Intel Core i9-12900HK Alder Lake-H Laptop Benchmark Leak Impresses With Desktop-Class Performance

Intel 12th Gen Core H CPU
If you've digested any of our early benchmarks of Intel's Alder Lake CPUs, you'll be well aware that the extant 12th-gen Core chips are pretty fierce. Of course, the only chips anyone's been able to test thus far are the top-tier "K"-series parts. Regardless, Intel just announced the rest of the lineup at CES 2022, and normally we'd be waiting another month or more before those models got into the hands of the public at large.

Well, as it happens, we didn't even have to wait a week for someone to put their paws on a laptop Alder Lake chip, although just as with the desktop models, it's a range-topping CPU. Romanian site Lab501 managed to snag an unidentified laptop with a Core i9-12900HK inside. This is the fastest 12th-gen laptop CPU, and the only one with an unlocked multiplier.

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CPU-Z screenshot showing the unreleased CPU. Images, Credit: Lab501

Out of respect for a fellow hardware publication, we won't reproduce all of the site's benchmarks here; you can go read them on Lab501 yourself. We will tell you the story if you're strapped for time, though. In short, it's a beast. In every benchmark the Core i9-12900HK destroys its mobile competition—sometimes by quite the margin. In fact, in Cinebench R20, the new 14C/20T Alder Lake laptop flagship matches a Ryzen Threadripper 1950X—a 16-core, 32-thread behemoth with quad-channel memory and a 180W TDP.
Intel Core i9 12900HK Cinebench Score
Alleged Intel Core i9-12900KH Cinebench R20 Score - Credit: Lab501

Lab501 ran a decent little variety of benchmarks on the machine, but excluded gaming and GPU benchmarks because the site doesn't have access to a driver for the mobile GeForce RTX 3080 Ti inside, since that part hasn't officially launched yet. That's a little unfortunate simply because we're curious to see how the GPU's performance is impacted (if it is at all) by Alder Lake halving the number of lanes that a mobile CPU can use to link up with a discrete GPU.

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The Core i9-12900HK tops Intel's latest mobile CPU range. (click for big)

Intel's Alder Lake laptop parts are near-full SoCs, having only their memory outside of the processor. That means no external chipset, so all of the external connectivity hooks up directly to the CPU package. This is overall fantastic, but likely due to the change, there are only eight PCIe lanes left-over for a discrete GPU connection.

As we discussed yesterday when talking about the Radeon RX 6500 XT's narrow x4 connection, it's fairly unlikely that connecting via PCIe 4.0 x8 instead of x16 will have any perceptible effect at all on gaming performance. Likewise, given that these are mobile parts we're talking about, they're generally going to be sold as a unit, so there's less concern about connecting an older GPU (which might thus be limited to PCIe 3.0 x8) to one of these new CPUs. It still makes for an academic curiosity, though.

Dell, Lenovo, Asus, and everyone else are expected to launch laptops based on this hardware starting early next month, so keep an eye out if you need workstation-class performance in a laptop form factor.