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Intel "Meteor Lake" 2P+8E Silicon Annotated

Le Comptoir du Hardware scored a die-shot of a 2P+8E core variant of the "Meteor Lake" compute tile, and Locuza annotated it. "Meteor Lake" will be Intel's first processor to implement the company's IDM 2.0 strategy to the fullest. The processor is a multi-chip module of various tiles (chiplets), each with a certain function, sitting on die made on a silicon fabrication node most suitable to that function. Under this strategy, for example, if Intel's chip-designers calculate that the iGPU will be the most power-hungry component on the processor, followed by the CPU cores, the graphics tile will be built on a more advanced process than the compute tile. Intel's "Meteor Lake" and "Arrow Lake" processors will implement chiplets built on the Intel 4, TSMC N3, and Intel 20A fabrication nodes, each with unique power and transistor-density characteristics. Learn more about the "Meteor Lake" MCM in our older article.

The 2P+8E (2 performance cores + 8 efficiency cores) compute tile is one among many variants of compute tiles Intel will develop for the various SKUs making up the next-generation Core mobile processor series. The die is annotated with the two large "Redwood Cove" P-cores and their cache slices taking up about 35% of the die area; and the two "Crestmount" E-core clusters (each with 4 E-cores), and their cache slices, taking up the rest. The two P-cores and two E-core clusters are interconnected by a Ring Bus, and share an L3 cache. The size of each L3 cache slice is either 2.5 MB or 3 MB. At 2.5 MB, the total L3 cache will be 10 MB, and at 3 MB, it will be 12 MB. As with all past generations, the L3 cache is fully accessible by all CPU cores in the compute tile.

Intel Planning a Return to HEDT with "Alder Lake-X"?

Enthused with its IPC leadership, Intel is possibly planning a return to the high-end desktop (HEDT) market segment, with the "Alder Lake-X" line of processors, according to a Tom's Hardware report citing a curious-looking addition to an AIDA64 beta change-log. The exact nature of "Alder Lake-X" (ADL-X) still remains a mystery—one theory holds that ADL-X could be a consumer variant of the "Sapphire Rapids" microarchitecture, much like how the 10th Gen Core "Cascade Lake-X" was to "Cascade Lake," a server processor microarchitecture. Given that Intel is calling it "Alder Lake-X" and not "Sapphire Rapids-X," it could even be a whole new client-specific silicon. What's the difference between the two? It's all in the cores.

While both "Alder Lake" and "Sapphire Rapids" come with "Golden Cove" performance cores (P-cores), they use variants of it. Alder Lake has the client-specific variant with 1.25 MB L2 cache, a lighter client-relevant ISA, and other optimizations that enable it to run at higher clock speeds. Sapphire Rapids, on the other hand, will use a server-specific variant of "Golden Cove" that's optimized for the Mesh interconnect, has 2 MB of L2 cache, a server/HPC-relevant ISA, and a propensity to run at lower clock speeds, to support the silicon's overall TDP and high CPU core-count.

Intel Advancing 13th Gen Core "Raptor Lake-S" Launch to Q3-2022?

Intel is allegedly advancing the launch of its 13th Gen Core "Raptor Lake-S" desktop processors to some time in Q3-2022, according to a report by Moore's Law is Dead. It was earlier believed to be a Q4 launch, much like "Alder Lake" was, in 2021. The report predicts the debut of "Raptor Lake" in the desktop segment in Q3-2022 (between July and September), with certain mobile SKUs expected toward the end of the year, in Q4. The Core "Raptor Lake-S" processor is built in the existing Socket LGA1700 package, and is being designed for compatibility with existing Intel 600-series chipset motherboards with a firmware update.

The "Raptor Lake-S" silicon is built on the existing Intel 7 (10 nm Enhanced SuperFin) node, and physically features eight "Raptor Cove" P-cores, along with sixteen "Gracemont" E-cores that are spread across four clusters. The chip has additional cache memory, too. Moore's Law is Dead predicts that the "Raptor Cove" P-core could introduce an IPC uplift in the region of 8 to 15 percent over the "Golden Cove" core, while the chip's overall multi-threaded performance could be anywhere between 30 to 40 percent over "Alder Lake-S," on account of not just increased IPC of the P-cores, but also eight additional E-cores.

