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Intel’s new CPUs may have faster clock speeds, but there’s a catch

The latest leaks point to several Intel Arrow Lake processors having faster base clocks than current 14th gen and Meteor Lake chips.

Intel Arrow Lake clock speed leak

The new lineup of Intel Arrow Lake gaming CPUs looks set to have higher base clock speeds than the company’s current processors, according to a new leak. The base clock is the frequency at which a processor ostensibly runs when it’s processing everyday tasks, and not being pushed hard by intensive jobs such as gaming or video encoding, and the latest information shows this clock speed could be significantly higher on Intel’s new CPUs than on its current ones. There’s a catch, though.

When you’re looking for the best gaming CPU, it’s the boost clock (or turbo clock) that you really want to be higher, rather than the base clock, as that’s the maximum speed the CPU will hit when you’re gaming. Recent rumors pointed to Intel Arrow Lake boost clocks being lower than those of current Intel 14th gen CPUs, but it looks as though the base clocks will now be higher.

This latest leak comes from InstLatX64 on X (formerly known as Twitter), who has been monitoring the test rigs on Intel GFX CI, a site that tests the Linux drivers for Intel graphics on multiple Intel platforms, to find Arrow Lake systems. InstLatX64 has spotted three new CPUs so far, which we’ve verified on the site ourselves, and they all appear to show an increase in base clocks (of the P-Cores) compared to their 14th gen counterparts.

The one that’s most interesting to desktop PC gamers is what looks like a 24-core Arrow Lake CPU running at a base clock of 3.6GHz – an increase of 400MHz over the 3.2GHz base clock of the Core i9 14900K. This CPU looks like a likely contender to be the rumored Core 9 Ultra 285K.

Intel Arrow Lake desktop CPU leaked base clock speed screenshot

A couple of laptop CPUs have been spotted as well, including what InstLatX64 says is likely to be an Arrow Lake HX prototype, with HX being the suffix used by Intel on its high-end laptop CPUs. This processor has 24 cores, like the desktop CPU, and a base clock of 3GHz, which is 800MHz higher than the 2.2GHz base clock of the Core i9 14900HX.

Finally, there’s also a 16-core Arrow Lake H laptop CPU, which InstLatX64 says probably contains six Lion Cove P-Cores, eight Skymont E-Cores, and two last-gen Crestmont cores. This CPU has a 3.5GHz clock speed, which is a good 1.2GHz higher than the base clock of the current Meteor Lake-based Core Ultra 9 185H.

Intel Arrow Lake laptop CPU leaked base clock speed screenshot

Of course, none of the above has been confirmed by Intel, so take this all with a pinch of salt for the moment. If these listings are genuine, then these CPUs will all be prototypes at this stage as well, and we may well see different clock speeds at launch. While the base clocks make little difference to gaming, it looks as though Intel’s new CPUs are cool and power-efficient enough to have higher clock speeds than their predecessors for everyday workloads.

However, bear in mind that base clocks are largely academic anyway, as Intel’s CPUs can drop their clock speeds to well below the base clock when they’re idle or not working hard, and they can boost to speeds lower than the peak boost clock as well, with different frequencies available depending on the number of cores engaged.

In the meantime, if you’re looking to buy a new CPU right now, check out our Ryzen 7 7800X3D review, as this is the current all-round king of the castle. You can also read our full guide on how to build a gaming PC, where we take you through every step of the process, including installing a CPU.