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Intel will bring Hybrid Technology to the desktop with Alder Lake-S: new leak

Intel is now rumored to bring variable cores to the desktop. (Source: Intel)
Intel is now rumored to bring variable cores to the desktop. (Source: Intel)
Alder Lake is a code-name for Intel CPUs currently slated to come after their Rocket Lake counterparts. These processors' rumors allege a number of notable features, not the least of which is their 10 nanometer (nm) nature, new socket type and big/small core arrangement. A new leak may confirm the latter: apparently, it will be a form of Lakefield's Hybrid Technology, but for desktops.

Lakefield - the platform that powers Samsung's Galaxy Book S and the upcoming Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold - also comprises the first Intel product category to feature Hybrid Technology. This is a system by which a "major" Sunny Cove core can pass tasks such as background process and power management off onto a greater number of "minor" Tremont cores. This configuration, which is eerily reminiscent of ARM's big.LITTLE technology, is touted as an excellent way of running an OS such as Windows in an ultra-thin or atypical chassis.

This seems reasonable enough, as these products are also intended to be at least as mobile and versatile as the phones in which ARM-based processors are found. However, a recent leak has also suggested that Intel plans to apply the tactic to more traditional PCs as well. This is projected to take effect in Alder Lake-S, which may materialize as 12th-gen silicon from the company even as Rocket Lake may be the 11th.

This leak suggested that the "big" cores here would be from the Tremont successor Gracemont, whereas the "small" ones will be of the Golden Cove variety. A subsequent tip, which appears to be made up of official Intel material, indicates that this is indeed the case, and that it will work by allowing both core types to use a limited pool of model-specific registers and instruction sets simultaneously. These sets are to exclude AVX-512, FP16 and TSX-NI.

Therefore, Intel may indeed have Hybrid Technology for less portable form factors in the works. Furthermore, it appears that the instructions it can use will be core-dependent: e.g. AVX-512 will only work when the "big" cores are enabled. Currently, it is not clear why the chip-maker might feel the need to exert Hybrid Technology on what may be 10nm CPUs, and, thus, potentially already fast and power-efficient compared to those with older architectures.

The new leak seems to outline Hybrid Technology for Alder Lake-S. (Source: JZWSVIC via VideoCardz)
The new leak seems to outline Hybrid Technology for Alder Lake-S. (Source: JZWSVIC via VideoCardz)
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 07 > Intel will bring Hybrid Technology to the desktop with Alder Lake-S: new leak
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2020-07-14 (Update: 2020-07-14)
Deirdre O'Donnell
I became a professional writer and editor shortly after graduation. My degrees are in biomedical sciences; however, they led to some experience in the biotech area, which convinced me of its potential to revolutionize our health, environment and lives in general. This developed into an all-consuming interest in more aspects of tech over time: I can never write enough on the latest electronics, gadgets and innovations. My other interests include imaging, astronomy, and streaming all the things. Oh, and coffee.