Intel "Sapphire Rapids" Xeon 4-tile MCM Annotated

Intel Xeon Scalable "Sapphire Rapids" is an upcoming enterprise processor with a CPU core count of up to 60. This core-count is achieved using four dies inter-connected using EMIB. Locuza, who leads social media with logic die annotation, posted one for "Sapphire Rapids," based on a high-resolution die-shot revealed by Intel in its ISSCC 2022 presentation.

Each of the four dies in "Sapphire Rapids" is a fully-fledged multi-core processor in its own right, complete with CPU cores, integrated northbridge, memory and PCIe interfaces, and other platform I/O. What brings four of these together is the use of five EMIB bridges per die. This allows CPU cores of a die to transparantly access the I/O and memory controlled any of the other dies transparently. Logically, "Sapphire Rapids" isn't unlike AMD "Naples," which uses IFOP (Infinity Fabric over package) to inter-connect four 8-core "Zeppelin" dies, but the effort here appears to be to minimize the latency arising from an on-package interconnect, toward a high-bandwidth, low-latency one that uses silicon bridges with high-density microscopic wiring between them (akin to an interposer).

Intel "Raptor Lake" Rumored to Feature Massive Cache Size Increases

Large on-die caches are expected to be a major contributor to IPC and gaming performance. The upcoming AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D processor triples its on-die last-level cache using the 3D Vertical Cache technology, to level up to Intel's "Alder Lake-S" processors in gaming, while using the existing "Zen 3" IP. Intel realizes this, and is planning a massive increase in on-die cache sizes, although spread across the cache hierarchy. The next-generation "Raptor Lake-S" desktop processor the company plans to launch in the second half of 2022 is rumored to feature 68 MB of "total cache" (that's AMD lingo for L2 + L3 caches), according to a highly plausible theory by PC enthusiast OneRaichu on Twitter, and illustrated by Olrak29_.

The "Raptor Lake-S" silicon is expected to feature eight "Raptor Cove" P-cores, and four "Gracemont" E-core clusters (each cluster amounts to four cores). The "Raptor Cove" core is expected to feature 2 MB of dedicated L2 cache, an increase over the 1.25 MB L2 cache per "Golden Cove" P-core of "Alder Lake-S." In a "Gracemont" E-core cluster, four CPU cores share an L2 cache. Intel is looking to double this E-core cluster L2 cache size from 2 MB per cluster on "Alder Lake," to 4 MB per cluster. The shared L3 cache increases from 30 MB on "Alder Lake-S" (C0 silicon), to 36 MB on "Raptor Lake-S." The L2 + L3 caches hence add up to 68 MB. All eyes are now on "Zen 4," and whether AMD gives the L2 caches an increase from the 512 KB per-core size that it's consistently maintained since the first "Zen."

Intel Core i9-12900HK Beats AMD Threadripper 1950X at Cinebench R20

Armed with 6 "Golden Cove" P-cores, 8 "Gracemont" E-cores, high clock speeds, and clever enough power-management to fit inside a "halo-class" notebook, the new Intel Core i9-12900HK "Alder Lake" offers multi-threaded performance riving HEDT processors, beating AMD's first-gen Ryzen Threadripper 1950X 16-core/32-thread processor, according to an early performance review by Lab501. The 14-core/20-thread processor scores 6741 points, compared to the reference score of 6670 points for the 1950X. The processor ends up roughly 16.8% faster than the previous-generation i9-11980HK that's based on the 8-core/16-thread "Tiger Lake-H" silicon. Stress tests show that the chip can sustain boost frequencies of nearly 4.99 GHz on the P-cores, with 113 W package power draw, and core temperatures of 99°C.

Curious-looking Core i5-12490F Surfaces in China with Additional L3 Cache

Intel released the substantive portion of its 12th Generation Core, Pentium, and Celeron desktop processors to the retail market, based on the latest "Alder Lake" architecture. The part that's making the most waves is the Core i5-12400, a 6-core/12-thread part that only features "Golden Cove" P-cores (no E-cores or the software-optimization issues they bring). The i5-12400/F, i5-12500, and i5-12600, are based on the "H0" die of "Alder Lake-S," which physically only features six "Golden Cove" P-cores, no "Gracemont" E-core clusters, and only has 18 MB of L3 cache. The larger "C0" die is used across the i5-12600K, Core i7 and Core i9 chips, physically has 8 "Golden Cove" P-cores, 8 "Gracemont" E-cores across two E-core clusters, and 30 MB of L3 cache. It's important to lay out this piece of information to understand what Intel did with the new Core i5-12490F processor that's spotted in markets across Asia.

