Intel Core i7-1270P
The Intel Core i7-1270P is a higher-end Alder Lake-P family CPU, an expensive 28 W part meant for use in ultra-light, ultra-thin (yet actively cooled) laptops. This CPU was announced in early 2022 and it has 4 performance cores as opposed to the 6 cores of the top-of-the-line 1280P (P-cores, Golden Cove architecture) mated to 8 efficient cores (E-cores, Gracemont architecture). The P-cores are Hyper-Threading-enabled for a total of 16 threads when combined with the E-cores. The clock speeds range from 2.2 GHz to 4.8 GHz for the performance cluster and 1.6 GHz to 3.5 GHz for the efficient cluster. Full vPro feature set is supported by this Core i7 ("Enterprise" tier, allowing for remote device management). Its shortcomings as compared with the mighty i7-1280P include the smaller L3 cache, lower core count, lower clock speeds; the performance is slated to be significantly lower as a result.
The i7 is a continuation of Intel's efforts to use the ARM-developed big.LITTLE technology for its own benefit. A single "little" Alder Lake core is supposed to be as fast as a Skylake core (as found in the venerable Core i7-6700HQ among other options) which is six years old at this point. All of an Intel Core i7-1270P's CPU cores enjoy access to 18 MB of L3 cache. The integrated memory controller supports various memory types up to LPDDR5-5200, DDR5-4800, LPDDR4x-4267 or DDR4-3200. Intel suggests using no more than 64 GB, for reference. Just like the other 12th Gen Intel Core processors, Core i7-1270P comes with Thread Director which is a new functionality designed to help Windows 11 decide which cores to use for what workload for best performance and efficiency possible. Hardware acceleration of AI algorithms is supported via GNA 3.0 and DL Boost (via AVX2). PCI-Express 5.0 support has not found its way into Alder Lake P processors, so users will have to be content with PCI-Express 4.0 for the time being. Four PCI-Express 4 lanes allow for a read/write rate of up to 7.9 GB/s, provided a suitably fast NVMe SSD is used.
Please note this is not a user-replaceable CPU. It gets soldered permanently on to the motherboard (BGA1744 socket interface).
We first tested this CPU in May 2022. The 12 CPU cores are not just able to easily outshine any outgoing quad-core Tiger Lake part (Core i7-11375H and Core i7-1195G7 included). Provided the long-term Power Limit is high enough (> 30 W) and the cooling solution is a good one, this CPU will also beat any octa-core U-class Ryzen 5000 processor without breaking a sweat. A brief look at the specifications instantly reveals the Core i7 to be very similar to the Core i5-12600H, a 45 W processor; that said, the former is a CPU for ultraportable systems while the latter is destined to be a part of a chunky gaming laptop or a portable workstation, and so a 12600H-powered laptop will be much superior in anything but single-core load scenarios.
The fairly high processing power comes at a cost. A single Golden Cove core can consume more than 20 W when under heavy load. Performance sustainability is thus tied to how high the Power Limits and how low the thermals of a system are.
If our early Ryzen 7 6800U tests are any indication, the U-class Ryzen 6000 chips deliver a noticeable uplift in graphics department while the CPU performance pretty much stays where it was before. Which means Alder Lake P chips (the i7 and i5 ones, at least) have the upper hand.
The built-in graphics adapter in the form of the 96 EU Iris Xe running at up to 1.40 GHz has seen no change from what was built into the 11th Gen Tiger Lake-UP3 processors, like an i7-1165G7, which is hardly a downside as this iGPU is loaded with modern features such as AV1 video decoding capability and SUHD 4320p monitor support. Up to 4 monitors can be used simultaneously with this iGPU. We expect the gaming performance to be reasonably close to that of NVIDIA's MX350 but inferior to AMD's 680M as found in certain Ryzen 6000 chips.
In other words, the Xe is good enough for most games at 1080p resolution / Medium settings, provided the Power Limits are high enough and the cooling solution is competent enough. Fast RAM is a prerequisite for decent performance as well (the Xe has to make do with no dedicated video memory).
Last but not the least, we discovered that the GPU utilization when playing YouTube UHD 2160p60 videos is higher than it was with Tiger Lake chips.
The i7's base power (formerly known as the default TDP value or PL1) is 28 W, with 64 W being its Intel-recommended Turbo power (also known as PL2). Core i7-1270P is manufactured on Intel's third-gen 10 nm process marketed as Intel 7 for an OK energy efficiency - on paper, that is. The tests we did proved that Intel's way to close the performance gap with AMD's Ryzen 5000 processors entails some seriously high power consumption figures where a single P-core can consume more than 20 W. AMD's Ryzen 5000 chips are not nearly as power-hungry, and Apple's M1-series processors can be several times more efficient while upholding a similarly high performance bar.
|Series||Intel Alder Lake-P|
|Series: Alder Lake-P Alder Lake-P|
|Clock Rate||1600 - 4800 MHz|
|Level 1 Cache||1.1 MB|
|Level 2 Cache||21 MB|
|Level 3 Cache||18 MB|
|Number of Cores / Threads||12 / 16|
|Power Consumption (TDP = Thermal Design Power)||28 Watt|
|Manufacturing Technology||10 nm|
|Max. Temperature||100 °C|
|GPU||Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EUs ( - 1400 MHz)|
|64 Bit||64 Bit support|
|Product Link (external)||Intel Alder Lake-P i7-1270P|