Today, Intel held its Architecture Day event, during which the company revealed many of its upcoming plans. This includes the new Alder Lake products that will be available this fall. Alder Lake refers to Intel’s 12th-generation Core processors, but no specific products were announced during the event. Rather, it concentrated on the architecture, or more precisely, the architectures in play.
Yes, unlike in the past, Intel’s next processors will not have just one architecture. Instead, each processor will use a combination of efficient and performance cores, similar to how smartphone processors operate. These are still x86 architectures, not ARM-based architectures. Last year, Intel tried something similar with its Lakefield processors, but they only had one performance core and weren’t very good.
So, what exactly are these architectural structures? First, there’s the Gracemont-based efficient core architecture, which is optimized for low-power tasks. This is comparable to Intel’s Skylake cores, which debuted in 2015. The new architecture, according to Intel, can deliver up to 40% more single-threaded performance while using the same amount of power, or the same performance while using less than 40% of the power used by Skylake cores. When compared to Skylake, this translates to 80 percent more performance or an 80 percent reduction in power usage for multi-threaded tasks, specifically with four threads.
Alder Lake: x86 Efficient-Core
There’s also the new performance core architecture, dubbed Golden Cove previously. As you might expect, this is Intel’s most powerful processing core yet, with improvements to latency, parallelism, and overall performance. Intel claims a 19 percent performance boost over the Cypress Cove cores in 11th-generation Intel Core desktop processors at the same frequency. However, it’s worth noting that Cypress Cove cores are based on Intel’s 10th-generation mobile processors’ Sunny Cove cores. Willow Cove cores were used in 11th-generation mobile processors, which are significantly better than Sunny Cove.
Alder Lake: x86 Performance-Core
In Alder Lake processors, these efficient and performance cores will be combined, and the new Intel Thread Director will coordinate them. This new feature is available in Alder Lake and ensures that tasks are assigned to efficient and performance cores as needed to maximize performance and efficiency. Intel Thread Director will communicate directly with the operating system to ensure that threads are assigned to the appropriate cores at all times.
The Alder Lake processors will be based on the Intel 7 process, which has recently been renamed. They’ll have up to 16 processing cores and 24 threads, with eight performance cores and eight efficiency cores. Each performance core will have two threads, whereas each efficient core will only have one.
Alder Lake processors will be highly scalable, with power levels ranging from 9W to 125W. Alder Lake processors will support PCIe Gen 5, DDR5 memory, and Thunderbolt 4 – confirming that Thunderbolt 5 will be delayed.
When it comes to products based on Alder Lake, we can expect to see them this fall. Mobile processors, specifically low-power variants, are most likely to be the source of this. These are usually the first to be revealed, with desktop processors following early the following year.
Intel also revealed more information about its new Xe HPG GPU microarchitecture. Intel’s own Xe LP microarchitecture, which was used in the Iris Xe Max discrete GPU and the integrated graphics in Intel Tiger Lake processors, promises 1.5 times the performance per watt with the new microarchitecture.
This microarchitecture will be used in GPUs that will be released next year under the Intel Arc brand, which the company just announced a few days ago.