Apparently Intel is sitting on a pile of "C0" dies, and decided to create the i5-12490F. This chip has 6 "Golden Cove" P-cores, no E-cores, but 20 MB of L3 cache; and is based on a heavily cut-down "C0" silicon. As an "F" SKU, it also disables the iGPU on the silicon. The clocks set are 3.00 GHz nominal, and 4.60 GHz boost, compared to 2.50 GHz nominal, and 4.40 GHz boost of the i5-12400/F, and identical clock speeds to the i5-12500. It's quite puzzling how the "H0" based i5-12500 is differentiated from this chip, given its lower 18 MB L3 cache amount. The base power value is set at 65 W, with maximum turbo power at 117 W. The i5-12490F can hence be simulated using an i5-12600K.

Intel Core i5-12400F Starts Selling in Peru

Ahead of its early-January announcement, sales of "locked" Intel 12th Gen Core "Alder Lake" processors have started in Peru, with the Core i5-12400F reportedly selling for the equivalent of USD $222. Assuming it has a similar pricing to its predecessor, the i5-11400F, the i5-12400F should have a pre-tax price of around $180, about $15 less than the i5-12400. The retail package is a simple paperboard fare. Inside, you'll get one of Intel's new Laminar RM1 stock coolers.

The i5-12400F is expected to be a 6-core/12-thread processor that only features six "Golden Cove" P-cores, and no "Gracemont" E-core clusters. The CPU cores tick at a boost frequency of 4.40 GHz. These cores are paired with 18 MB of shared L3 cache, and the same I/O as the i5-12600K. As an "F" SKU, this chip lacks integrated graphics. The processor base power of these chips is rated at 65 W, with 117 W maximum turbo power. Intel is expected to launch these alongside the value-ended B660 and H610 chipsets in January.

Intel Core i5-12400 Early Review Dubs it a Game Changer

The upcoming Intel Core i5-12400 processor could be a game changer in the mid-range, according to an early gaming performance review by Igor's Lab, which landed simulated the chip by disabling the E-cores, and setting the right clock speeds and power values. Based on the smaller H0 silicon of "Alder Lake-S," which physically only features six "Golden Cove" CPU cores, and no "Gracemont" E-core clusters, the i5-12400 ticks at 2.50 GHz, and 4.40 GHz boost frequency, with 65 W base power, and 117 W maximum turbo power (MTP).

Testing reveals that this MTP value lends the processor some stellar energy-efficiency numbers, and the chip strikes a performance/Watt sweetspot. Igor's Lab, however, recommends that for the best efficiency, the i5-12400 should be paired with DDR4 memory. In its testing, DDR4-3733 (with Gear 1) was used. Gaming benchmarks put out by Igor's Lab shows that the Core i5-12400 trades blows with the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X "Zen 3" in a number of games, beating it in several of them by virtue of higher IPC of the "Golden Cove" cores, and beating the i7-11700K "Rocket Lake" 8-core/16-thread processor at a fraction of its power-draw. A word of caution, though, is that the i5-12400 was simulated on a C0 silicon, possibly the i9-12900K, and the real i5-12400 die may not have the same refinements or electrical characteristics. Even with the E-core cluster disabled, the L3 cache size isn't the same (30 MB vs. 18 MB). Catch the review in the source link below.

Intel Core i3-12100F & i5-12400F Surface Without Efficiency Cores

The first 65 W Alder Lake desktop processors have recently surfaced including the i3-12100F, i5-12400F, and i7-12700F which are expected to launch in January. The i3-12100F and i5-12400F are expected to be the first Alder Lake-S processors without any Gracemont high-efficiency cores instead of relying solely on Golden Cove high-performance cores. The i3-12100F will feature 4 cores and 8 threads with a max boost speed of 4.3 GHz while the i5-12400F will include 6 cores and 12 threads running at a max clock speed of 4.4 GHz.

The i7-12700F will feature the same core configuration as the i7-12700KF just with lower clock speeds and a reduced TDP of 65 W compared to 125 W. The packaging for these three processors along with marketing materials have been leaked revealing that the retail versions will include the Laminar RM1 stock cooler. These new Alder Lake CPUs along with various other models are expected to launch sometime in January after CES 2022.

