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Alder Lake CPUs common discussion

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Many people are talking about about ADL massive power consumption but when you're running games or various simple Windows applications you don't actually fully load the CPU at all times. This conclusion of great many reviews including here on TPU doesn't seem fair. It's only when you're running massively parallel pure computational tasks (encoding, rendering, compilation) is when you see it and then ... Why does it look like that Alder Lake CPUs run at their max turbo power limits at all times when in reality max turbo power applies at most for a minute if I'm not mistaken?

@W1zzard

Now, I have some serious questions about ADL benchmarks which no reviewer has actually taken into consideration. I've already emailed you but looks like you've been to busy to reply/address my concerns:

1. Would be nice if could run CPU specific tests after ADL CPUs settled on their actual TDP whatever it is, thus excluding the first minute or so when they run at much higher wattages (PL1/PL2/turbo power, whatever)

2. Would be nice if you could pit Ryzen 5000, Rocket Lake and Alder Lake against each other when _all_ are set to the same TDP to see what their performance per watt is.

3. I still really much doubt the benefit of having E-cores, so it would be nice if you run this test: benchmark P-cores while limiting their frequency to the one of E-cores and compare the system power consumption when running this task on any of E-cores. That will allow to see whether such cores were justified in the first place.

4. Would be nice to see HWiNFO screenshots of an idling ADL CPU (any).

Here's another thing: for most people out there their CPUs are idle ~98% of the time. Both Ryzen 3000 and 5000 CPUs have quite a high idle power consumption due to their architecture (CPUs + a separate always running IO module).

For instance 12600K idles at more than 16W fewer than 5600X. 12900K is 21W "better" than 5950X:
idle.jpg
 
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thus excluding the first minute or so when they run at much higher wattages
You should probably update your data as well ~

No More TDP: Base Power and Turbo Power​

In the past, Intel promoted its processor power as a single number: TDP (Thermal Design Power*). The issue wasn’t so much that this number was wrong, it was because it lacked massive context that wasn’t communicated to anyone. Arguably it took us several years to find out what it really meant, especially in relation to its turbo.

*Technically TDP is defined differently to power consumption, however they are effectively interchangeable at this point, both in common parlance and Intel documentation.

What Intel was promoting wasn’t the power consumption in regular operation, but the guaranteed power consumption for the base processor specifications. That means if a user purchased a six-core processor, base frequency at 3.0 GHz, and a TDP of 65 W, then those are the only specifications that were covered under warranty. Even if the box showcased that the processor was capable of enabling a turbo up to 4.0 GHz, that wasn’t guaranteed. Beyond that, the power consumption of the turbo mode wasn’t specified either, so if the same processor went up to 30-50% higher than 65 W, there was no explicit number from Intel, aside from digging through specification sheets that sometimes weren’t even public, to get a number to help build cooling into the system. It also meant that reviews of hardware that were labeled as 125 W, but consumed 250W+ in turbo mode, weren’t able to accurately demonstrate the scope of the product without additional power monitoring. It got to a point where Intel’s power consumption under turbo became a bit of a meme, and enthusiasts got annoyed that Intel buried this information away.

That changes with Alder Lake. Intel is now acknowledging that its turbo mode does indeed have a power increase, and is providing that number alongside the regular set of numbers. To that end, the base ‘TDP’ number of previous generations is gone, and we get two numbers to talk about:

  • Processor Base Power (Base): Guaranteed Peak Power at Base Frequency
  • Maximum Turbo Power (Turbo): The Maximum Power at full turbo mode that is in spec
So for example, the Processor Base Power (Base) for the Core i9-12900K is set at 125 W. The Maximum Turbo Power is 241 W. This means that systems using this processor will be able to boost up to 241 W if the system is set up to do so, and that is within specification.


