Intel Alder Lake Chips for Desktops Faster Than M1 Max in Benchmarks, But Use Much More Power

Intel last week unveiled its first 12th-generation “Alder Lake” processors with the launch of six new processors aimed at desktop computers, including the high-end Core i9-12900K, a 16-core chip with eight performance cores and eight efficiency cores.

intel core 12th gen
While the first 12th-generation processors are desktop class, they still make for an interesting comparison with Apple’s M1 Pro and M1 Max chips in the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, as rumors suggest that Apple plans to release a new 27-inch iMac with the same M1 Pro and M1 Max chips in the first half of next year.

The first Geekbench 5 benchmark results for the Core i9-12900K reveal that the processor is up to nearly 1.5x faster than the M1 Pro and M1 Max in multi-core performance. Specifically, the Core i9 processor has an average multi-core score of approximately 18,500 so far, compared to approximately 12,500 for the M1 Pro and M1 Max. AnandTech has shared additional benchmarks for a closer look at performance.

While the Core i9 processor is considerably faster than the M1 Pro and M1 Max, it also uses a lot more power than Apple’s chips, with Intel listing the chip as using up to 125W of power at base frequencies and up to 241W of power with Turbo Boost.

Intel’s 12th-generation Core i7-12700K also appears to be faster than the M1 Pro and M1 Max in Geekbench 5 results, but it likewise uses more power.

When Apple first announced that it would be transitioning to its own chips for the Mac in June 2020, the company never said its chips would be the fastest on the market, but rather promised industry-leading performance per watt. Apple’s M1 Pro and M1 Max certainly achieve this feat, with the chips outperforming a 12-core Intel-based Mac Pro that starts at $6,999 with minimal to no fan noise as a result of impressive power efficiency.

Intel expects to release 12th-generation Core processors for laptops in early 2022.

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