Intel's Entry-level Core i3-12100 "Alder Lake" Beats Ryzen 3 3300X Comfortably

Intel's next entry-level processor for the Socket LGA1700 platform is the Core i3-12100. Carved out of the "Alder Lake-S" H0 silicon, this processor features 4 "Golden Cove" performance cores with HyperThreading enabling 8 logical processors, and no E-cores. The processor ticks at 3.30 GHz, with 4.30 GHz Turbo Boost 2.0 frequency. Each of the four cores has 1.25 MB of L2 cache, and they share 12 MB of L3 cache. The i3-12100 gets a Gen12 Xe LP-based iGPU, while a variant of the processor, the i3-12100F, lacks integrated graphics. Intel is rating the processor base power value at 60 W, with 77 W maximum turbo power.

XFastest scored an i3-12100 engineering sample, and wasted no time in comparing it with the Ryzen 3 3300X. The i3-12100 was tested on an ASRock Z690 Steel Legend motherboard that has DDR4 memory slots. 16 GB of dual-channel DDR4-3600 memory and RTX 3060 Ti were used on both the Intel and AMD test-beds. A Ryzen 3 3100 was also used on the AMD side. Right off the bat, we see the i3-12100 take a significant lead over the AMD chips at PCMark, posting a roughly 15% performance lead. Cinebench R23 is another test where the little "Alder Lake" scores big, posting a roughly 26% performance lead in the multi-threaded test, and 27% in the single-threaded test. This is mainly because the 3300X is based on "Zen 2" while the i3-12100 uses the cutting-edge "Golden Cove" cores. AMD hasn't bothered with "Zen 3" based Ryzen 3 desktop processors in the retail market.

PlayStation 3 Emulator Delivers Modest Speed-Ups with Disabled E-Cores on Intel Alder Lake Processors

According to some testing performed by the team behind RPCS3, a free and open-source emulation software for Sony's PlayStation 3, Intel's Alder Lake processors are enjoying a hefty performance boost when E-Cores is disabled. First of all, the Alder Lake processors feature a hybrid configuration with high-performance P-cores and low-power E-cores. The P-cores are based on Golden Cove architecture and can execute AVX-512 instructions with ease. However, the AVX-512 boost is only applicable when E-cores are disabled as software looks at the whole package. Officially, Alder Lake processors don't support AVX-512, as the processor's little E-cores cannot execute AVX-512 instruction.

Thanks to the team behind the RPCS3 emulator, we have some information and tests that suggest that turning E-cores off gives a performance boost to the emulation speed and game FPS. With E-Cores disabled, and only P-cores left, the processor can execute AVX-512 and gets a higher ring ratio. This means that latency in the ring bus is presumably lower. The team benchmarked Intel Core i9-12900K, and Core i9-11900K processors clocked at 5.2 GHz for tests. The Alder Lake chip had disabled E-cores. In God of War: Ascension, the Rocket Lake processor produced 68 FPS, while Alder Lake produced 78 FPS, representing around 15% improvement.

GIGABYTE Releases DRM Fix Tool for Intel Alder Lake Processors to Dynamically Park and Unpark E-Cores

With Intel's Alder Lake processors released, the company introduced a rather interesting concept of mixing high-performance and high-efficiency cores into one design. This hybrid approach combines performance P-cores based on Golden Cove architecture with high-efficiency E-cores based on Gracemont design. While Intel dedicated a lot of effort to optimizing software for Alder Lake, there are sometimes issues that persist when playing older games. At the heart of ADL processors, a thread scheduler decides which task is running on P or E-cores and ensures the best core gets selected for the job.

However, many users know that E-cores can be recognized as another system by DRM software and cause troubles on the latest 12th Generation machines. GIGABYTE has designed a software tool for its Z690 motherboards to fix this issue, which allows on-demand enablement of E-cores. Users can easily "park" or "unpark" E-cores and enable some older game titles to run efficiently with the help of P-cores. This DRM Fix Tool is a lightweight utility that unfortunately runs exclusively on GIGABYTE motherboards. It is less than a megabyte in size and requires no particular installation. However, it is an excellent addition to GIGABYTE's customers, and all that it needs is the latest BIOS update to run. Here you can download the tool, and below, you can see the list of the latest BIOS versions of GIGABYTE Z690 motherboards that support this tool.

