Big leak reveals all the Intel Alder Lake desktop and laptop lineups plus new details on Raptor Lake and beyond
Sources close to Tom from Moore’s Law is Dead have provided a lot more details about the upcoming Intel Alder Lake desktop / mobile platforms releasing this fall. Furthermore, Tom is adding some interesting leaks for the Raptor Lake generation scheduled for 2022 and other successive generations.
Before getting into the product specifics, Tom notes that the Alder Lake processors will represent a great milestone for Intel, and the success of the company really depends on how this generation will be received, especially now that the new CEO Pat Gelsinger is trying to steer things in a new direction. Intel will only focus on multiple hybrid core architectures for all of its consumer-level processors releasing in the foreseeable future, so it is of utmost importance that the company gets mostly everything right with Alder Lake. Otherwise they will rush to include fixes for whatever scheduling problems may arise with Alder Lake in the Raptor Lake successor. Lakefield was essentially launched a year ago in order to allow Microsoft to start optimizing Windows for the big.LITTLE core design. These optimizations will be fully implemented in the new version of Windows that is expected to launch this October.
As far as performance goes, Alder Lake is supposed to be twice as fast as the current Rocket Lake models, and some mobile processors will even achieve this by requiring less power than the Tiger Lake models. Now, Tom already presented these claims in a previous video from some months ago, but Alder Lake’s “big” cores using Golden Cove architecture are bringing up to 20% increased single-thread performance over Tiger Lake, while the “little” cores based on the Gracemont architecture will behave as low-clocked Skylake core with improved instruction sets and disabled hyper-threading. Four little cores can be fitted in the same space of a big core, so this should improve the performance per die space and per Watt. The Alder Lake platform will introduce the LGA 1700 socket that should last for at least a few years. There is also support for DDR5 and the PCIe 5.0 standard will only be included for the full PCIe slots, not yet for the M.2 slots.
The Alder Lake family includes the following lineups:
- S1 (desktop and specialty mobile): 8 big cores (with HT) + 8 little cores (no HT) -> 24 threads
- S2 (desktop): 6 big cores + no little cores -> 12 threads
- P1 (mobile): 6 big + 8 little -> 20 threads
- P2 (mobile): 2 big + 8 little -> 12 threads
- M (ULV mobile): 2 big + 8 little with LPDDR5/4x support and only PCIe 4.0 instead of 5.0
- N (ULV): possibly 2 big + 2 little
The S1 lineup is scheduled to release October 25 2021 and will include the unlocked K-series desktop models that are differentiated into the usual i5 / i7 / i9 tiers with max 125 W TDP. The processors come with integrated UHD Xe graphics sporting 32 EUs, plus DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 support. The i9-K includes 8 big cores and 8 little cores, the i7-K 8 big with 4 little, and the i5-K gets 6 big + 4 little. Intel will launch an ADL-S A-series (non-overclockable) that combines S1 and S2 lineups. The i9 and i7 models of the A-series will get the same core counts as the K-series, but the i5 will only feature 6 big cores, and there will also be i3 models with only 4 big cores.
The mobile P lineup is expected to be announced post CES 2022. It will include 12-45 W TDP models with 96 EU integrated Xe graphics plus DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 support. The 45 W SKUs will top out at 6+8 cores and the 15 W SKUs will top out at 2+8 cores. There will also be some ADL-HX SKUs based on the S1 lineup launching in mid-2022 for enthusiast notebook gamers. These SKUs combine the desktop-class PCH and CPU dies into a smaller BGA SoC and will top out at 8+8 cores at 65 W max TDP. For ultra-low voltage mobile, Intel is preparing the M lineup to replace the Core M and Core Y current segments, with 7-12 W TDP, PCIe 4.0, LPDDR5/4x and 96 EU integrated Xe graphics.
Tom also drops some interesting leaks about the Raptor Lake successor slated for a Holiday 2022 and even the 2023 generation and beyond:
- The big core architecture is now referred to as Raptor Cove, which is essentially enhanced Golden Cove
- The IPC gains are not that big, but noticeable
- Keeps the same Gracemont little cores, but ups the count up to 16 cores (8+16 -> 32 threads)
- Improved DDR5 support (5600+)
- Positioned to go head to head with AMD’s Zen 4 Raphael
- The Meteor Lake generation coming in 2023, followed by Lunar Lake and beyond will bring exponentially increased IPCs and core counts over Alder Lake
Towards the end of the video, Tom includes some musings from his Intel insiders. Apparently, these people are mildly concerned about what AMD could achieve with the Zen 5 / 6 generations, but what gives Intel more pause right now is the rate at which Apple is catching up with the upcoming M processor that will include 32 big cores and 8 little cores capable of pushing massive IPC gains. Additionally, Nvidia might be looking to leverage some of Intel’s fab capacity for its future GPUs.