Computing

Head-to-head: Intel Core i7-12700H vs. AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS

Two of the top laptop processors in 2022 are the Intel Core i7-12700H and the AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS. However, comparing them directly is challenging due to the various factors that influence laptop performance. Recently, I had the opportunity to test the Intel version of the Slim 7 Pro X laptop from Lenovo. I had previously reviewed the AMD version, and I was excited to pit these two similar laptops against each other.

I must clarify that while these laptops are “very similar,” they are not identical. The crucial difference lies in the processors. Both laptops use the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, allowing us to focus solely on comparing the CPUs. However, the AMD version, which runs on the Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU, boasts 32GB of 6400MHz LPDDR5 RAM. In contrast, the Intel Core i7-12700H version has “only” 16GB of slower 5200MHz LPDDR5 RAM. Hence, while we can draw some performance comparison from our benchmark results, it’s important to note that we can’t be entirely scientific. Additionally, the Ryzen 9 6900HS is a lower-power chip, while the Core i7 is a full-power version.

Despite these limitations, the results were quite interesting, even if not groundbreaking. They clearly showed that the decision between Intel and AMD is not solely determined by performance.

The Lenovo Slim 7 Pro X open on a table.
Credit: Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Specs

Both laptops I tested, the Slim 7 Pro X with AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS and the Slim 7i Pro X with Intel Core i7-12700H, are equipped with high-performance components. The AMD model features a 35-watt eight-core/16-thread CPU running at up to 4.9GHz, along with 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM and a 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD. On the other hand, the Intel model is powered by a 45-watt Core i7-12700H with 14 cores and 20 threads, reaching speeds of up to 4.7GHz. It comes with 16GB of 5200MHz LPDDR5 RAM and a 512GB PCIe 4.0 SSD.

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In our CPU-intensive benchmarks, the results were mixed. The AMD model fell behind in Geekbench 5, both in single-core and multi-core modes. This outcome aligns with expectations, as AMD typically trails behind Intel in single-core performance and excels in multi-core tasks. However, both laptops achieved similar scores in the PCMark 10 Complete benchmark, which assesses a variety of productivity and creative tasks.

During our Handbrake test, where we encode a 420MB video using H.265, the Intel version completed the task a few seconds faster, but the difference was not significant. It’s worth mentioning that I conducted the test in both balanced and performance modes using the same Lenovo Vantage utility. Cinebench R23 revealed that the AMD model was slower in single-core performance but slightly faster in multi-core when in balanced mode.

The most notable difference emerged in the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark, which runs a live version of Adobe Premiere Pro. This benchmark stresses both the CPU and GPU and showcases the Slim 7 Pro X’s impressive performance, especially for a 14-inch laptop with an RTX 3050. It outperformed laptops equipped with Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics by at least 60%. However, the Intel version achieved even better results. It was approximately 31% faster in balanced mode and an additional 8% faster in performance mode. The AMD version of the laptop couldn’t complete the benchmark in performance mode, solidifying the Intel version’s lead in this regard.

The Pugetbench benchmark encompasses several components, including Export, Playback, and GPU effects. The most significant disparity between the AMD and Intel versions occurred in the Playback score, where AMD scored 62.5 and Intel scored 122.5. Intel’s optimizations for Adobe applications are evident here. Considering the RAM’s difference in amount and speed, Intel emerges as the clear winner in this benchmark.

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Overall, it’s safe to say that these two CPUs perform similarly in CPU-intensive productivity and creative tasks, which is impressive considering the lower power rating of the AMD chip. However, Intel takes the lead in Adobe apps, and with equal RAM, the Intel chip might pull even further ahead.

Battery life

Both versions of the Slim 7 Pro X that I tested are equipped with 70-watt-hour batteries and feature the same 3.5K IPS display. Therefore, it’s fair to compare their battery lives and draw conclusions based on Lenovo’s implementation.

The laptop with the Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU achieved significantly better battery life in all our tests. It lasted 2.5 hours longer in our web browsing test, almost 1.5 hours longer in the PCMark 10 Applications battery test, and an impressive five hours longer in our local video test.

Although the Intel chip might be notably faster in one of our benchmarks, the AMD chip is much more efficient. This is due to its lower power rating and the overall efficiencies of its architecture.

Connectivity

Another area where Intel and AMD differ is connectivity. Although not a significant advantage, Intel chipsets support Thunderbolt 4, which offers faster speeds and better display support compared to most USB-C connections, including the latest USB4. Additionally, the Intel machine comes with faster Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, while the AMD version offers Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.

A difference, but is it meaningful?

So, when it comes to choosing between the AMD-powered Lenovo Slim 7 Pro X and the Intel-powered Slim 7i Pro X, which one should you go for? Is the Ryzen 9 6900HS or the Core i7-12700H better?

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In terms of performance, both CPUs deliver similar results, except in Adobe applications where Intel takes the lead. The Core i7 also outperforms in single-core performance, which could make a difference in daily use. Additionally, the Intel version offers the advantage of Thunderbolt 4 and Wi-Fi 6E.

However, the AMD version offers significantly longer battery life than its Intel counterpart. In fact, the difference in battery life is arguably more significant than the performance gap. Pricing can be tricky to determine due to Lenovo’s varying configurations and costs, but the AMD version is likely to be less expensive than a similarly configured Intel model.

Ultimately, the choice comes down to specific requirements and preferences. However, relying solely on performance might not be the best approach.

OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

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