Intel unveils 12th-gen P- and U-series CPU SKUs for ultrabooks and convertibles

Intel unveils 12th-gen P- and U-series CPU SKUs for ultrabooks and convertibles

Today at CES, Intel’s focus was mostly on its S-series processors – which are for desktop PCs – and H-series CPUs – which are mostly for gaming laptops and mobile workstations. It also offered up some details of the new generation of U-series chips, along with the all-new P-series. As the firm has detailed in the past, the all-new P-series is for powerful ultrabooks, coming in at 28W. The U-series will once again come in two tiers; UP3 at 15W and UP4 at 9W.

They all use Intel’s new hybrid technology, including big P-cores (performance cores) and little E-cores (efficiency cores). The P-cores handle the tasks that require the most power, while the E-cores can handle the rest, such as background tasks. It uses Intel Thread Director to know which tasks are best for which cores.

While Intel has offered 28W SKUs of its U-series before, it’s never had an entire tier dedicated to it. That’s where the new P-series comes in, and you’re going to see it in a lot of laptops that would have traditionally had regular 15W U-series chips. In telling us the SKUs, it tells us a lot about the processors themselves.

Processor NumberProcessor CoresProcessor ThreadsPerformance CoresEfficient CoresL3 CacheMax Turbo Frequency (P-cores)Max Turbo Frequency (E-cores)Base Frequency (P-cores)Base Frequency (E-cores)Processor GraphicsMax Graphics FrequencyProcessor Base PowerMax Turbo PowerIntel vPro
Core i7-1280P14C20T6P8E24MB4.8GHz3.6GHz1.8GHz1.3GHz96EU1.45GHz28W64WEnterprise
Core i7-1270P12C16T4P8E18MB4.8GHz3.5GHz2.2GHz1.6GHz96EU1.4GHz28W64WEnterprise
Core i7-1260P12C16T4P8E18MB4.7GHz3.4GHz2.1GHz1.5GHz96EU1.4GHz28W64WEssentials
Core i5-1250P12C16T4P8E12MB4.4GHz3.3GHz1.7GHz1.2GHz80EU1.4GHz28W64WEnterprise
Core i5-1240P12C16T4P8E12MB4.4GHz3.3GHz1.7GHz1.2GHz80EU1.3GHz28W64WEssentials
Core i3-1220P10C12T2P8E12MB4.4GHz3.3GHz1.5GHz1.1GHz64EU1.1GHz28W64W

As you can see, these are actually pretty beefy chips, so you’re going to see a lot of thin and light machines that are made for performance. At best, they’ll have 14 cores, something we’ve never seen at this tier, with six performance cores. The Core i7-1280P has a max turbo frequency of 4.8GHz in the P-cores, which is pretty solid.

Perhaps more interesting is the U-series. The traditional U-series, now referred to as UP3, is what you’ve historically seen in premium ultrabooks like the Dell XPS 13, HP Spectre x360 13, Surface Laptop, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, and so on.

Processor NumberProcessor CoresProcessor ThreadsPerformance CoresEfficient CoresL3 CacheMax Turbo Frequency (P-cores)Max Turbo Frequency (E-cores)Base Frequency (P-cores)Base Frequency (E-cores)Processor GraphicsMax Graphics FrequencyProcessor Base PowerMax Turbo PowerIntel vPro
Core i7-1265U10C12T2P8E12MB4.8GHz3.6GHz1.8GHz1.3GHz96EU1.25GHz15W55WEnterprise
Core i7-1255U10C12T2P8E12MB4.7GHz3.5GHz1.7GHz1.2GHz96EU1.25GHz15W55WEssentials
Core i5-1245U10C12T2P8E12MB4.4GHz3.3GHz1.6GHz1.2GHz80EU1.2GHz15W55WEnterprise
Core i5-1235U10C12T2P8E12MB4.4GHz3.3GHz1.3GHz0.9GHz80EU1.2GHz15W55WEssentials
Core i3-1215U6C8T2P4E10MB4.4GHz3.3GHz1.2GHz0.9GHz64EU1.1GHz15W55W
Pentium 85055C6T1P4E8MB4.4GHz3.3GHz1.2GHz0.9GHz48EU1.1GHz15W55W
Celeron 73055C6T1P4E8MB1.1GHz0.9GHz48EU1.1GHz15W55W

What’s really interesting about the UP3 chips is that they only have two performance cores. Historically, these chips have been quad-core, except for a single 10th-gen SKU that had six cores. Keep in mind that while Intel released the tables about SKUs, it didn’t say anything else about these chips, so we don’t know the usual benchmarks and performance comparisons that it usually talks about.

You can be pretty sure, however, of two things. For one thing, Intel is planning to outperform the previous generation. The other is that it’s planning to outperform AMD. How it’s planning to do so is unclear. A lot of the new laptops we’re seeing that would historically use UP3 processors are getting the new P-series chips. Intel is also targeting Apple’s M1, so we’ll have to learn more than this is all formally announced.

Also, note that there’s a Pentium and a Celeron on there, both of which are penta-core. Having one performance core and four efficiency cores is reminiscent of Lakefield, Intel’s first attempt at hybrid processors.

Finally, we have UP4, which is the successor to Y-series. It’s made for very thin and light devices, which can even be fanless. With these, the core counts are the same, but everything is turned down to 9W instead of 15W.

Processor NumberProcessor CoresProcessor ThreadsPerformance CoresEfficient CoresL3 CacheMax Turbo Frequency (P-cores)Max Turbo Frequency (E-cores)Base Frequency (P-cores)Base Frequency (E-cores)Processor GraphicsMax Graphics FrequencyProcessor Base PowerMax Turbo PowerIntel vPro
Core i7-1260U10C12T2P8E12MB4.7GHz3.5GHz1.1GHz0.8GHz96EU0.95GHz9W29WEnterprise
Core i7-1250U10C12T2P8E12MB4.7GHz3.5GHz1.1GHz0.8GHz96EU0.95GHz9W29WEssentials
Core i5-1240U10C12T2P8E12MB4.4GHz3.3GHz1.1GHz0.8GHz80EU0.9GHz9W29WEnterprise
Core i5-1230U10C12T2P8E12MB4.4GHz3.3GHz1GHz0.7GHz80EU0.85GHz9W29WEssentials
Core i3-1210U6C8T2P4E10MB4.4GHz3.3GHz1GHz0.7GHz64EU0.85GHz9W29W
Pentium 85005C6T1P4E8MB4.4GHz3.3GHz1GHz0.7GHz48EU0.8GHz9W29W
Celeron 73005C6T1P4E8MB1GHz0.7GHz48EU0.8GHz9W29W

Intel’s focus today was very much on its new desktop and H-series SKUs. A formal announcement is set to arrive this spring, which could mean anything from Mobile World Congress to Computex. Still, many of the laptops being announced today use these chips. That includes Dell’s XPS 13 Plus, HP’s Elite Dragonfly, and much more.

About author

Rich Woods
Rich Woods

Managing Editor for XDA Computing. I've been covering tech from smartphones to PCs since 2013. If you see me at a trade show, come say hi and let me ask you weird questions about why you use the tech you use.