After the lackluster launch of Rocket Lake-S Desktop CPUs, all eyes are now set on Intel's 12th Gen Alder Lake-S chips. A brand new engineering sample has leaked out along with detailed specs such as clock speeds and power limits by Igor's Lab.
Intel Alder Lake-S 16 Core & 24 Thread Engineering Sample Desktop CPU Leaks Out - Up To 4.6 GHz Clocks at 228W PL2 TDP
The Intel Alder Lake-S Desktop CPUs will be part of the 12th Gen Core family and will be based on the 10nm Enhanced SuperFin process node. The CPUs will feature a hybrid architecture approach that will utilize Golden Cove x86 and Gracemonth Atom cores on the same die. More details on the Alder Lake-S architecture, die layouts, and configurations can be read here.
As for the engineering sample that was unearthed by Igor's Lab, it looks like we are looking at a very early chip that is labeled as Intel Core-1800. This is not an official or final name but the Alder Lake-S ES Desktop CPU comes with 16 cores and 24 threads. This is the top configuration of the Alder Lake-S lineup. The CPU features 8 Golden Cove cores with 16 threads & 8 Gracemont cores with 8 threads. The CPU features a base clock of 1.80 GHz which confirms the early built nature of this chip.
The power limits for this particular Intel Alder Lake-S ES Desktop CPU reveal that it has a base TDP of 125W which will run for a duration of 56 seconds while the PL2 limit is rated at 228W which will operate for 2.44ms. The CPU has a maximum temperature limit (Tj Max) of 100W and is designed around the LGA 1700 socket which will be featured on the 600-series chipset-based motherboards such as the high-end Z690 lineup that is expected to launch in Q3 2021.
Interestingly, the leak also mentions the Intel Alder Lake-S ES Desktop CPU frequencies. Bear in mind that while these are still early clocks, they do give us a look at how Intel will handle the clock speeds on its hybrid CPUs. The Golden Cove cores which are labeled as the Big cores will have a max frequency of 4.6 GHz (for up to 2 cores). The frequency will scale down to 4.4 GHz (3-4 cores), 4.2 GHz (5-6 cores), and 4.0 GHz (7-8 cores). The Gracemont Atom cores will have frequencies of 3.4 GHz (1-4 cores) and 3.0 GHz (5-8 cores). The CPU current is rated at 1.3147V at 4.2 GHz.
Here's Everything We Know About Intel's 12th Gen Alder Lake Desktop CPUs
In its official slide, Intel calls the Alder Lake a 'Breakthrough CPU Architecture. The company claims that its 12th Gen processors will offer a 20% single-threaded performance uplift and a 2X uplift in multi-threaded tasks. The Intel Alder Lake CPUs will be the first CPUs fabricated on the brand new 10nm Enhanced SuperFin process node which is a refined and more optimized version of the 10nm SuperFin process node used to manufacture the current Tiger Lake CPUs.
It is not explicitly stated which processor family Intel is comparing its performance uplift to but a recent rumor stated that Alder Lake CPUs will offer a 20% IPC uplift over Tiger Lake so it is likely that Intel is talking about Tiger Lake with Willow Cove here which makes sense rather than making comparisons against Rocket Lake with Cypress Cove or older Haswell based offerings.
Following are some of the updates you should expect from Intel's 2021 architecture lineup:
Intel Golden Cove (Core) Architecture:
- Improve Single-Threaded Performance (IPC)
- Improve Artificial Intelligence (AI) Performance
- Improve Network/5G Performance
- Enhanced Security Features
Intel Gracemont (Atom) Architecture:
- Improve Single-Threaded Performance (IPC)
- Improve Frequency (Clock Speeds)
- Improve Vector Performance
Following is the exact breakdown of the cache subsystem of Intel's Alder Lake Desktop CPUs:
Golden Cove Cores:
- 32 KB (L1I) Per Core
- 48 KB (L1D) Per Core
- 1280 KB (L2) Per Core
- 3072 KB (L3) Per Core
- 64 KB (L1I) Per Core
- 32 KB (L1D) Per Core
- 2048 KB (L2) x 4 Cores
- 3072 KB (L3) x 4 Cores
Intel highlights some of the key features of its Alder Lake CPUs in the slide too such as the use of a hybrid core design which would include both Golden Cove cores (successor to Willow Cove) & also the Gracemont cores which are the next-generation Atom architecture. The Golden Cove cores will serve as the big cores on the CPU & will feature simultaneous multi-threading support while Atom cores will stick to a non-SMT design. Some brand new features for the cores themselves will include Hardware-Guided Scheduling, Design Optimizations, and Energy-aware core parking.
