CPU benchmarks: Pre-release Intel Alder Lake chip beats Apple's M1 Max

Intel may soon reclaim supremacy in CPU speed benchmarks, where it has been overshadowed by Apple's Arm-based chips for the past year.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

The reign of Apple's M1 SoC at the top of the Geekbench speed benchmarks may soon be over with the impending arrival of Intel's 12th-generation Alder Lake mobile processors.

Hardware site Wccftech appears to have been leaked Intel's upcoming Core i9-12900HK mobile CPU, and has now revealed the first benchmarks. The results show Intel's mobile CPU narrowly outperforming Apple's flagship 10-core M1 Max, which also integrates a 32-core GPU and 64GB of unified memory.

Intel's Alder Lake processors, built on the Intel 7 process, aim for both performance and efficiency with a new hybrid architecture to take on Arm designs. Intel has also been working with Microsoft to optimise its new scheduler, dubbed Thread Director, on Windows 11, which has been available since October 5.

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Wccftech's Core i9-12900HK benchmarks show there could be hope for Intel to address the ignominy of its high-end CPUs being trounced by Apple's first Arm-based M1 chips last year.

In these latest tests, the Core i9-12900HK outperforms the M1 Max on both single-core and multi-core benchmarks. The margin is slim, but is important for Intel since Apple ditched its CPUs for its own designs in new MacBooks.

Intel's Alder Lake CPU didn't beat the M1 Max by much, with respective single-core scores of 1851 and 1785. It beat the Core i9-11980HK and AMD's top mobile CPU, the Ryzen 5980HX, by a bigger margin: the latter two CPUs saw scores of 1616 and 1506, respectively.  

In the multi-core benchmark, the Core i9-12900HK scored 13256 versus the M1 Max's score of 12753. Again, it trounced AMD's 5980HX, which scored 8217.

Wccftech's Alder Lake benchmarks were run using Windows 11, so it's possible Thread Director's hardware scheduling influenced the results.

Intel's Alder Lake CPUs are expected to become available before the end of the year. With Windows 11 rolling out and shipping with newer hardware, Windows fans may soon have access to a leading-edge, high-performance laptop experience.

Also see

Intel unveils Alder Lake hybrid architecture with efficient and performance cores

First look at Apple M1 Pro and M1 Max

Apple challenges x86's reign with the one-two punch of M1 Pro and Max

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