Intel Previews Its Alder Lake Chip, Promises Hybrid CPUs for Desktops and Laptops

Intel has spent much of 2021 announcing plans for its future: a new IDM 2.0 strategy, new naming schemes for its process nodes, and new desktop GPUs. At Intel’s Architecture Day 2021, we finally got a preview of how some of those changes are coming together in new chips, starting with the upcoming Alder Lake lineup later this year. From a report:

As the company has been teasing since last year’s Architecture Day, Alder Lake will feature Intel’s latest hybrid architecture: instead of simply offering the next generation of powerful Intel CPU cores, it’ll offer a mix of both performance and efficiency x86 cores, both of which Intel previewed as part of its announcements. Additionally, Alder Lake will be the first chip released on Intel’s newly renamed Intel 7 technology node (not to be confused with Intel 4, which was previously known as Intel’s delayed 7nm node, and will be available to consumers sometime in 2023 under the codename “Meteor Lake”). Intel 7 still uses similar technology to the company’s current 10nm tech, instead of the bigger leap in manufacturing processes planned for Intel 4.

The new x86 performance core – codenamed “Golden Cove” – is the successor to the Willow Cove cores that are currently found in the company’s 11th Gen Tiger Lake processors. Intel claims that it’s the most powerful CPU core its ever built, but the company only offered a comparison to its Cypress Cove cores (the version of its 10nm architecture that Intel ported to its 14nm process), not the more advanced Willow Cove cores. Meanwhile, the company’s new x86 Efficient core (codenamed “Gracemont”) aims to be “the world’s most efficient x86 CPU core” while still offering higher IPC than the company’s Skylake chips. Intel claims that for single-thread cases, one of its new efficient cores hits 40 percent more performance at the same power (or similar performance while using 40 percent of the power) of a Skylake core, improvements that double when comparing four Efficient cores running four threads to two Skylake cores running four threads.