American chipmaker Intel, during its virtual Architecture Day presentation, where the company announced several upcoming products for both consumers and businesses. The company announced a 12th Generation Core CPU lineup that is codenamed “Alder Lake," and is expected to launch in the next few months, starting with desktops. The 12th Generation Intel Core CPUs will be the first mainstream Intel chips to feature a mix of both high-performance and low-power cores, something that is common on mobile CPUs.
The 12th Generation “Alder Lake" CPUs from Intel come after the company’s “Lakefield" CPUs that had a limited release. The Alder Lake CPUs from Intel will use a more modern approach than before, with a different combination of logic blocks for different type of products. Intel is calling the different cores as Performance Cores and Efficiency Cores, which are further shortened to P Cores and E Cores. For the Alder Lake CPUs, the E cores are based on the “Gracemont" architecture, while the P Cores are based on the “Golden Clove" architecture. For Gracemont, Intel aimed to a physical silicon size and throughput efficiency, in order to target multi-threaded performance across a large number of individual cores. The Golden Clove-based P cores, on the other hand, are designed for speed and low latency. Intel calls this the highest-performance core it has ever built. The new generation supports Advanced Matrix Extensions for accelerating deep learning training and inference.
When combined, the P Cores and P Cores in Alder Lake processes can be highly scalable, Intel said. This ranges from 9W to up to 125W, which covers most of today’s mobile and desktop categories. Intel also said that the new CPUs will be able to handle 100GBps of compute fabric bandwidth per P core or per cluster of four E cores, for a total of 1000GBps between 10 units.
Intel also announced that the Alder Lake CPUs will be manufactured on the new Intel 7 process, which is a rebranded version of the 10nm Enhanced SuperFIN process. The CPUs will integrate DDR5 RAM, PCIe storage, Thunderbolt 4 ports, and Wi-Fi 6E.
On desktops, the 12th Generation Alder Lake CPUs will use a new LGA1700 socket with up to eight performance cores and eight efficiency cores, along with 30MB of last-level cache memory. The integrated GPU for desktops will have up to 32 execution units for basic display output and graphics capabilities. It will not have an integrated Thunderbolt port for an image processing block, but will support 16 lanes of PCIe Gen5 storage and another four lanes of PCIe Gen4 storage.
During its Virtual Architecture Day, Intel also talked about two mobile versions of the Alder Lake CPUs. Here, the company will make a more mainstream design with six P cores and eight E cores, and an ultracompact design with two P cores and eight E Cores. Both the mobile chipsets will have GPUs with 96 execution units as well as image processing units and integrated Thunderbolt controllers. This will be aimed at devices that don’t have discrete GPUs.
Alder Lake CPUs will support up to DDR5-4800, LPDDR5-5200, DDR4-3200 and LPDDR4X-4266 RAMs and will be up to manufacturers to decide which to implement. The modular blocks of each CPU will be connected through three fabrics – Compute, Memory, and IO.
During the event, Intel also talked about it much-anticipated high-end gaming GPU. The company said that the first-generation product will be codeamed “Alchemist" and will launch in early 2022. Alchemist will be manufactured by TSMC, Intel said.
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