In context: Intel doesn't bundle coolers with most of their CPUs and hasn't for years. Unlike AMD, which occasionally faces criticism for not including coolers with some models, Intel is thanked for sparing the metal. And that's because the few coolers they do ship are barely functional.
Intel's Rocket Lake cooler, pictured above, has existed in various iterations for about a decade. Intel has occasionally varied the color and made it a bit taller to perform a little better, or a smidgen wider to be a fraction quieter, but it's never been more than just adequate.
But now, perhaps to strike against AMD, Intel is reportedly experimenting with new designs that could be bundled with Alder Lake (12th-gen Core) processors this year. Three of their early prototypes are pictured in a leaked slide below.
The series is called Laminar. On the left is the RH1, which has been designed to cool i9 processors (and look cool doing it). It's quite tall although the visible fins aren't very dense. It has a considerable amount of RGB and premium-material accents.
In the middle and on the right are the RM1 and RS1, which look like the same part with an RGB ring tacked onto the former, although the RS1 could also be gimped with an aluminum core. The RM1 is for i7, i5, and i3 parts, while the RS1 is for Pentium and Celeron models.
The slide suggests that all three have a 65 W cooling capacity, which seems like a bit of a mismatch to the products they cool, but a good match with their abilities.
Compared to the competition, the RH1 looks like it's equivalent to the AMD Wraith Spire, while the RM1 and RS1 look comparable to the Wraith Stealth. But, like the Wraith coolers, the Laminar coolers are likely going to struggle to compete with $20-30 aftermarket coolers.
Despite their limited usefulness, stock coolers should generally be included with budget and midrange CPUs, and Intel will get a thumbs up from us if decent Laminar coolers are bundled with Alder Lake.