Intel's HX series is official: the new identifier hides seven mobile CPUs based on the large Alder Lake S desktop PC chip with a consumption of up to 157 watts. The die offers more cores, more PCIe lanes and addresses more RAM. HX is aimed at workstations and therefore replaces Xeon, but is somehow also for gamers.
The desktop die comes as 3. Die ins Notebook< /h2>
Intel's decision to bring the large desktop die with eight performance and eight efficiency cores and a small Xe iGPU (32 EUs) into the notebook is definitely a surprise. Because this step meant a departure from the approach of the last few years, in which there were two dies (one for the H series and one for the U/Y series). Looking back at Intel's Alder-Lake-H idea, the step still makes sense, because the “H-Die” doesn't really fit into the H segment.
The CPU die for Alder Lake-H and Alder Lake-P offers a maximum of six instead of eight performance cores (P cores) plus eight E cores and no PCI Express 5.0, but a drilled Xe graphics unit with 96 EUs. Before Alder Lake, the big iGPU was only in the U-series die, while the H-series inherited the small iGPU from the desktop. Reason: H-CPUs are usually combined with dedicated graphics cards (dGPU). Shouldn't that be the case with Alder Lake?
Focus on CPU performance, I/O and RAM
With the desktop die of the HX series, the small iGPU is now coming back, but for the first time it is combined with the number of cores known from the desktop and its I/O functionalities. Interestingly, the BGA package occupies the same area as the LGA package for the desktop socket, but is only 2.2 instead of 4.0 mm high – also because the heat spreader is missing.
The TDP (PL1) increases from 45 to 55 watts compared to Alder Lake-H, with the maximum specified power consumption (PL2) increasing from up to 115 to up to 157 watts – for all CPUs of the new series. There are already notebooks such as the XMG Neo 15 E22, which can accommodate a Core i7-12700H or Core i9-12900H up to 115 watts, and in the future there will probably also be models that can use a Core i9-12900HX with 157 watts . How long the CPU can use the resulting clock rates depends on the cooling: In the XMG Neo 15 E22, this was only possible with external AiO water cooling.
In addition to the stronger CPU, Intel focuses on the I/O functionality of the larger chip, which actually offers a premiere: PCI Express 5.0 in the notebook. Without the corresponding SSDs or graphics cards, the standard as such is of little relevance for the time being, but the pure number of PCIe lanes already makes a difference today: With 48 lanes (16× PCIe 5.0, 20× PCIe 4.0 and 12× PCIe 3.0) it offers the HX series has space for up to four NVMe SSDs for the first time.
There is also an advantage for HX when it comes to RAM: With up to two DIMM modules per channel, up to 128 GB are supported instead of the previous maximum of 64 GB DDR4-3200 or DDR5-4800. But there were 128 GB in the notebook before: The Xeon W-11000 based on Tiger Lake-H45 also offered that.
For workstations , but somehow also for gaming notebooks
The HX series is undoubtedly designed for maximum CPU performance and “large data sets”, the iGPU – as previously known from the H series – is only a means to an end. Up to 128 GB RAM and the high number of PCIe lanes for up to four NVMe SSDs and up to two Thunderbolt 4 predestine the HX CPUs for computers to work with.
So it's not surprising that Intel wants the CPUs to be designed “for engineers, scientists and enthusiasts” and that from now on the CPUs will power the “world's best mobile workstation platform”.
HX* replaces Xeon in the notebook
It is also no surprise that the HX series will replace the mobile Intel Xeon at the H performance level – there will no longer be Xeon in notebooks in the future. But how much Intel lacks consistent trading on this point is surprising.
* Only three of the seven new HX processors come with vPro support and ECC Error correction for the RAM. They thus offer the functions known to date from Intel's mobile Xeon and also replace this series. But you can't tell from the abbreviation “HX” alone.
This also applies to the fact that although all HX CPUs can be overclocked like the mobile HK CPUs, only the HX CPUs that do not offer ECC and vPro allow OC of the cores without limit – “Xeon” for data integrity and After all, OC doesn't go together, according to Intel. Unlimited RAM OCs still support all seven SKUs.
Also for gamers, but probably not the first choice
In the end, Intel didn't implement OC in the HX series for workstations either, but wants to appeal to gamers with it. Because in the end, according to Intel, the HX series is of course also intended for gamers, even if the Core i9-12900HK with the probably highest clock rates under partial load remains the gaming top model.
This should also apply in other classes: “Thanks” to the higher number of cores, the clock rate of the HX variant tends to be lower than that of the H variant, so players should think twice about whether it makes sense to use the HX. Even Intel says: CPU performance and I/O speak for HX.
Seven HX CPUs, three of them quasi Xeon
Intel announced seven HX CPUs today. Four use all cores of the chip (8+8), three only a part of the cores (6+8, 4+8, 4+4). Three offer ECC and supported vPro.
“More than 10 designs” this year
At the start of the Intel ON in-house exhibition, the manufacturer is presenting “more than 10 workstation and gaming notebook designs”, with Lenovo making the first announcements at the same time. “More than 10” sounds muted and could indicate that the OEMs are putting the HX series more clearly in the workstation corner than Intel is doing in some press material.
The future of the H series lies in desktop dies?
With the presentation of the HX series, the question of the future of the H series in notebooks finally arises today. Seen from the outside, the current approach makes no sense: The Alder Lake H die for the H(K) CPUs offers a 96 EU iGPU, which is actually not needed in the class and is now in the HX series also missing, the Alder Lake HX series again contains three Xeons (ECC and vPro), which it cannot emphasize, however. In the next generation, all H-CPUs (H, HK, HX) should be based on the big die and the “Xeons” should be labeled as HX, which makes more sense. It remains to be seen whether Intel also sees it that way.
ComputerBase is expecting a first sample of a notebook with a Core i9-12900HX shortly and will use it to get to the bottom of the new series in more detail .
ComputerBase received information about this article from Intel under NDA. The only requirement was the earliest possible publication date.