For the six processors being announced today, there’s also an added bonus. Under the previous regime, how long a processor could spend in that higher power mode was limited. Intel had a specification for this, which to be honest most motherboard manufacturers ignored anyway, because that length of time was only a guideline, not a rigid specification, and it didn’t break the warranty. Intel is now so confident in its turbo performance, that the new K processors have a default guideline of an unlimited turbo. It should be noted that when Intel launches the rest of the Alder Lake processors, this won’t always be the case.

For users who understand the former PL1/PL2 methodology, it still technically exists under the hood here, where Base is PL1 and Turbo is PL2, but Tau is effectively infinite for K processors.

So basically ADL is setup to be more inefficient!
 

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when in reality max turbo power applies at most for a minute if I'm not mistaken?
With Alder Lake PL1=PL2 and is sustained indefinitely

Edit: I suspect Intel did this to win Cinebench nT. With R23, they changed it so that the benchmark runs 10 minutes before taking results, at which point the CPU will be out of Turbo. There's A LOT of activity spikes in a normally used desktop PC, so that short Turbo boosts make perfect sense, just not for the benchmarks of most reviewers. Testing the benefits of E cores is also similarly difficult, I haven't come up with a good test yet, but am thinking about it in what little spare time I have

I've already emailed you but looks like you've been too busy to reply/address my concerns
Correct, as mentioned somewhere else, I've been benching non-stop for like two weeks now

For instance 12600K idles at more than 16W fewer than 5600X. 12900K is 21W "better" than 5950X:

not here. depends on the selected motherboards too, and possibly some settings
 
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This conclusion of great many reviews including here on TPU doesn't seem fair.
It is fair if all the products under review go through the exact same testing and review processes, and if any conclusions based on the reviewer's opinions are drawn, that those opinions/conclusions are developed and presented without bias.

You are correct when you say running games and apps don't fully load the CPU at all times. But that applies to every CPU - so it is a level playing field, thus fair.

If a reviewer only made conclusions based on the factors that made that sample look good, that reviewer would be a "marketing weenie" and not a true reviewer. The comparison would not be a fair comparison.

There's a reason Ford, Chevy, RAM, Nissan, and Toyota can all claim their 1/2 ton pickups are #1. It is because they all are #1 - just in different categories. One is best at towing, another at hauling, another at 0-60, another at 60-0, etc. etc. But if you listen only to the marketing hype, are you going to learn which pickup is best for you? Nope.

If the testing procedures are going to be changed to accommodate one specific CPU or family of CPUs, then the testing procedures need to be changed in the same manner for all CPUs in the same way. And that's fine, but then how do you compare the most current CPU with last year's models?
 
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With Alder Lake PL1=PL2 and is sustained indefinitely

I don't understand. What's the point of Base Power then, which is specified as 125W for 12900K?

Can you make it perfectly clear please because you make it sound as if the real power consumption for a fully loaded CPU stays at "Maximum Turbo Power" indefinitely. This makes no sense at all. Intel has never lied that much. They have twisted facts to look better, but so do many companies including AMD NVIDIA etc.
 

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Can you make it perfectly clear please because you make it sound as if the real power consumption for a fully loaded CPU stays at "Maximum Turbo Power" indefinitely. This makes no sense at all. Intel has never lied that much.
Just answered somewhere else
 
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It is fair if all the products under review go through the exact same testing and review processes, and if any conclusions based on the reviewer's opinions are drawn, that those opinions/conclusions are developed and presented without bias.
I'm talking solely about " Processor Base Power" which many reviewers have swept under the carpet as if ADL CPUs boost for hours while consuming Maximum Turbo Power before reaching Base Power if reaching it at all. This cannot be true. Absolute most cooling solutions on the market cannot even deal with CPUs dissipating 241W indefinitely. We're talking about major throttling and a lot lower than advertised performance.

Just answered somewhere else
This cannot be true, not that I don't trust you, but it just doesn't make any sense. I could understand if it were specific to your motherboard but if not, we are talking about serious misinformation. Could you ask other reviewers (I know you have close contacts) if that's indeed the case for everyone?

