Intel To End AVX-512 Support On All Alder Lake CPUs Going Forward


When Intel launched its Alder Lake CPUs, they were reported to exclude AVX-512 instructions. However, the support found its way through several workarounds, all unofficial though. As such, Intel didn't approve the use of AVX-512, yet motherboard manufacturers continued to create and offer BIOS firmware to utilize AVX-512. Now, Intel has announced that it will officially end the enablement of AVX-512 instruction in the future by fusing off support in newer Alder Lake chips.

Intel officially ends any enablement of AVX-512 in Alder Lake CPUs moving forward

Tom's Hardware has received information from an Intel spokesperson that all future Alder Lake CPUs will have AVX-512 support fully disabled. The website reached out to Intel and received this statement from the tech giant:

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"Although AVX-512 was not fuse-disabled on certain early Alder Lake desktop products, Intel plans to fuse off AVX-512 on Alder Lake products going forward."

β€” Intel Spokesperson

For readers that do not understand what Intel is initiating, Intel will forcibly disable an internal fuse on the Alder Lake chips on a physical level to ensure that the AVX-512 support will not be accessible at the silicon level.

Intel's Advanced Vector Extensions 512, or Intel AVX-512, is an instruction set that increases executions for heavy workloads and uses in significant scenarios. The instructions span artificial intelligence, deep learning, financial analytics, scientific simulations, 3D modeling and analysis, image and audio/video processing, cryptography, and data compression.

Just before the launch of Alder Lake CPUs, an optimization guide published by Intel described the planned implementation of AVX-512. Still, Intel quickly reported that the 12th Gen Core processors would not support the extensions. When initially asked by the press to Intel about AVX-512, the company explained that the instructions were not compatible with newer x86 hybrid processors since Intel varied the two in differing microarchitectures. This statement was followed by an updated optimization guide that erased any reference in AVX-512 in Alder Lake.

The halt of Intel supporting AVX-512 has not stopped enthusiasts and manufacturers from locating the hidden instructions accessible by certain motherboards. Manufacturers could create a toggle that would access the AVX-512 commands against Intel's desires. When approached by a Taiwanese press syndicate, Intel explained that it would consider the support of AVX-512 on their Alder Lake processors in the same way that they approached overclocking of their processors. The company stated that they do not support the use of AVX-512 officially, and anyone using the commands would do so at their own risk.

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Intel reported in January that the company plans to fully disable the command set with a firmware update to the company's chipset through the system's BIOS. In turn, after the execution of the new firmware update, the option is disabled but will not be accessible to BIOS updates from now and into the future. However, MSI created a workaround by initiating a toggle for the BIOS that allowed their users to switch between an older BIOS version and the newest BIOS version manually, which allowed for the support on their systems once more.

Intel appears to have received word on this manipulation of their Alder Lake chipset by MSI and will be physically denying access to the AVX-512 extension on future chips shipped, officially stopping any manufacturer utilizing their chipset from actively accessing the commands.

The company's decision has positive and negative impacts, depending on where you stand. For Intel, this decision allows the company to drive the sales of their Intel Xeon chips that do utilize AVX-512 support at a higher cost. If you are a consumer, you can still find older variants of the AVX-512 support, which is where the positives and negatives mesh together. The negative impact for those users looking for that support may cause vendors or third-parties to sell those chips for higher, as we have seen with other computer components once a significant change has initiated, users widely use that.

However, there is good news for AMD users. There are whispers that the company will bring the AVX-512 support to their Zen4 platform. Will Intel be forced to support the instructions if AMD implements this in the future?

Also, will the physical disabling of AVX-512 on future Alder Lake chipsets be the first in line with changes Intel is making to stop specific unwanted uses of their products? For example, with this decision, will Gelsinger and the company halt the use of overclocking fully in non-K Alder Lake chipsets, which the company has reported that they do not want users to ruin their chips by stressing the product to such high levels? We will have to wait and see if Intel plans to stop that action during the upcoming months.

Source: Tom's Hardware