Friday, July 9th 2021

Intel "Alder Lake" Mobile Processor SKU Stack Leaked

Armed with up to 8 "Golden Cove" high-performance CPU cores and up to 8 "Gracemont" low-power cores in a hybrid x86 processor setup, the "Alder Lake" silicon enables Intel to carve out some interesting SKUs in the mobile space, by creating numerous combinations of the big and small CPU core counts, and more importantly, by adjusting the ratio of big cores to small ones. The two core types operate at significantly different performance/Watt bands, which allows Intel to target the various TDP-defined mobile processor SKU categories with just the right big:small core ratios, as revealed by a leaked "Alder Lake" mobile SKU roadmap, leaked to the web by HXL.

Intel is looking to spread the silicon across six mobile segments defined by TDP—the 5 W tablet/handheld; the 9 W ultra-thin, the 15 W mainstream tablet/laptop, the 28 W performance tablet/laptop, the 35-45 W thin enthusiast laptop, and the 45-55 W "muscle" laptop. With Intel recently announcing the discontinuation of its 1+4 (big+small) core "Lakefield" hybrid processor, its mantle in the 5 W segment will be picked up by "Alder Lake-M5," with 1 "Golden Cove" and 4 "Gracemont" cores. There will be two product tiers segmented by iGPU execution units (EUs), one with 48 EU, and the other with 64.
The constant with the "Alder Lake-U" 9 W ultra-thin segment is that these chips only have 2 "Golden Cove" cores, varying in the core-counts of the smaller "Gracemont" cores, and/or the iGPU EU count. The top 9 W models are 2+8 cores (big+small), while the lower models are 2+4 cores (big+small). The iGPU EU counts range between 80 and the maximum-possible 96. The CPU core-counts are similar with the 15 W "Alder Lake-U" chips, except that the increased TDP probably allows Intel to give them increased clock speeds and boosting headroom.

Things get very exciting with the 28 W segment, where we see SKUs that are only Core i5 or higher, with core counts starting at 4+8 cores (big+small) for the lower Core i5 and Core i7 parts; and 6+8 cores (big+small) for the top Core i9 parts. All SKUs in this segment max out the iGPU, with 96 EUs.

The 45 W segment, powering notebooks of conventional thickness, is where the processors have lavish amounts of power budgets, and can sustain high clock speeds. Here we see the Core i5 SKUs being 4+8 cores (big+small), while the Core i7 and Core i9 SKUs are 6+8 cores. The iGPUs are, again, maxed out with 96 EUs.

The 55 W enthusiast segment will include SKUs with unlocked multipliers and target premium gaming notebooks. Spanning Core i7 and Core i9 extensions, these SKUs come with 8+8 (big+small) CPU core configurations, but with only 32 iGPU EUs, to free up power budget for the CPU cores. The idea here is that gaming notebooks are sure to come with discrete GPUs, and the iGPU can afford to be made lightweight.

Depending on the TDP segment, these processors come in any of three packages. The smallest of these is BGA1781, which uses an extremely low Z-height package that's a multi-chip module of the processor die and the PCH, probably leveraging an advanced packaging technology like EMIB. The P-segment processors (15 W, 28 W, and 35-45 W) come in the BGA1744 package, with a lower pin-count, but a slightly bigger package that uses an interposer to connect the processor and PCH dies. The highest 55 W processor comes in the largest BGA1964 package, with additional pins possibly meant to serve increased power-delivery requirements, or a broader PCI-Express I/O.
Source: HXL (Twitter)
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11 Comments on Intel "Alder Lake" Mobile Processor SKU Stack Leaked

#1
Richards
Alder lake is looking good.. its over for apple m1
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#2
ZoneDymo
RichardsAlder lake is looking good.. its over for apple m1
You have to realise how silly that comment is.
Posted on Reply
#3
Crackong
TDP 45W = PL2 160W again? or PL2 210W ?
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#4
Hyderz
this is pretty cool! i was going to buy an 11th gen cpu laptop but i think i might wait for these
Posted on Reply
#5
watzupken
I don't trust the supposed TDP at all. Looking at Tiger Lake, the supposed 45W TDP is actually double in real life. I am interested to see how Alder Lake will perform with Intel slapping so many Gracemont efficient cores, which are said to be as fast as Skylake. Skylake processors are not that highly clocked, so with a die shrink to 10nm, I guess it is possible to get power consumption down quite a bit. But with the Golden Cove running together, I think it will easily exceed even a 125W TDP.
RichardsAlder lake is looking good.. its over for apple m1
Look good and actually good are 2 different things. With Intel's existing 10nm, I doubt Alder Lake will bring about a miracle. Those TDP numbers need to be taken with a truck load of salt as well.

If anything, I am more interested to see what Qualcomm's acquisition of Nuvia can deliver. ARM processors may not be as powerful as modern x86 processors, but if done right, can deliver excellent results. While there are a lot Apple haters out there, the fact is that the M1 chip proves that ARM chips can compete with an AMD or Intel processor where for example, it is clearly faster in workloads like video and photo editing. If the M1 chip was not a threat to Intel, why do you think Pat will want to spend money on marketing to show Intel processor is better?
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#6
Richards
watzupkenI don't trust the supposed TDP at all. Looking at Tiger Lake, the supposed 45W TDP is actually double in real life. I am interested to see how Alder Lake will perform with Intel slapping so many Gracemont efficient cores, which are said to be as fast as Skylake. Skylake processors are not that highly clocked, so with a die shrink to 10nm, I guess it is possible to get power consumption down quite a bit. But with the Golden Cove running together, I think it will easily exceed even a 125W TDP.


Look good and actually good are 2 different things. With Intel's existing 10nm, I doubt Alder Lake will bring about a miracle. Those TDP numbers need to be taken with a truck load of salt as well.

If anything, I am more interested to see what Qualcomm's acquisition of Nuvia can deliver. ARM processors may not be as powerful as modern x86 processors, but if done right, can deliver excellent results. While there are a lot Apple haters out there, the fact is that the M1 chip proves that ARM chips can compete with an AMD or Intel processor where for example, it is clearly faster in workloads like video and photo editing. If the M1 chip was not a threat to Intel, why do you think Pat will want to spend money on marketing to show Intel processor is better?
Yeah.. we.ll see when the benchmarks are released
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#7
Tom Yum
RichardsYeah.. we.ll see when the benchmarks are released
It looks a bit awkward for Intel with how these line up with AMD's current line-up. Effectively in the 15W lineup, Intel will be lining up a 2 fat core, 8 atom core CPU against AMD 8 fat core competitor. Unless Golden Cove is an absolute beast, or Gracemont cores are nearly competitive with current Willow Cove cores (in which case why bother with the big/little arrangement), then it looks like Alder Lake is in for some tough times at low TDP's.
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#9
defaultluser
I would hope that these things will at-least utilize Hyperthreading this time around?

Lakefield dropping this feature made that single core even more pathetic !
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#10
DeathtoGnomes
its not the first time Intel has embellished new chip specs so far out that it failed in the real world.
Posted on Reply
#11
persondb
defaultluserI would hope that these things will at-least utilize Hyperthreading this time around?

Lakefield dropping this feature made that single core even more pathetic !
Big cores are supposed to have it, the smaller cores not really. At least that's what the rumours said though it's highly unlikely not to have it as Golden Cove(big core arch) is a follow-up on Willow Cove.
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