125W and 241W are two extremely different figures.
 

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I'm talking solely about " Processor Base Power" which many reviewers have swept under the carpet as if ADL CPUs boost for hours while consuming Maximum Turbo Power before reaching Base Power if reaching it at all. This cannot be true. Absolute most cooling solutions on the market cannot even deal with CPUs dissipating 241W indefinitely. We're talking about major throttling and a lot lower than advertised performance.


This cannot be true, not that I don't trust you, but it just doesn't make any sense. I could understand if it were specific to your motherboard but if not, we are talking about serious misinformation. Could you ask other reviewers (I know you have close contacts) if that's indeed the case for everyone?

125W and 241W are two extremely different figures.
 
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It's hard to understand anything from these two graphs. Which one of them is actual and relevant? The first one says ADL CPUs settle on Base Power eventually, the second one says they run at PL1/PL2 indefinitely.

What's the "default configuration"? Sorry, this is all utterly confusing. What if my cooler is not capable of dissipating 241W?

Intel's Ark doesn't make it clear either:

Base Power: The time-averaged power dissipation that the processor is validated to not exceed during manufacturing while executing an Intel-specified high complexity workload at Base Frequency and at the junction temperature as specified in the Datasheet for the SKU segment and configuration.

Maximum Turbo Power: The maximum sustained (>1s) power dissipation of the processor as limited by current and/or temperature controls. Instantaneous power may exceed Maximum Turbo Power for short durations (<=10ms). Note: Maximum Turbo Power is configurable by system vendor and can be system specific.

The fact that "Instantaneous power may exceed Maximum Turbo Power for short durations (<=10ms)" is even more scary. Should people reserve 300W or 400W for an ADL CPU alone? Only GPUs so far have had this "nice" feature, now we have to deal with CPUs as well?
 
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What if my cooler is not capable of dissipating 241W?

You get a new cooler or a different CPU.

I don't see anything groundbreaking new with these CPUs when it comes to power consumption. If your system cannot handle the heat output it will throttle like every other CPU would in that case.
 
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I wonder how many people will really choose which CPU to buy based on these power consumption specs? I sure won't. I do care (a little - but not much) about power consumption at idle. But I buy based on performance and the intended purpose of the computer.

All these specs are really going to do for me is help me decide which cooler to get (if no OEM is included) and the size of my PSU.

When enthusiasts are looking to buy their new 2nd childhood, over-compensating sports car, are they really going to look at fuel economy and horsepower? Or are they going to look at fastest times and top speeds?
 
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It's hard to understand anything from these two graphs. Which one of them is actual and relevant? The first one says ADL CPUs settle on Base Power eventually, the second one says they run at PL1/PL2 indefinitely.

What's the "default configuration"? Sorry, this is all utterly confusing. What if my cooler is not capable of dissipating 241W?
it reads UNLOCKED cpus . . locked parts will have the lower PL1 whereas the K skus will bypass PL1 for PL2 unless you change the default settings - for whatever reason.

imma a caveman and i understand that.
 
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it reads UNLOCKED cpus . . locked parts will have the lower PL1 whereas the K skus will bypass PL1 for PL2 unless you change the default settings - for whatever reason.

imma a caveman and i understand that.
Erm, do you have a source for that? I like your hypothesis except ... why does Intel specify Base Power at all which, according to you, applies only to locked SKUs?

@W1zzard

BTW AVX-512 is there and can be unlocked as long as you're willing to sacrifice your E-cores. The performance is outrageous:



8 cores vs 16 cores and more than 3 times faster.
 
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Erm, do you have a source for that? I like your hypothesis except ... why does Intel specify Base Power at all which, according to you, applies only to locked SKUs?
the source is several preview/review articles; unless your fingers are broke, use google. im not going to adversarially spoon feed you.