When it comes to I/O, the Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake CPU lineup will feature both PCIe Gen 5 & PCIe Gen 4 support, Intel WiFi 6E (Gig+), and Thunderbolt 4 support. For memory, Alder Lake CPUs will come with a wide array of options ranging from DDR5/DDR4 for the desktop platform and LPDDR5 / LPDDR4 for the mobility platform. Moving forward, Intel will also add in LPDDR5X support in its Alder Lake refresh line of processors known as Raptor Lake which you can find more details over here.
Intel Mainstream Desktop CPU Generations Comparison:
|Intel CPU Family||Processor Process||Processor Architecture||Processors Cores/Threads (Max)||TDPs||Platform Chipset||Platform||Memory Support||PCIe Support||Launch|
|Sandy Bridge (2nd Gen)||32nm||Sandy Bridge||4/8||35-95W||6-Series||LGA 1155||DDR3||PCIe Gen 2.0||2011|
|Ivy Bridge (3rd Gen)||22nm||Ivy Bridge||4/8||35-77W||7-Series||LGA 1155||DDR3||PCIe Gen 3.0||2012|
|Haswell (4th Gen)||22nm||Haswell||4/8||35-84W||8-Series||LGA 1150||DDR3||PCIe Gen 3.0||2013-2014|
|Broadwell (5th Gen)||14nm||Broadwell||4/8||65-65W||9-Series||LGA 1150||DDR3||PCIe Gen 3.0||2015|
|Skylake (6th Gen)||14nm||Skylake||4/8||35-91W||100-Series||LGA 1151||DDR4||PCIe Gen 3.0||2015|
|Kaby Lake (7th Gen)||14nm||Skylake||4/8||35-91W||200-Series||LGA 1151||DDR4||PCIe Gen 3.0||2017|
|Coffee Lake (8th Gen)||14nm||Skylake||6/12||35-95W||300-Series||LGA 1151||DDR4||PCIe Gen 3.0||2017|
|Coffee Lake (9th Gen)||14nm||Skylake||8/16||35-95W||300-Series||LGA 1151||DDR4||PCIe Gen 3.0||2018|
|Comet Lake (10th Gen)||14nm||Skylake||10/20||35-125W||400-Series||LGA 1200||DDR4||PCIe Gen 3.0||2020|
|Rocket Lake (11th Gen)||14nm||Cypress Cove||8/16||35-125W||500-Series||LGA 1200||DDR4||PCIe Gen 4.0||2021|
|Alder Lake (12th Gen)||Intel 7||Golden Cove (P-Core)|
|16/24||35-125W||600 Series||LGA 1700/1800||DDR5 / DDR4||PCIe Gen 5.0||2021|
|Raptor Lake (13th Gen)||Intel 7||Raptor Cove (P-Core)|
|24/32||35-125W||700-Series||LGA 1700/1800||DDR5 / DDR4||PCIe Gen 5.0||2022|
|Meteor Lake (14th Gen)||Intel 4||Redwood Cove (P-Core)|
|TBA||35-125W||800 Series?||LGA 1851||DDR5||PCIe Gen 5.0||2023|
|Arrow Lake (15th Gen)||Intel 20A||Lion Cove (P-Core)|
|40/48||TBA||900-Series?||LGA 1851||DDR5||PCIe Gen 5.0||2024|
|Lunar Lake (16th Gen)||Intel 18A||TBD||TBA||TBA||1000-Series?||TBA||DDR5||PCIe Gen 5.0?||2025|
|Nova Lake (17th Gen)||Intel 18A||TBD||TBA||TBA||2000-Series?||TBA||DDR5?||PCIe Gen 6.0?||2026|