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Zheng, H. Alder Lake (Microprocessor). Encyclopedia. Available online: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/31300 (accessed on 11 December 2023).
Zheng H. Alder Lake (Microprocessor). Encyclopedia. Available at: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/31300. Accessed December 11, 2023.
Zheng, Handwiki. "Alder Lake (Microprocessor)" Encyclopedia, https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/31300 (accessed December 11, 2023).
Zheng, H.(2022, October 26). Alder Lake (Microprocessor). In Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/31300
Zheng, Handwiki. "Alder Lake (Microprocessor)." Encyclopedia. Web. 26 October, 2022.
Alder Lake (Microprocessor)
Edit

Alder Lake is Intel's codename for the 12th generation of Intel Core processors based on a hybrid architecture utilizing Golden Cove high-performance cores and Gracemont power-efficient cores. It is fabricated using Intel's Intel 7 process, previously referred to as Intel 10 nm Enhanced SuperFin (10ESF). Intel officially announced 12th Gen Intel Core CPUs on October 27, 2021. Intel officially announced 12th Gen Intel Core mobile CPUs and non-K series desktop CPUs on January 4, 2022. Intel officially announced the launch of Alder Lake-P and -U series on February 23, 2022.

hybrid architecture alder 10esf

1. Features

1.1. CPU

  • Golden Cove high-performance cores ("P-cores")
    • Dedicated floating-point adders[1]
    • New 6-wide instruction decoder (from 4-wide in Rocket Lake/Tiger Lake) with the ability to fetch up to 32 bytes of instructions per cycle (from 16)[1]
    • 12 execution ports (from 10)
    • 512 reorder-buffer entries (from 384)
    • 6-wide μOP allocations (from 5)
    • μOP cache size increased to 4K entries (up from 2.25K)
    • AVX-VNNI, a VEX-coded variant of AVX512-VNNI for 256-bit vectors
    • AVX-512 (including FP16) is present but disabled by default to match E-cores. On early revisions of microprocessors it still can be enabled on some motherboards with some BIOS versions by disabling the E-cores.[1][2] Intel has physically fused off AVX-512 on later revisions of Alder Lake CPUs.[3]
    • ~18% IPC uplift.[4]
  • Gracemont power efficient cores ("E-cores")
    • Aggregated into 4-core modules with a shared L2 cache
    • 256 reorder-buffer entries (up from 208 in Tremont)
    • 17 execution ports (up from 12)
    • AVX2, FMA and AVX-VNNI
    • Skylake-like IPC.[4]
  • New instruction set extensions[5]
  • Up to 1 TB/s interconnect between cores[1]
  • Intel Thread Director, which is a marketing name for Enhanced Hardware Feedback Interface (EHFI). This is a hardware technology to assist the OS thread scheduler with more efficient load distribution between heterogeneous CPU cores.[6] Enabling this new capability requires support in the operating system.
  • 4–30 MB L3 cache[1]
  • Cores:
    • up to 8 P-cores and 8 E-cores on desktop[4]
    • up to 6 P-cores and 8 E-cores on mobile (UP3 designs)[4]
    • up to 2 P-cores and 8 E-cores on ultra mobile (UP4 designs)[4]
    • only P-cores feature hyper-threading

1.2. GPU

  • Intel Xe (Gen 12.2) GPU
  • Up to 96 EU on mobile and 32 EU on desktop[1]

1.3. I/O

  • LGA 1700 socket[7] for desktop processors
  • BGA Type3 and Type4 HDI for mobile processors[6]
  • 20 PCIe lanes from CPU
    • 16 PCIe 5.0 lanes[1]
    • 04 PCIe 4.0 lanes[1]
  • Chipset link - DMI 4.0 ×8 link with Intel 600 series PCH chipsets
  • DDR5, DDR4, LPDDR5, and LPDDR4 memory support
    • Up to DDR4-3200
    • Up to DDR5-4800
    • XMP 3.0[8]
    • Dynamic Memory Boost[8]
  • Integrated Thunderbolt 4 and WiFi 6E support[9]

2. Dies

For the Alder Lake generation, Intel will initially produce 4 different dies.[4][10] Each die has a different number of P-cores (P) and E-cores (E) and GPU Execution Units.

