Intel is finally ready to open up about its first high-performance hybrid architecture, the “Alder Lake” series.
Intel has shared the first official specifications of the series. It will feature Intel Hybrid Technology based on high-performance cores (called Performance Cores or P-Cores) and high-efficiency cores (called Efficient Cores, or E-Cores). They can also be referred to as big and small/little cores too. This is because such an approach in CPU design is not new but commonly used in mobile devices. However, bringing Efficient Cores to desktop devices certainly is.
The Alder Lake series will come in 3 configurations, 8+8: 8 Performance Cores with 8 Efficient Cores, similarly 6+8, and 2+8 configurations. Hence the series will be present in ultra-mobile devices to high-end desktop LGA1700 series. The flagship desktop SKU will have 16 cores and 24 threads.
Three different types of fabrics will be present in Intel’s Alder processors: Compute Fabric, I/O Fabric, and Memory Fabric. The details are not available yet but it can be assumed that Compute Fabric will be comparable to Infinity Fabric building block while I/O Fabric will be compared to Scalable Control Fabric (SCF).
Intel has confirmed that the Alder Lake series will support up to 16 lanes of PCIe Gen5 interface which is merely compatible with the next-gen GPUs with support for new interconnect standards. The series will also have four Gen4 lanes, totaling 20 lanes for the CPU itself. Alder Lake’s 600-series variant will be an exception with x12 PCIe Gen4 lanes and x16 PCIe Gen 3 lanes.
Intel has opened up about its Efficient Cores too. As per the information, a quad-core configuration should offer 80% better performance than a dual-core Skylake CPU with 80% less power requirement at ISO performance (the same frequency).
Moreover, Intel has confirmed that Alder Lake CPUs will come with a hardware thread scheduler. The scheduler will communicate with the OS scheduler. This technology is termed Intel Thread Director and it will dynamically adapt based on thermal and power settings.
Source: Intel Architecture Day 2021