Leak reveals solid performance gains for the upcoming Intel Alder Lake laptop and desktop processors, likely not enough to beat AMD Zen3+
Intel is very close to announcing the desktop Rocket Lake processor lineup, which will probably only offer slightly better single-core performance over the AMD Ryzen 5000 models from AMD, but may not present any real threats as far as multi-core performance is concerned due to the 8-core limit. Intel plans to tackle the multi-core problem with the Alder Lake models releasing in Q3 2021. These models are supposed to integrate the big.LITTLE architecture with up to 8 Golden Cove hyper-threaded big cores and up to 8 Gracemont Atom little cores. Will this be enough to beat the current Zen3 or even the upcoming Zen3+ models from AMD that could launch around the same time as Alder Lake? Tom from Moore’s Law Is Dead chimes in with some leaked IPC gains, and it looks like Intel’s top-of-the-line Alder Lake model could theoretically beat the Ryzen 9 5900X.
First of all, keep in mind that the Alder Lake desktop architecture will require new LGA 1700 motherboards that come with support for PCie 5.0 and DDR5. This alone renders the Rocket Lake CPUs useless and if you really need a system upgrade, just wait for the Alder Lake models. Now, according to Tom’s sources, the Golden Cove cores in the Alder Lake processors are expected to deliver 20% single-threaded performance uplift over the Willow Cove cores from Tiger Lake. With these improvements, there is no denying that Intel will continue to keep its single-core performance crown. Tom also mentions that the little Gracemont Atom cores offer very similar performance to all the previous Skylake cores, which enables the upcoming Alder Lake-U (15 W ultra-low voltage laptop processors) to be twice as fast as the current Tiger Lake-U 4-core models, while the overall platform power is reduced by 15%. Additionally, Intel intends to better separate the TDP classes by introducing the Alder Lake-P models with the same Alder Lake-U die but 28 W max TDP, leaving the H-series for 35 W+ TDPs.
By Tom’s rough estimates, the top Alder Lake-U and Alder Lake-P models that can deliver more than 100% multi-core performance uplift over Tiger Lake-U should get a 6 big + 8 small core configuration. Expanding the calculations to the desktop-class processors, Tom estimates that the 8 big core + 8 little core i9 Alder Lake-S models should offer around the same performance as a 12.5-core Rocket Lake processor, and that should be enough to beat the Ryzen 9 5900X, provided it also comes with better pricing. The downside here is the slightly higher TDP (125 W vs 105 W).