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Intel Core i9 Alder Lake laptop CPU is faster than Apple M1 Max

Alder Lake mobile chips
(Image credit: Intel)
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Intel’s Alder Lake Core i9 flagship laptop processor is faster than Apple’s M1 Max SoC, according to some fresh benchmarking, but the caveat is that the latter is way more energy-efficient.

The Core i9-12900HK nestling in an MSI GE76 Raider notebook was put through its paces by Macworld and compared to a pair of MacBook Pro 14-inch models running the M1 Max and M1 Pro chips respectively. The testing used Geekbench and Cinebench as both these benchmarks can be run on Windows and Mac machines.

For Geekbench, the Alder Lake CPU pulled ahead of the M1 Max, with scores of 13,235 versus 12,590 respectively for multi-core, a relatively narrow 5% win, and 1,838 versus 1,774 in single-core. As Macworld points out, that’s not a difference you’ll really notice in terms of real-world performance, but it’s still a victory for Intel, and a bit more than a marginal one.

In Cinebench R23, the Core i9-12900HK was compared to the M1 Pro – Macworld didn’t have results for the Max – but in this battle, the Intel chip achieved a multi-core result of 15,981 compared to 12,381 for the M1 Pro, a more pronounced difference of 29%. For single-core, the Intel chip hit 1,895 versus 1,531.

However, the tables were very much turned when it came to measuring power consumption for these laptop chips. Macworld found the Alder Lake-powered MSI laptop drew around 100W in Cinebench R23 multi-core testing, but with spikes to around 130W to 140W. Going by Anandtech’s testing of the M1 Max in Cinebench, it pulled around 40W, so you can see that power usage is a major victory for Apple here.


Analysis: Speedy laptop CPU, but let’s not forget about battery life

Intel wins in the straight performance stakes, then, but arguably the bigger win is for Apple, when you look at the relatively narrow margin of victory in some of these benchmarks, compared to the huge gulf in power consumption.

Remember, the M1 Max uses less than half the power, roughly, of the Core i9-12900HK, going by the testing highlighted here, and this is especially important for laptops because when you’re out and about, power usage and battery life are big concerns.

We must further remember that the kind of laptops running the Alder Lake flagship chip are going to be expensive, as is the case with the MSI GE76 Raider here which packs the Core i9-12900HK. Naturally, it does have a lot of other high-end components including an Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti GPU – which is very likely to be the case with portables like this – and the GE76 weighs in at an eye-watering $3,999 (around £3,000, AU$5,650). Whereas a MacBook Pro 14-inch with M1 Max can be had cheaper than that (and pricing is a lot cheaper with the M1 Pro chip, which comes close to the Max variant, for Geekbench results anyway).

In short, Intel’s new flagship Alder Lake model is without doubt an impressive speed demon of a laptop CPU, but you will pay a price not just in dollars, but in power consumption compared to Apple silicon.

Via Wccftech

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).