Intel's Sapphire Rapids Xeons to Feature up to 64 GB of HBM2e Memory

During the Supercomputing (SC) 21 event, Intel has disclosed additional information regarding the company's upcoming Xeon server processor lineup, codenamed Sapphire Rapids. One of the central areas of improvement for the new processor generation is the core architecture based on Golden Cove, the same core found in Alder Lake processors for consumers. However, the only difference between the Golden Cove variant found in Alder Lake and Sapphire Rapids is the amount of L2 (level two) cache. With Alder Lake, Intel equipped each core with 1.25 MB of its L2 cache. However, with Sapphire Rapids, each core receives a 2 MB bank.

One of the most exciting things about the processors, confirmed by Intel today, is the inclusion of High-Bandwidth Memory (HBM). These processors operate with eight memory channels carrying DDR5 memory and offer PCIe Gen5 IO expansion. Intel has confirmed that Sapphire Rapids Xeons will feature up to 64 GB of HBM2E memory, including a few operating modes. The first is a simple HBM caching mode, where the HBM memory acts as a buffer for the installed DDR5. This method is transparent to software and allows easy usage. The second method is Flat Mode, which means that both DDR5 and HBM are used as contiguous address spaces. And finally, there exists an HBM-only mode that utilizes the HBM2E modules as the only system memory, and applications fit inside it. This has numerous benefits, primarily drawn from HBM's performance and reduced latency.

Intel Core i5-12400 Engineering Samples Surface on eBay, Riddled with Compatibility Issues

A rather big chunk of Intel Core i5-12400 "Alder Lake" engineering samples (ES) hit eBay. The i5-12400 is an upcoming mid-range processor Intel is planning to release in Q1-2022. The 6-core/12-thread processor only features 6 "Golden Cove" performance cores, and lacks Efficiency cores (which is probably a good thing for gamers). Each of the six cores has 1.25 MB of L2 cache, while they share an 18 MB L3 cache.

VideoCardz warns that the ES chips out in the wild could be riddled with compatibility issues with Z690 motherboards that are in the market. Apparently, there are two revisions of i5-12400 unreleased doing rounds, C0 and B0, with the former being a QS or qualification sample, and the latter an ES or engineering sample. The two differ in maximum boost frequency—4.40 GHz vs. 4.00 GHz. They also differ with S-SPEC codes of QXDY and QYHX. Even with production versions of firmware and Intel ME, retail Z690 motherboards don't seem to guarantee compatibility with these samples. You are probably better off waiting for retail versions of these chips.

Intel "Alder Lake-S" Comes in a 6+0 Core Die Variant

Intel's 12th Gen Core "Alder Lake-S" silicon apparently comes in two variants based on core count. The first one is a larger variant with 8 P cores and 8 E cores, while the second variant is a visibly smaller die with only 6 P cores, no E cores. This was revealed by an MSI Insider video presentation where pictures of LGA1700 packages with the two die types were shown off.

MSI also confirmed die-sizes and dimensions of the two. The larger C0 die measures 10.5 mm x 20.5 mm, working out to 215.25 mm² area. The smaller H0 die measures 10.5 mm x 15.5 mm, and a die area of 162.75 mm². The H0 silicon completely lacks "Gracemont" E-core clusters, and physically features six "Golden Cove" P cores. It's possible that given the 3 MB L3 slice size on the larger C0 silicon, the smaller H0 silicon physically features 18 MB of shared L3 cache.

Intel Core i5-12600K CPU-Z Scores Show 50% Higher Multi-Threaded Results Than i5-11600K

Intel's upcoming Alder Lake-S lineup of processors is shaping up to be a rather good generational improvement. With wonders of the Intel 7 process, previously called 10 nm Enhanced SuperFin (10ESF), the processor lineup will deliver new hybrid technology, mixing new big and small cores into one package. Today, some new CPU-Z validation tests have shown up for the Intel Core i5-12600K CPU, which directly replaces the previous Core i5-11600K Rocket Lake model. With six high-performance Golden Cove and four efficient Gracemont cores, the Core i5-12600K CPU is a ten-core design with 16 threads. And compared to the 6C/12T i5-12600K CPU, the performance is much higher.