E:
from that anandtech article you used that bench from:

There is usually a weighted time factor that limits how long a processor can remain in its Turbo state for slowly reeling back, but for the K processors Intel has made that time factor effectively infinite – with the right cooling, these processors should be able to use their Turbo power all day, all week, and all year.

take that hypotheses. :shadedshu:
 
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BTW AVX-512 is there and can be unlocked as long as you're willing to sacrifice your E-cores. The performance is outrageous:
No it isn't, Intel doesn't officially support it ~
View attachment 223669
Also for some reason you glossed over this entire part :wtf:

Intel Disabled AVX-512, but Not Really​

One of the more interesting disclosures about Alder Lake earlier this year is that the processor would not have Intel’s latest 512-bit vector extensions, AVX-512, despite the company making a big song and dance about how it was working with software developers to optimize for it, why it was in their laptop chips, and how no transistor should be left behind. One of the issues was that the processor, inside the silicon, actually did have the AVX-512 unit there. We were told as part of the extra Architecture Day Q&A that it would be fused off, and the plan was for all Alder Lake CPUs to have it fused off.

Part of the issue of AVX-512 support on Alder Lake was that only the P-cores have the feature in the design, and the E-cores do not. One of the downsides of most operating system design is that when a new program starts, there’s no way to accurately determine which core it will be placed on, or if the code will take a path that includes AVX-512. So if, naively, AVX-512 code was run on a processor that did not understand it, like an E-core, it would cause a critical error, which could cause the system to crash. Experts in the area have pointed out that technically the chip could be designed to catch the error and hand off the thread to the right core, but Intel hasn’t done this here as it adds complexity. By disabling AVX-512 in Alder Lake, it means that both the P-cores and the E-cores have a unified common instruction set, and they can both run all software supported on either.

There was a thought that if Intel were to release a version of Alder Lake with P-cores only, or if a system had all the P-cores disabled, there might be an option to have AVX-512. Intel shot down that concept almost immediately, saying very succinctly that no Alder Lake CPU would support AVX-512.

Nonetheless, we test to see if it is actually fused off.

On my first system, the MSI motherboard, I could easily disable the E-cores. That was no problem, just adjust the BIOS to zero E-cores. However this wasn’t sufficient, as AVX-512 was still clearly not detected.

On a second system, an ASUS motherboard, there was some funny option in the BIOS.


Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. There’s an option, right there, front and centre for AVX-512. So we disable the E-cores and enable this option. We have AVX-512 support.

For those that have some insight into AVX-512 might be aware that there are a couple of dozen different versions/add-ons of AVX-512. We confirmed that the P-cores in Alder Lake have:

  • AVX512-F / F_X64
  • AVX512-DQ / DQ_X64
  • AVX512-CD
  • AVX512-BW / BW_X64
  • AVX512-VL / VLBW / VLDQ / VL_IFMA / VL_VBMI / VL_VNNI
  • AVX512_VNNI
  • AVX512_VBMI / VBMI2
  • AVX512_IFMA
  • AVX512_BITALG
  • AVX512_VAES
  • AVX512_VPCLMULQDQ
  • AVX512_GFNI
  • AVX512_BF16
  • AVX512_VP2INTERSECT
  • AVX512_FP16
This is, essentially, the full Sapphire Rapids AVX-512 support. That makes sense, given that this is the same core that’s meant to be in Sapphire Rapids (albeit with cache changes). The core also supports dual AVX-512 ports, as we’re detecting a throughput of 2 per cycle on 512-bit add/subtracts.

For performance, I’m using our trusty 3DPMAVX benchmark here, and compared to the previous generation Rocket Lake (which did have AVX-512), the score increases by a few percent in a scenario which isn’t DRAM limited.

