Too Late, Alder Lake – Apple M1 Max Better Than Intel, Again

It's just too little, too late for Intel with its newest 12th generation Alder Lake processor. It is a fast CPU, but that's just one piece of the performance puzzle. And Apple is way way ahead in many of those other pieces. And Apple's just getting started.

It’s just too little, too late for Intel with its newest 12th generation Alder Lake processor. It is a fast CPU, but that’s just one piece of the performance puzzle. And Apple is way way ahead in many of those other pieces. And Apple’s just getting started.

Was Intel’s Announcement Timing A Coincidence ? – HAH, I Think Not

Is Intel scared of Apple’s Silicon chips ? In a word….


And they very much should be scared of Apple. Because Apple has not only lit a giant bonfire under Intel’s butt, (pun alert) but everyone else’s too.

Apple’s been teaching QualComm how to really do ARM processors for a long while. Apple’s been teaching Microsoft how to do operating systems for a long long while, and now showing them how ARM in PCs SHOULD be. So… YEAH, Intel’s scared cause Apple’s started showing them how to do PC processors the right way for the last year since they shipped M1 last Nov 2020. And if Intel had been paying attention (hint, they haven’t), they would have seen it coming, and gotten their crap together a lot sooner.

Just look at when Intel announced the launch of their new 12th generation processor, codenamed Alder Lake. Their announcement was on October 27, 2021 – here’s Intel’s newsroom page titled Intel Unveils 12th Gen Intel Core, Launches World’s Best Gaming Processor, i9-12900K. Apple announced their newest M1 Pro and M1 Max in new MacBooks Pro on October 18, 2021 and the M1 back in November 2020. Here are the Apple Newsroom press releases:

Now I’m not saying Intel wasn’t working on Alder Lake for a while, of course they were. Intel is infamous for their dysfunctional processor roadmap. And they started talking about it way back in August 2020 – Intel Makes it Official: Hybrid CPU Cores Arrive With Alder Lake, ExtremeTech. Intel officially announced at CES back in January 11, 2021 – CES 2021: Intel Announces Four New Processor Families, Intel Newsroom.

But… is it a stretch to think that maybe Intel pushed out the press release BECAUSE of Apple ? It was just 9 days after Apple’s announcement EVENT, not just a press release. AND 2 days AFTER tons of reviews drop on October 25th, that prove just how incredible the new Apple Silicon chips really were. And 1 day AFTER the new MacBooks Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max chips began ARRIVING in customer’s hands on October 26th.

That’s Intel trying to save face. They knew they were in big trouble.

Alder Lake is JUST a Desktop Gaming Processor

For now, Intel can only, and IS only, positioning Alder Lake as a desktop gaming processor. It’s right in the title of their own press release titled Intel Unveils 12th Gen Intel Core, Launches World’s Best Gaming Processor, i9-12900K. This is all they got.

world’s best gaming processor

Intel – Intel Unveils 12th Gen Intel Core, Launches World’s Best Gaming Processor, i9-12900K

… that burns so much power and runs so hot that it can melt PCs. And it’s just a CPU, in a new world redefined by Apple, where they have proven that someone can do better. Much much better. And Apple has.

The Blast Furnace Intel Processor

One YouTuber, Dave2D, tried to build a PC using the 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900K in an mini ITX case, and…

I could not find an air cooler that could fit and properly cool this motherboard…. I was forced to use water cooling.

This is the first time I’ve ever had an ITX build that could not be cooled properly on air. I’ve never had that before. I had to use water cooling, which says a lot about the chip.

Dave2D – My Setup Got A MASSIVE Upgrade!

Alder Lake is fast, but it guzzles power and burns really really hot !!! So if you really want top performance out of Intel processors and not have it have to throttle itself down so it doesn’t melt, you need a HUGE tower sized case with tons of fans blasting air through it, or a water cooler. Meanwhile, M1 Max SCREAMS, in a LAPTOP CASE, and barely turns on its fans. M1 chips run circles around almost everyone else, and run silent. Even with the fans running you can’t hear them.