According to CPU-Z scores, the new Alder Lake processor scored 7220 and 7156 points for a multi-threaded benchmark in two tests. Compare this to the previous-generation model, which scores 4731 points, and the new chip is almost 50% faster. According to CPU-Z, the new CPU achieved this while running at a boost frequency of 4.5 GHz to 4.7 GHz.

Intel Core i5-12400 Could be the Next Price-Performance King, Beats Ryzen 5 5600X in Leaked Benchmarks

Intel's upcoming Core i5-12400 "Alder Lake-S" processor could be an interesting piece of silicon. Apparently, not all 12th Gen Core i5 desktop chips have the same core-configuration. While the top Core i5-12600K is expected to have six "Golden Cove" P cores and four "Gracemont" E-cores, some of the lower variants, such as the i5-12400, will lack E cores, and be pure P core chips. In this case, the chip is 6-core/12-thread with just P cores; 1.25 MB of dedicated L2 cache per core, and 18 MB of shared L3 cache. You'll probably get all the next-gen I/O, including PCI-Express Gen 5 (PEG slot), a PCI-Express Gen 4 CPU-attached NVMe slot, and DDR5+DDR4 memory.

Given that the Core i5-11400 is a $190 part, even with a 10-15% price hike, the i5-12400 is expected to be under $220. The only drawbacks here are expected to be locked BClk multiplier, and rather low clock speeds of 4.00 GHz. A user on Chinese social media posted alleged Cinebench R20 results of the i5-12400. It scores 659 points in the single-threaded test, and 4784 points in the multi-threaded test. Wccftech tabulated this against known performance numbers of popular chips, and found that the i5-12400 might end up slightly ahead of the Ryzen 5 5600X, a currently-$300 part. The table also puts out leaked i9-12900K numbers, which indicate why AMD is rushing with "Zen 3+" with 3D Vertical Cache, instead of next-gen "Zen 4."

Intel Core i7-12700 Geekbenched, Matches Ryzen 7 5800X

Intel's upcoming Core i7-12700 (non-K) processor matches AMD's Ryzen 7 5800X in the Geekbench 5 benchmark. The i7-12700 is a locked 65 W TDP processor with 8 "Golden Cove" P-cores, and 4 "Gracemont" E-cores. 4 fewer E-cores, lower clocks, and lack of features such as Thermal Velocity Boost, is what differentiates the 12th Gen Core i7 from 12th Gen Core i9.

The Core i7-12700 allegedly scored 1595 points single-thread, along with 10170 points in the multi-threaded test. This puts it within 5% of the Ryzen 7 5800X in the single-threaded test (averaged from the Geekbench database), and within 2% in the multi-threaded. One has to consider that the i7-12700 lacks an unlocked multiplier, but should Intel 600-series chipset motherboards come with the same power-limit unlocks as the 400-series and 500-series; more performance can be squeezed out.

Intel Golden Cove P-Core Offers 19% IPC Gain Over Cypress Cove (Rocket Lake)

The 8 "Golden Cove" performance cores (P-cores) present on 12th Gen "Alder Lake-S" desktop processors offer an IPC gain of 19% over the "Cypress Cove" cores powering current 11th Gen "Rocket Lake-S" processors, claims Intel. This would put them at roughly 35% higher IPC than the "Skylake" cores that powered Intel client desktop processors until as recently as 2020, with the 10th Gen "Comet Lake." This 19% number, however, is presented as a geomean of performance improvement at iso-frequency, across a wide selection of tests that include SPEC CPU 2017, SYSmark 25, Crossmark, PCMark 10, WebXPRT3, and Geekbench 5.4.1.

The high IPC of the P-cores, coupled with the high rumored frequencies for the enthusiast i9-12900K part running well into 5.30 GHz or beyond, begins to explain how 8 of these "Golden Cove" cores, coupled with 8 fairly fast "Gracemont" cores, closes in on the 16-core AMD Ryzen 9 5950X at Cinebench R20.