(2-2) 3D Particle Movement v2.1 (Peak AVX)

Now back in that Rocket Lake review, we noted that the highest power consumption observed for the chip was during AVX-512 operation. At that time, our testing showcased a big +50W jump between AVX2 and AVX-512 workloads. This time around however, Intel has managed to adjust the power requirements for AVX-512, and in our testing they were very reasonable:


In this graph, we’re showing each of the 3DPM algorithms running for 20 seconds, then idling for 10 seconds. Each one has a different intensity of AVX-512, hence why the power is up and down. IN each instance, the CPU used an all-core turbo frequency of 4.9 GHz, in line with non-AVX code, and our peak power observed is actually 233 W, well below the 241 W rated for processor turbo.

Why?​

So the question then refocuses back on Intel. Why was AVX-512 support for Alder Lake dropped, and why were we told that it is fused off, when clearly it isn’t?

Based on a variety of conversations with individuals I won’t name, it appears that the plan to have AVX-512 in Alder Lake was there from the beginning. It was working on early silicon, even as far as ES1/ES2 silicon, and was enabled in the firmware. Then for whatever reason, someone decided to remove that support from Intel’s Plan of Record (POR, the features list of the product).

By removing it from the POR, this means that the feature did not have to be validated for retail, which partly speeds up the binning and testing/validation process. As far as I understand it, the engineers working on the feature were livid. While all their hard work would be put to use on Sapphire Rapids, it still meant that Alder Lake would drop the feature and those that wanted to prepare for Alder Lake would have to remain on simulated support. Not only that, as we’ve seen since Architecture Day, it’s been a bit of a marketing headache. Whoever initiated that dropped support clearly didn’t think of how that messaging was going to down, or how they were going to spin it into a positive. For the record, removing support isn’t a positive, especially given how much hullaballoo it seems to have caused.

We’ve done some extensive research on what Intel has done in order to ‘disable’ AVX-512. It looks like that in the base firmware that Intel creates, there is an option to enable/disable the unit, as there probably is for a lot of other features. Intel then hands this base firmware to the vendors and they adjust it how they wish. As far as we understand, when the decision to drop AVX-512 from the POR was made, the option to enable/disable AVX-512 was obfuscated in the base firmware. The idea is that the motherboard vendors wouldn’t be able to change the option unless they specifically knew how to – the standard hook to change that option was gone.

However, some motherboard vendors have figured it out. In our discoveries, we have learned that this works on ASUS, GIGABYTE, and ASRock motherboards, however MSI motherboards do not have this option. It’s worth noting that all the motherboard vendors likely designed all of their boards on the premise that AVX-512 and its high current draw needs would be there, so when Intel cut it, it meant perhaps that some boards were over-engineered with a higher cost than needed. I bet a few weren’t happy.

But AVX-512 is enabled, and we are now in a state of limbo on this. Clearly the unit isn’t fused off, it’s just been hidden. Some engineers are annoyed, but other smart engineers at the motherboard vendors figured it out. So what does Intel do from here?

First, Intel could put the hammer down and execute a scorched earth policy. Completely strip out the firmware for AVX-512, and dictate that future BIOS/UEFI releases on all motherboards going forward cannot have this option, lest the motherboard manufacturer face some sort of wrath / decrease in marketing discretionary funds / support. Any future CPUs coming out of the factory would actually have the unit fused out, rather than simply turned off.

Second, Intel could lift the lid, acknowledge that someone made an error, and state that they’re prepared to properly support it in future consumer chips with proper validation when in a P-core only mode. This includes the upcoming P-core only chips next year.

Third, treat it like overclocking. It is what it is, your mileage may vary, no guarantee of performance consistency, and any errata generated will not be fixed in future revisions.

As I’ve mentioned, apparently this decision didn’t go down to well. I’m still trying to find the name of the person/people who made this decision, and get their side of the story as to technically why this decision was made. We were told that ‘No Transistor Left Behind’, except these ones in that person’s mind, clearly.
Intel will likely strip this option out from BIOS like they did multiple times by blocking non-Z overclocking on other boards!
 
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the source is several preview/review articles; unless your fingers are broke, use google. im not going to adversarially spoon feed you.

E:
from that anandtech article you used that bench from:

take that hypotheses. :shadedshu:
Thank you! Haven't had the time to read Anandtech review yet. I hope a class action lawsuit will follow.

