Intel presented more desktop and mobile models of its latest 12th processor generation "Alder Lake" at CES 2022. Its most striking new feature is the first-time use of two different types of cores in desktop processors of the i9, i7 and partly i5 class. Thus, performance and energy-saving cores work together in the new Alder Lake CPUs similar to ARM systems in smartphones (such as Qualcomm&s Snapdragon, Samsung&s Exynos and also Apple&s A and the new M1 SoCs), Intel calls it the Big-Little-Hybrid concept.
Alder Lake CPUs with new architecture and two types of cores
. The small cores are the energy-saving E-Cores (Efficient Cores) with Gracemont architecture - their performance is said to be approximately equal to that of a 10th-generation Skylake core, but they consume only 40% less power. The larger, more powerful (and, however, also more energy-consuming) cores are the P-Cores (Performance) with Golden Cove architecture. Only the latter have HyperThreading as usual, i.e. two virtual cores.
Depending on the assessment, different tasks are assigned to the different cores by Intel&s "Thread Director" - if maximum use is required, then all P and E cores work together via multitasking. However, the "Thread Director "will only be supported in the new Windows 11 and thus offer optimal performance, under Windows 10 its effect is limited (in Linux the support for it is still in development).
Different CPUs have different numbers of P and E cores
. The different 12th generation processors contain E and P cores in different numbers (and also different clock speeds). The new LGA1700 is used as the socket, which means new motherboards are also required to use the new CPUs. The performance cores are said to be 19% faster than the cores of the Intel CPUs of the Rocket Lake previous generation with Cypress Cove architecture.
High-end Alder Lake CPUs
All these processors are manufactured for the first time using the new "Intel 7" process, which was formerly known as "10nm Enhanced Super Fin". Intel justifies the name change by saying that the transistor density of Intel 7 is similar to that of 7nm manufacturing processes from competitors like TSMC and Samsung .
Alder Lake Features
. Alder Lake unterstützt sowohl bis zu 128 GB DDR5-4800 als auch DDR4-3200 RAM, Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi 6E, sowie neben vier PCIe 4.0 und erstmals auch 16 (Desktop-Versionen) PCIe 5.0 Lanes bzw. bei den mobilen CPUs x12 PCIe Gen 4 und x16 PCIe Gen 3. AVX-512 und AMX werden allerdings nur in den CPU-Varianten für Rechenzentren unterstützt, d.h. sie sind auf Consumer-CPUs deaktiviert. Und tatsächlich hat sich Intel mit den neuen Spitzenmodellen nach ersten Benchmarks die Performance-Krone von AMD zurückgeholt.
Mobile Alder Lake CPU-Serien
Alder Lake CPU Varianten
- Alder Lake-S für Desktop-PCs mit bis zu 16 Kerne (maximal 8 P- und 8 E-Kerne), optionale Intel Xe GPU, 2x PCIe 5.0 x8, 2x PCIe 4.0 x4 - Alder Lake-H/P/U für mobile Geräte mit bis zu 14 Kerne (maximal 6 P- und 8 E-Kerne), optionale Intel Xe GPU, PCIe 5.0 x8, 2x PCIe 4.0 x4 - Alder Lake-M für Geräte mit geringem Stromverbrauch mit bis zu 10 Kerne (maximal 2 P- und 8 E-Kerne), optionale Intel Xe GPU, PCIe 5.0 x8 oder PCIe 4.0 x4 - Alder Lake-L als Atom-Ersatz - Alder Lake-N für Bildungseinrichtungen (wahrscheinlich Chromebooks).
Intel first presented (as always) the most powerful desktop CPUs, the Core i9-12900K with 8 P and 8E cores with a maximum of 5.2 and 3.9 GHz (and 24 threads), respectively, the i7-12700K with 8P and 4E cores with a maximum of 4.9 GHz and 3.8 GHz, respectively, as well as the i5-12600K with 6P and 4E cores with 4.9 and 3.6 GHz - each also available as KF variants without an internal GPU.
High-end Alder Lake CPUs
Intel has now introduced more models at the start of CES 2022, so the Alder Lake lineup of desktop processors now includes a total of 28 models (i9, i7, i5, i3 as well as Pentium and Celeron), which ranges from Core i9 variants with 16 cores to Celerons with 2 cores. Intel now (over)differentiates the performance by means of the new cores in different stages: 8 P and 8 E cores (24 threads), 8 and 4 (20 threads), 6 and 4 (16 threads), 6 and 0 (12 threads), 4 and 0 (8 threads) as well as 2 and 0 (4 threads).
Within a tier, the different models differ in the clocking of the cores, the presence (and size) of a GPU unit, and the size of the L3 andL2 caches. Depending on the number of cores and the clock speed is the Maximum Turbo Power (MTB, which is up to 202 watts for the most powerful models.
To go with the new CPUs, Intel is also offering new chipsets, staggered by feature set, starting with the top-of-the-line Z690 and continuing with the H670 and B660 and ending with the budget H610. For example, only the Z690 allows overclocking of the P and E cores and offers up to 12 PCIe 4.0 lanes and 8 SATA 3.0 ports together with the H670 chipset. Further differences (see chart) are in the number and type of supported USB ports and number of memory channels.
High-end Alder Lake chipsets
Mobile Alder Lake Intel H processors
. Intel also unveiled the first 8 new 12th-generation mobile CPUs at CES 2022, again starting with the high-end 45-watt H-series models, starting with the Core i9-12900HK with 6 P- and 8 E-cores (20 threads) with up to 5 GHz turbo clock and ending with the i5-12450H with 4 P- and 4 E-cores (12 threads).
High-end Alder Lake Mobile CPUs
According to Intel and first independent benchmarks, the new mobile top model Core i9-12900HK should be faster than Apple&s new M1 Max SoC in many areas. In Premiere Pro (PugetBench), the 12900HK is said to be 44% faster than the predecessor i9-11980HK and also slightly faster than Apple&s M1 Max and significantly faster than AMD&s Ryzen R9 5900HX.
However, it is still unclear how much higher the power consumption of the Intel CPUs is in this case and how long the high performance can be maintained without overheating (and how this affects the battery). Here is our test of the MacBook Pro 16" with M1 Max.
Similar to the desktop versions, the CPUs also support DDR5 or DDR4 RAM and in addition 8x and 2 x 4x PCIe 4.0 lanes, Wi-Fi 6E, four Thunderbolt 4 ports, eDP 1.4b, 10x USB2 as well as 4x USB3 ports, 2 x SATA 3.0, PCIe 3.0 x12 and HDMI 2. 0b - in contrast to the desktop versions of the new Intel CPUs, PCIe 5.0 is not supported. Several large manufacturers, such as Asus, MSI and LG, have already announced notebooks equipped with these new CPUs, but they will only be launched in the coming months.