Segment CPU configuration GPU Width Length Die size
Alder Lake-S
(desktop)
8P + 8E (performance) 32 EU 10.5 mm 20.5 mm 215.25 mm2
6P + 0E (budget) 10.5 mm 15.5 mm 162.75 mm2
Alder Lake-P
(mobile)
6P + 8E 96 EU 10.62 mm 20.45 mm 217.18 mm2
Alder Lake-M
(ultra mobile)
2P + 8E      

3. Software Support

Alder Lake requires special support from the operating system due to its relatively unusual-for-x86 hybrid nature. For software unable to be upgraded, a UEFI-provided compatibility mode may be used to disable the E cores; it is enabled by the user turning on scroll lock.[11]

3.1. CPUID Incoherence

The P and E cores of Alder Lake CPUs report different CPUID models. As a result, this may cause issues with digital rights management systems that perceive the P and E cores as being separate computers, and falsely enforce license restrictions preventing a particular piece of software from being executed on more than one device at a time. Intel published a list of PC games it identified as having this compatibility issue, and stated that it was working with publishers to develop patches. Some of the games were identified by Intel as only having this bug on Windows 10, and functioning correctly on Windows 11 (with some of them dependent on Windows 11 patches scheduled to be released in November 2021).[11][12]

The Intel Game Dev Guide for Alder Lake also cautions against the use of undefined behavior in bitwise operations, as the two cores can act differently.[13]

3.2. Scheduler Support

Alder Lake's CPU topology has performance implications, especially for gaming environments where the developers are not used to NUMA setups. Microsoft added support for Intel Thread Director (ITD) in Windows 11.[1][14] A wide variety of inputs, including whether a process' window is in the foreground, feeds into the ITD.[15] The ITD can function to a lesser extent with the OS providing less or no cooperation.[16] Support in Linux is merged in kernel 5.18[17] but this alone is not sufficient until the kernel gets hints from userspace in order to schedule tasks to run on certain types of cores.

3.3. Blu-Ray DRM Support

The CPU family no longer features Intel SGX which is a requirement for playing UltraHD Blu-Ray disks.[18]

4. List of 12th Generation Alder Lake Processors

4.1. Desktop Processors (Alder Lake-S)

  • All the CPUs support up to 128 GB of DDR4-3200 or DDR5-4800 RAM in dual channel mode.[19]
  • Some models feature integrated UHD Graphics 770, UHD Graphics 730 or UHD Graphics 710 GPU with 32/24/16 EUs and base frequency of 300 MHz.
  • By default Alder Lake CPUs are configured to run at Turbo Power at all times and Base Power is only guaranteed when P-Cores/E-cores do not exceed the base clock rate.[1]
  • Max Turbo Power: the maximum sustained (> 1 s) power dissipation of the processor as limited by current and/or temperature controls. Instantaneous power may exceed Maximum Turbo Power for short durations (≤ 10 ms). Maximum Turbo Power is configurable by system vendor and can be system specific.


*By default, Core i9 12900KS achieves 5.5 GHz only when using Thermal Velocity Boost[20]