I don't know why you're fretting over, I'm just trying to dig the truth up. I hate companies lying to the public.
 
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I hope a class action lawsuit will follow. I don't know why you're fretting over, I'm just trying to dig the truth up. I hate companies lying to the public.
law suite for what - publicly changing their philosophy? :laugh:
i am far from fretting. i don't know what your problem is, getting to the truth? well, it's right in front of you.

seems you just want to stir the pot for whatever.

good luck w/that.
 
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At 125W 12900K is quite competitive though it's beaten by 5950X at just 88W. Looks like Intel wanted to achieve maximum performance at any cost :-( Let's see what Meteor Lake will bring.

p_vs_e.png


Here's in-depth coverage from computerbase.de.

Neither in Cyberpunk 2077 nor in Doom Eternal, which ran in 720p with maximum details including ray tracing in order to maximize the CPU load, there were clock or performance losses due to the limitation of the Core i9 to a hard 125 watts. In Cyberpunk 2077 this was only the case at 88 watts upper limit, in Doom Eternal even at 65 watts. The benchmarks were carried out with a GeForce RTX 3080 Ventus 8G from MSI.

125w.png


You can safely run the CPU at 125W power limit and lose almost nothing in terms of game performance.

And it's not even necessary for gaming:

gaming tdp.png


Thanks to computerbase.de for a proper review. Haven't seen it anywhere else.
 
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The biggest disappointment is the DDR4 vs DDR5 bench at computerbase.

It kinda proves that that the first gen is always a toss... Not mature enough to invest into it.
 
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The biggest disappointment is the DDR4 vs DDR5 bench at computerbase.

It kinda proves that that the first gen is always a toss... Not mature enough to invest into it.

As far as I can see DDR5-6200 proves to be the fastest and most expensive at that. Considering the price of a CPU + motherboard + DDR5 - it's a platform for absolute enthusiasts willing to run Windows 11.

ddr4v5.png

@W1zzard there's no need to run any additional tests. ComputerBase.de review has answered all my questions.
 
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At 125W 12900K is quite competitive though it's beaten by 5950X at just 88W. Looks like Intel wanted to achieve maximum performance at any cost :-( Let's see what Meteor Lake will bring.

View attachment 223689

Here's in-depth coverage from computerbase.de.



View attachment 223691

You can safely run the CPU at 125W power limit and lose almost nothing in terms of game performance.

And it's not even necessary for gaming:

View attachment 223693

Thanks to computerbase.de for a proper review. Haven't seen it anywhere else.
sorry but we already had an expert in w1zard , cry us a river or go get a non K, or just game and nothing else, do as intel bADE YOU.

THE STOCK SETTIINGS FOR A K CPU = BOOST, OR MANUAL OC, NOT MAX ECO BOOST???

jeeeebs this release has brought em out.
 
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It's 10nm still... I mean I know they're calling it 7 or whatever but it's a 10nm lithography, not going to be as power efficient as zen 3 at 7nm. But honestly an amazing step forward in performance either way.
 
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I wonder how many people will really choose which CPU to buy based on these power consumption specs? I sure won't. I do care (a little - but not much) about power consumption at idle. But I buy based on performance and the intended purpose of the computer.

All these specs are really going to do for me is help me decide which cooler to get (if no OEM is included) and the size of my PSU.

When enthusiasts are looking to buy their new 2nd childhood, over-compensating sports car, are they really going to look at fuel economy and horsepower? Or are they going to look at fastest times and top speeds?
This is what you hear today, when Intel can't engineer for shit and when their flagship isn't 77W chip anymore. Rationalization at its finest.

It's 10nm still... I mean I know they're calling it 7 or whatever but it's a 10nm lithography, not going to be as power efficient as zen 3 at 7nm. But honestly an amazing step forward in performance either way.
They are not really "7nm" or "10nm".
 
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