Intel's Secret Sauce at Catching Up with AMD Core Count is the Gracemont E-core and its Mind-boggling Perf/Watt

When early benchmarks of the Core i9-12900K "Alder Lake-S" processor showing performance comparable to AMD's top 16-core Ryzen 9 5950X surfaced, we knew something was up. 8 Intel P-cores and 8 E-cores, are able to match 16 "Zen 3" cores that are all performance cores. Apparently Intel is able to turn its P-core deficit around by taking a wacky approach. First, the 8 "Golden Cove" P-cores themselves offer significantly higher IPC than "Zen 3." Second, the 8 "Gracemont" E-cores aren't as "slow" as conventional wisdom would suggest.

Intel in its Architecture Day presentation put out some astounding numbers that help support how 8 big + 8 little cores are able to perform in the league of 16 AMD big cores. Apparently, on "Alder Lake-S," the 8 "Gracemont" E-cores enjoy a lavish power budget, and are able to strike an incredible performance/Watt sweet-spot. Intel claims that the "Gracemont" E-core offers 40% higher performance at ISO power than a "Skylake" core (Intel's workhorse P-core for desktops until as recently as 2020); which means it consumes 40% less power at comparable performance.

Intel Core i9-12900K Allegedly Beats AMD Ryzen 9 5950X at Cinebench R20

With qualification samples of the upcoming Intel Core i9-12900K "Alder Lake-S" processors and companion Socket LGA1700 motherboards hitting the black-market, expect a deluge of benchmarks on social media. One such that stands out makes a fascinating claim that the i9-12900K beats AMD's current flagship Ryzen 9 5950X processor at Cinebench R20, which has been AMD's favorite multi-threaded benchmark. At stock speeds, with liquid cooling, the i9-12900K allegedly scores 810 points in the single-threaded test, and 11600 points in multi-threaded.

To put these numbers into perspective, a retail Ryzen 9 5950X scores 641 points in the single-threaded test, and 10234 points in multi-threaded, in our own testing. The i9-12900K is technically a 16-core processor, just like the 5950X, but half its cores are low-power "Gracemont." The "Alder Lake-S" chip appears to be making up ground on the single-threaded performance of the "Golden Cove" P-core, that's a whopping 25% higher than the "Zen 3" core on the 5950X. This is aided not just by higher IPC, but also the max boost frequency of 5.30 GHz for 1~2 cores, and 5.00 GHz "all-core" boost (for the P-cores).

Intel Core i9-12900K Qualification Samples Black-marketed for Roughly $1100

Qualification samples (QS) of Intel's upcoming Core i9-12900K "Alder Lake-S" desktop processors just hit the black market for the equivalent of roughly USD $1,064 to $1,157 (6,500 to 7,500 RMB), in China. The processor maxes out the 10 nm silicon, offering 8 "Golden Cove" P-cores, and 8 "Gracemont" E-cores, along with 30 MB of L3 cache, a dual-channel DDR5 memory interface, in a hybrid processor setup. You can bag yourself this QS, but you'll need to find a compatible motherboard. "Alder Lake-S" debuts the new LGA1700 socket, Intel's first major change in the physical dimensions of its mainstream-desktop CPU socket since 2009, mandating a cooler update.

Specs of Top Intel 12th Gen Core "Alder Lake-S" Processors Surface

Intel will debut its 12th Gen Core "Alder Lake-S" desktop processors either toward the end of 2021, or early 2022, introducing the LGA1700 socket, 600-series chipset, and more importantly, hybrid CPU core architecture to the desktop space. The 10 nm "Alder Lake-S" silicon features up to eight "Golden Cove" performance cores (P-cores), and up to eight "Gracemont" efficiency cores (E-cores), in a heterogenous CPU core setup rivaling Arm big.LITTLE. Specifications of the top Core i9, fairly-top Core i7, and mid-tier Core i5 parts were leaked to the web on Chinese social media.

The 12th Gen Core lineup will be led, predictably, by the Core i9-12900K, which succeeds the i9-11900K with a maxed out 8+8 (P+E) configuration, unlocked multipliers, the most cache, and the highest clock speeds. The P-cores ("Golden Cove" cores) are clocked up to 5.30 GHz (1-2 cores boost), and up to 5.00 GHz all-core / 8 cores; while the E-cores ("Gracemont" cores), are clocked up to 3.90 GHz (1-4 cores boost), with 3.70 GHz all-core / 8 cores boost. The total L3 cache on the silicon is 30 MB. The i9-12900K has a TDP of 125 W (PL1), with 228 W PL2. Intel will introduce several new overclocking features, including multiple memory gear ratios.

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.
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