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Computing

Intel Alder Lake Priced to Undercut AMD, Arrives November 4

Intel officially lifted the curtain on its 12th-gen Alder Lake chips at the Intel Innovation event on October 27. There are six processors arriving November 4 to kick off the new generation, three models with two variations each, as well as the new Z690 chipset, which boasts PCIe 4.0 support and DDR4/DDR5 support.

Before getting any deeper, let’s take a look at the new range:

Cores Base frequency Max boost frequency Intel Smart Cache (L3) Integrated graphics Base power Max turbo power Suggested price
Core i9-12900K 16 (8P + 8E) 3.2GHz (P-core), 2.4GHz (E-core) Up to 5.2GHz 30MB Intel UHD 770 125W 241W $589
Core i9-12900KF 16 (8P + 8E) 3.2GHz (P-core), 2.4GHz (E-core) Up to 5.2GHz 30MB N/A 125W 241W $564
Core i7-12700K 12 (8P + 4E) 3.6GHz (P-core), 2.7GHz (E-core Up to 5.0GHz 25MB Intel UHD 770 125W 190W $409
Core i7-12700KF 12 (8P + 4E) 3.6GHz (P-core), 2.7GHz (E-core Up to 5.0GHz 25MB N/A 125W 190W $384
Core i5-12600K 10 (6P + 4E) 3.7GHz (P-core), 2.8GHz (E-core) N/A 20MB Intel UHD 770 125W 150W $289
Core i5-12600KF 10 (6P + 4E) 3.7GHz (P-core), 2.8GHz (E-core) N/A 20MB N/A 125W 150W $264

All six processors are unlocked for overclocking. The more expensive of each model features integrated Intel UHD 770 graphics, too, though you can save some money by purchasing the KF-series model. These chips are identical to their K-series counterparts, but they don’t have integrated graphics.

We already knew most of the specs thanks to a slew of leaks and rumors. The interesting new information is price. Contrary to rumors pointing to prices nearing $1,000, the 12th-gen Alder Lake range is surprisingly modest. The i9 and i5 models have a slight bump over their last-gen counterparts, while the i7’s pricing is identical.

More interesting is how these prices compare to AMD. With the launch of Ryzen 5000 processors, AMD increased the prices of its top chips. In benchmarks, Intel is pitting the i9-12900K against AMD’s Ryzen 9 5950X — a chip that still sells near its suggested price of $799. If Intel’s performance claims are true, its flagship chip is coming in at over $200 less than AMD’s best.

And Intel is making some big performance claims, including up to a 30% increase in gaming over AMD. For gen-on-gen improvements, Intel says the i9-12900K outperforms last-gen’s i9-11900K by 28% in Hitman 3. It’s worth pointing out that Intel tested with DDR5 memory and on Windows 11. AMD chips had some issues with Windows 11, and DDR5 should offer a boost in gaming performance on the back of its increased bandwidth, so the real-world gap is probably tighter here.

We only have gaming comparisons to AMD right now, at least until we get our hands on the chips to test them. Still, Intel shows some big gen-on-gen improvements for the i9-12900K, particularly in efficiency. The new chip can achieve identical multi-threaded performance as the i9-11900K at only a fraction of the power (250W on 11th-gen compared to 65W on 12th-gen). Another way to look at it is a 50% boost in performance at the same power draw.

This is the advantage of Alder Lake’s hybrid architecture, according to Intel. The new chips are more efficient, which means they have more headroom for performance. To illustrate this, Intel used an example of gaming and streaming at the same time. When running Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord while streaming and recording with OBS, Intel says the Core i9-12900K offered an 84% boost in frame rate over the i9-11900K.

The gains line up with a long list of leaked benchmarks, which put Intel’s chip ahead of the pack. Still, it’s important to wait for third-party testing before making performance assumptions. Intel didn’t show off many comparisons to AMD, and DDR5 and Windows 11 are likely playing a role in the results thanks to Alder Lake’s Thread Director feature.

Pre-orders for the chips are live now ahead of the November 4 launch date. Z690 motherboards are launching on the same day. You’ll be able to find unique Z690 boards from major brands, including Asus, MSI, ASRock, Gigabyte, EVGA, and Colorful.

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Categories
Tech News

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX ANC headphones undercut AirPods Max

Bang & Olufsen is back today with a new pair of Bluetooth headphones that it’s calling the Beoplay HX. Like many products we’ve seen introduced in recent months, the Beoplay HX are at least partially aimed at folks who are working at home during the pandemic, and perhaps may be permanently working from home after it’s over. If you’re looking for a competitor to Apple’s AirPods Max, these could very well be it.

That’s because the Beoplay HX are priced similarly to the AirPods Max, with Bang & Olufsen sticking a $499 price tag on these cans (the AirPods Max have a slightly higher MSRP at $550). Bang & Olufsen has outfitted the Beoplay HX with adaptive active noise cancellation and say that the headphones’ “premium materials and a close-fitting design” give them a degree of sound isolation that prevents others from hearing what you’re listening to.

While that adaptive ANC should compensate for background noises, these headphones also offer a transparency mode that should still allow for listening to the outside world. After all, active noise cancellation is useful until it becomes dangerous to shut out the noises around you entirely, and you wouldn’t necessarily want complete isolation in instances where you’re walking along a busy street or working at home while also trying to keep an eye on children.

Bang & Olufsen also says that the Beoplay HX have a frequency range of 20 – 22,000 Hz and are built with 40mm electro-dynamic drivers that use neodymium magnets. They connect via Bluetooth 5.1 but also come with a 3.5mm jack for corded connectivity, and they have Google Fast Pair, Made for iPhone, and Microsoft Swift Pair certifications. Battery life seems pretty impressive, with Bang & Olufsen quoting up to 35 hours with Bluetooth and active noise cancellation on and up to 40 hours when active noise cancellation is turned off.

So, that $500 price point could very well price these out of the affordable range for a lot of people, but it sounds like the Beoplay HX bring some solid features to the table nonetheless. They’re available today from Bang & Olufsen’s website in three colors: Black Anthracite, Sand, and Timber.

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