Tech Lingo
Intel 12th Gen P Series Processors

Intel P series chips: x86 attempts to redeem itself?

Found on the much anticipated Dell XPS 13 Plus, tech reviewers were quick to draw comparisons of this Intel P Series chip to the Apple M1 chips. Meant for ultra-thin and ultra-light laptops, the processor runs on the traditional x86 architecture as opposed to the ARM architecture that Apple have been striving towards.

sort out the factors of consideration before considering a device with these chips. For purposes of simplicity, we are using the Intel i7-1280P as reference.

Influenced by both sides

The 1280P strikes the middle ground of both the M1 chips and x86 chips –   the M1 chips contain solely efficient cores and the conventional x86 chips only contain efficient cores. It is made up of 4 powerful cores and 8 efficient cores, capable of 12 threads.

In varying workloads, the Thread Director ,a new Windows functionality, decides which cores are suitable for best performance and efficiency possible. Customers can possibly benefit from extended battery life for lighter workloads and improved performance when the performance cores are activated.

Run x86 programs natively

Rosetta 2 is Apple’s answer to transition from x86 to ARM processors – a translation layer for x86 apps to run on the ARM-based M1. Issues such as high memory usage or compatibility issues for simple apps such as team collaboration apps have been reported amidst its favoured performance.

Sticking to the mainstream x86 standard, it takes no second thought to know that current x86 programs runs best on the pioneering Intel chips.

Need to run Windows

M1 computers users will have to tuck away native Windows for years to come, since Microsoft have yet to release official support for its chips. Running a virtual machine is the closest you can get, with tradeoffs such as memory (RAM) limitations and performance loss through virtualisation.

For tasks that explicitly requires Windows, the logical option would be a Windows laptop – one that runs full-fletched x86 Windows rather than Windows on ARM.

Still requires a fan

Apart from the obvious advantage of evading fan noise, doing away with the fan also means that more battery cells can be fitted in the same body. To double down on the extra capacity, operating without a fan will reduce power consumption, and eliminate chances of wear and tear without moving parts.

Running on the conventional x86 architecture means that heat is inevitable trait of the P series chips. In the similar footprint, it will have to compromise on battery capacity for the large cooling system, like the one found on the Dell XPS 13 Plus.

Unified memory could still win the battle

With the trend whereby RAM and storage in favour for a slender ultrabook design, Apple might be one step ahead with their Unified Memory – the engineers and speed test indicated lowered latency and higher transfer speed. Many have gone as far as comparing 8GB of Unified Memory and 16GB of RAM on an Intel computer.

Laptops running the Intel P series processors might need a higher budget to double the RAM to be able to compete with the memory capabilities of the Apple M1 chips. This could discourage users who are in the market on the laptop with a limited budget.

Availability and Pricing

We do see the Intel P Series as a competent option after Apple’s wakeup call with their M1 chips. After all, it adapts multiple traits of Apple’s offerings while retaining most of its conventional characteristics. That being said, we believe that operating system requirement is a big hindrance when deciding which computer to buy.

At the time of this writing, many laptop manufacturers have yet to release the pricing info for laptops containing the said chips. It might be easier to draw a better conclusion when comparing the price to performance ratio the devices yield.


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