The Intel Core i7-1260P is an upper mid-range 28 W Alder Lake CPU designed for use in ultra-light laptops. It was announced in early 2022 and it features 4 performance cores as opposed to the 6 cores of the top-of-the-line i7-1280P. The P-cores are Hyper-Threading-enabled for a total of 16 threads when combined with the E-cores. The clock speeds range from 2.1 GHz to 4.7 GHz for the performance cluster and 1.5 GHz to 3.4 GHz for the efficient cluster.
The i7 is a continuation of Intel's efforts to use the ARM-developed big.LITTLE technology for its own benefit. A single "littile" Alder Lake core is supposed to be just 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 Core i7-1260P'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 recommends using no more than 64 GB, for reference.
Multi-thread performance is most comparable to AMD Ryzen 7 5800U, Ryzen 7 PRO 5850U and Intel Core i5-11260H. This is a great CPU for ultra-thin laptops, capable of punching above its weight as long as the Power Limits are high enough and the cooling solution is a good one.
The built-in graphics adapter in the form of the 96 EU Iris Xe running at up to 1.4 GHz has seemingly seen no change from what was built into certain Tiger Lake-UP3 processors, like a 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. Its gaming performance is bound to be tied to how high the Power Limits and how good the cooling solution of a laptop are; expect something close to NVIDIA's MX350 or in other words, acceptable framerates in most games when playing at 1080p / Medium settings.
The i7's base power consumption (also known as the default TDP or Power Limit 1) is 28 W, with 64 W being its maximum Intel-recommended Turbo power (also known as PL2). Its "Minimum Assured" power consumption sits at 20 W. All in all, an active cooling solution is nearly a must.
Core i7-1260P is manufactured on Intel's third-gen 10 nm process marketed as Intel 7 for decent energy efficiency. Tests showed 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 similar performance.
Overall, the Intel Core i7-1260P is a solid upper mid-range CPU option for ultra-light laptops. Its performance is comparable to other CPUs in its class, and its built-in Iris Xe graphics adapter offers decent gaming performance. The use of big.LITTLE technology allows for efficient power consumption, but it's important to note that the CPU is not user-replaceable and must be soldered onto the motherboard. Additionally, the i7-1260P's vPro feature set is limited to the "Essentials" tier, meaning that it may not be suitable for certain enterprise applications.
One of the major drawback of the i7-1260P is its power consumption figures which are significantly high compared to Ryzen 5000 processors and Apple's M1-series processors. So, manufacturers have to have good cooling solutions to keep the temperatures in check.
If you are looking for a powerful CPU for your ultra-thin laptop, the Intel Core i7-1260P is definitely worth considering. However, it's important to keep in mind the limitations of the CPU and compare it to other options on the market to ensure that it will meet your specific needs.
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