engineering for the year.

While in the desktop space, Alder Lake chip performance seems to be only inhibited by the cooling systems attached, these new P and U chips will be what’s shipped in mass quantities to a wider range of users and use cases such as foldables, 2-in1’s, detchables, tablet computers and EVO-backed Ultrabook’s.

March is shaping up to be the real test of Intel’s 12th Gen chips.