Alder Lake mobile SKU stack to feature new U28 and H55 offerings in addition to four other TDP segments, Alder Lake-S will also be offered as a BGA package at 55 W
It is already well-known by now that the upcoming Intel Alder Lake will employ high performing Golden Cove (GLC) and power-efficient Gracemont (GRT) cores along with Xe graphics. We've already seen several leaks of Alder Lake processors in the wild. Now, we are getting to know information about the actual mobile SKUs that Intel may have in the pipeline.
This information comes via @9550pro on Twitter. According to the leaker, Alder Lake-S will be available for both mobile and desktop. We had exclusively reported on the availability of a BGA socket Alder Lake SKU last year, and this leak appears to confirm the same. The mobile Alder Lake-S H55 will use a BGA1964 socket and will be configured in a 45-55 W TDP range.
Essentially, the Alder Lake mobile stack will be spread across M, P, and S-BGA packages.
The M package offers the M5 and U9 segments. M5 is aimed at tablets and offers a PL1/PL2 between 5 W and 7 W whereas U9 is geared towards ultra thin devices with a 9 W to 15 W range.
- M5 (5-7 W): Core i3 1C GLC + 4C GRT + 48 EU Xe | Core i5 1C GLC + 4C GRT + 64 EU Xe
- U9 (9-15 W): Core i3 2C GLC + 4C GRT + 80 EU Xe | Core i5 2C GLC + 8C GRT + 96 EU Xe | Core i7 2C GLC + 8C GRT + 96 EU Xe.
It is not exactly clear how Intel plans to differentiate between the Core i5 and Core i7 in the U9 segment. It could be that the Core i5 would be capped at a lower TDP range, thereby implying lower clocks compared to the Core i7. M5 is likely to replace the now phased-out Lakefield lineup.
The P package offers U15 (mainstream thin and light), U28 (performance thin and light), and H45 (thin enthusiast) segments. Traditionally, U-series chips were configurable between 12 W to 28 W. However, with Alder Lake, Intel looks to be bifurcating the U-series into U15 and a new U28 lineup.
- U15 (12-15-20 W): Core i3 2C GLC + 4C GRT + 80 EU Xe | Core i5 2C GLC + 8C GRT + 96 EU Xe | Core i7 2C GLC + 8C GRT + 96 EU Xe
- U28 (20-28W): Core i5 4C GLC + 8C GRT + 96 EU Xe | Core i7 4C GLC + 8C GRT + 96 EU Xe | Core i9 6C GLC + 8C GRT + 96 EU Xe
- H45 (35-45W): Core i5 4C GLC + 8C GRT + 96 EU Xe | Core i7 6C GLC + 8C GRT + 96 EU Xe | Core i9 6C GLC + 8C GRT + 96 EU Xe
The P series sees the introduction of the Core i9 variant. As far as 45 W enthusiast laptops go, Alder Lake will be capped at six Golden Cove cores.
Finally, we have the S-BGA package that debuts the new H55 range. Intel apparently calls this the "Muscle" segment and allows configuration up to 55 W.
- H55 (45-55W): Core i7 8C GLC + 8C GRT + 32 EU Xe | Core i9 8C GLC + 8C GRT + 32 EU Xe
H55 offers lesser Xe EUs since these laptops will definitely offer discrete GPU options. H55 will also feature an unlocked multiplier, so there should be enough overclocking headroom given the higher power targets.
@9550pro also revealed the socket types for each packaging. Alder Lake-M will use BGA1781 with a low Z-height. Alder Lake-P leverages the BGA1744 socket with lesser number of pins than Alder Lake-M while Alder Lake-S makes use of BGA1964 socket. The desktop Alder Lake-S will be based on an LGA1700 socket format. Save for Alder Lake-M, all the other Alder Lake packages use an interposer to connect the SoC and the chipset.
It will be interesting to see how Alder Lake's heterogeneous ISA will perform in real-world testing. The Golden Cove cores are already speculated to offer anywhere between 20% and 25% IPC improvements over Willow Cove.
Using multiple small cores in place of one big core should theoretically yield good performance-per-watt figures. Microsoft started improving the Windows scheduler to cater to Lakefield processors, so Alder Lake may very well benefit from the supposed scheduling improvements coming to Windows 11.
The exact launch dates for Alder Lake are not yet clear, but we expect Intel to first announce the S-series for desktop and mobile later this year followed by other mobile variants during CES 2022.