Intel 12th gen Alder Lake-S will use a larger LGA 1700 socket that may last for three generations
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While we know that Rocket Lake-S would succeed the present 10th generation Comet Lake-S that is fresh from the oven, Intel's 12th generation Alder Lake-S platform is set to bring in some much needed fundamental architectural changes. We've reported earlier about Intel looking at a big.LITTLE style configuration for Alder Lake-S. Now, we are getting to know more information about the platform including the socket and the core clusters that would be part of the Alder Lake-S CPUs.
Long-lasting and larger LGA 1700 socket
Intel has transitioned to the LGA 1200 socket with Comet Lake-S, and this is also expected to be compatible with the upcoming 11th generation Rocket Lake-S generation. Now, Intel is not exactly known for long-term socket compatibility unlike AMD's Socket AM4 that supports four generations of Ryzen processors starting from Ryzen 1st generation till the upcoming Zen 3 Ryzen 4000 desktop. All that may change with Alder Lake-S.
Lit-Tech, a Taiwanese manufacturer of voltage regulatory testing tools in the Asian market, has listed Alder Lake-S-compatible testing equipment. While we already know that Alder Lake-S will move to a new LGA 1700 socket, we are now understanding that LGA 1700 will be bigger (45 x 37.5 mm) than the current LGA 1151/LGA 1200 variants (37.5 x 37.5 mm). This means that nearly a decade's worth of cooler support will have to be chucked or compatible brackets made available.
An interesting aspect is that LGA 1700 is expected to support up to three generations Intel Core processors possibly in a bid to compete with AMD's purported Socket AM5 for platform longevity.
Also being touted is that LGA 1700 will offer more PCIe lanes than LGA 1200 and may even support PCI Express Gen5 at some point. Support for DDR5 memory is not yet clear.
golden cove.GRACEMONT cores
It is now becoming clearer that Alder Lake-S will sport up to 16 cores in a big.LITTLE-esque cluster of Golden Cove and Gracemont cores. Golden Cove will be the successor to Willow Cove that is expected to feature in Rocket Lake-S while Gracemont is the successor to Tremont and will bring in support for the AVX512 instruction set.
While Rocket Lake-S is expected to be a 14nm equivalent of Tiger Lake and may launch later this year itself, Alder Lake-S is expected to be a 10nm++ part for a 2021 release. We expect core designs that include up to eight high-performing Golden Cove, eight efficiency-optimized Gracemont cores, and an Xe iGPU. Intel is also rumored to be evaluating TDPs up to 150W to compete with flagship AMD Ryzen processors.