We saw more than a 300W system power draw at the wall for the i9-12900K — that’s over 100 watts higher than our Ryzen 9 5950X at full tilt.

The lack of overall efficiency here is somewhat surprising given Alder Lake’s hybrid big.little design, which we expected would give it an edge over AMD’s traditional all-performance-core setup.

Ars Technika – Intel’s Alder Lake big.little CPU design, tested: It’s a barn burner

Apple Has Nothing To Worry About

Intel’s Alder Lake is a little faster in raw CPU benchmarks than Apple’s M1 Max. But if anyone thinks that really means anything, they are either:

  • Clueless about how PC hardware architecture works
  • Do not really know what’s going on
  • Do not understand Apple and what they’ve been doing for over a decade in chip design, and are going to do next
  • Under estimates Apple… still
  • Are intentionally discarding facts and lying to you
  • or, 2 or more of the above.

Here are some Intel Alder Lake vs M1 Max Geekbench CPU benchmarks from WCCF Tech – Intel Alder Lake Mobility CPU Benchmarks Leaked: Faster Than The Apple M1 Max, Smokes AMD 5980HX, 11980HK.

Single Core Benchmarks
Multi Core Benchmarks

Comparing Intel’s Alder Lake to Apple’s M1 Max, is literally comparing oranges to… well, you guessed it… Apples. In that Alder Lake, and Ryzen processors too, are desktop class processors, being compared against the M1 Max in a laptop. It’s not a fair fight, but Apple is still kicking it or pretty damn close.

Imagine what Apple chips that are engineered for the massive power and thermal capabilities of a desktop will do to Intel and AMD. Yeah… they should be scared.

Yes, Intel should be very very scared….

I mean…. just look at those benchmarks !!! I mean really look and consider what they really mean.

Alder Lake is just a little faster than M1 Max. A little. And consider this. Intel has been designing processors for over 50 years – their first processor, the the Intel 4004, was introduced in Nov 1971 – Wikipedia. These benchmarks are of Intel’s newest, top of the line, most expensive, desktop class processor. Apple is brand new to laptop processors – they shipped the M1 chip last year in Nov 2020. And Apple has not even shipped a desktop class chip yet.

Alder Lake and all of Intel’s other processors can only be compared based on CPU. And there’s a ton more to performance than just CPU. These CPU only comparisons are comparing Intel’s fastest, most power hungry, and hottest running desktop class processor to Apple’s laptop class chip, and Intel is just barely surviving in a head to head CPU only battle.

What happens when Apple ships desktop class chips next year ? That might be 2 or even 4 times more powerful than the M1 Max beast of chip is today.

Alder Lake is Not a Big Deal for Apple

Look… here’s what those that think Alder Lake is a big deal are missing:

  • Intel’s Alder Lake is a very fast CPU that burns so much power and runs so hot, that it can only be used in a desktop.
  • Laptop capable versions of Alder Lake will run much slower.
  • A discreet GPU from Nvidia or AMD is still needed for an Alder Lake PC to be able to come close to what the M1 Max can do in the graphics and many real world benchmarks.
  • Alder Lake with a GPU in most laptops will still be beaten by a MacBook Pro with M1 Max. In many cases, beaten very badly. And run very hot and burn out its battery in a fraction of the time that the MacBook will.
  • Alder Lake does nothing to improve the memory and other architectural elements of a PC, that can compare to what Apple has done with Unified Memory and combining so many other components on a single System On a Chip (SOC). That allows massively fast memory up to 400 GB per second of bandwidth, SSD up to 7.4 GB per second, media engines, neural engines, Thunderbolt 4 buses, and other I/O. Architecture that simply cannot be done on PCs, because there are too many separate components designed by so many different companies.

AMD Should Be Scared

Alder Lake is fast. And it’s beating AMD Ryzen processors. This graph from WCCFTech – Intel Core i7-12800H Alder Lake-P CPU Benchmarks Leak Out Too, Up To 25% Faster Than AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU In Single-Threaded Test.

Intel Alder Lake vs AMD Geekbench Benchmarks from WCCF Tech

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