 
Processor
branding
Model Cores
(threads)
Base
clock rate
Turbo
Boost 2.0
Turbo
Max 3.0
GPU Smart
cache
Power (W) Price
(USD)
P E P E P E P Model Max.
clock rate
Base Turbo
Core i9 12900KS 8 (16) 8 (8) 3.4 GHz 2.5 GHz 5.2 GHz 4.0 GHz 5.3 GHz UHD 770 1.55 GHz 30 MB 150 W 241 W $739
12900K 3.2 GHz 2.4 GHz 5.1 GHz 3.9 GHz 5.2 GHz 125 W $589
12900KF N/A $564
12900 2.4 GHz 1.8 GHz 5.0 GHz 3.8 GHz 5.1 GHz UHD 770 1.55 GHz 65 W 202 W $489
12900F N/A $464
12900T 1.4 GHz 1.0 GHz 4.8 GHz 3.6 GHz 4.9 GHz UHD 770 1.55 GHz 35 W 106 W $489
Core i7 12700K 4 (4) 3.6 GHz 2.7 GHz 4.9 GHz 3.8 GHz 5.0 GHz 1.50 GHz 25 MB 125 W 190 W $409
12700KF N/A $384
12700 2.1 GHz 1.6 GHz 4.8 GHz 3.6 GHz 4.9 GHz UHD 770 1.50 GHz 65 W 180 W $339
12700F N/A $314
12700T 1.4 GHz 1.0 GHz 4.6 GHz 3.4 GHz 4.7 GHz UHD 770 1.50 GHz 35 W 99 W $339
Core i5 12600K 6 (12) 3.7 GHz 2.8 GHz 4.9 GHz 3.6 GHz N/A 1.45 GHz 20 MB 125 W 150 W $289
12600KF N/A $264
12600 N/A 3.3 GHz N/A 4.8 GHz N/A UHD 770 1.45 GHz 18 MB 65 W 117 W $223
12600T 2.1 GHz 4.6 GHz 35 W 74 W
12500 3.0 GHz 65 W 117 W $202
12500T 2.0 GHz 4.4 GHz 35 W 74 W
12490F[21] 3.0 GHz 4.6 GHz N/A 20 MB 65 W 117 W ≈$250
12400 2.5 GHz 4.4 GHz UHD 730 1.45 GHz 18 MB $192
12400F N/A $167
12400T 1.8 GHz 4.2 GHz UHD 730 1.45 GHz 35 W 74 W $192
Core i3 12300 4 (8) 3.5 GHz 4.4 GHz 12 MB 60 W 89 W $143
12300T 2.3 GHz 4.2 GHz 35 W 69 W
12100 3.3 GHz 4.3 GHz 1.40 GHz 60 W 89 W $122
12100F N/A 58 W $97
12100T 2.2 GHz 4.1 GHz UHD 730 1.40 GHz 35 W 69 W $122
Pentium Gold G7400 2 (4) 3.7 GHz N/A UHD 710 1.35 GHz 6 MB 46 W N/A $64
G7400T 3.1 GHz 35 W
Celeron G6900 2 (2) 3.4 GHz 1.3 GHz 4 MB 46 W $42
G6900T 2.8 GHz 35 W

4.2. Mobile Processors

Alder Lake-H

 
Processor
branding
Model Cores
(threads)
Base
clock rate
Turbo
Boost 2.0
Iris Xe Graphics Smart
cache
Power Price
(USD)
P E P E P E EUs Max. freq. Base Turbo
Core i9 12900HK 6 (12) 8 (8) 2.5 GHz 1.8 GHz 5.0 GHz 3.8 GHz 96 1.45 GHz 24 MB 45 W 115 W $635
12900H $617
Core i7 12800H 2.4 GHz 4.8 GHz 3.7 GHz 1.4 GHz $457
12700H 2.3 GHz 1.7 GHz 4.7 GHz 3.5 GHz
12650H 4 (4) 64
Core i5 12600H 4 (8) 8 (8) 2.7 GHz 2.0 GHz 4.5 GHz 3.3 GHz 80 18 MB 95 W $311
12500H 2.5 GHz 1.8 GHz 1.3 GHz
12450H 4 (4) 2.0 GHz 1.5 GHz 4.4 GHz 48 1.2 GHz 12 MB

Alder Lake-P

 
Processor
branding
Model Cores
(threads)
Base
clock rate
Turbo
Boost 2.0
Iris Xe Graphics Smart
cache
Power Price
(USD)
P E P E P E EUs Max. freq. Base Turbo
Core i7 1280P 6 (12) 8 (8) 1.8 GHz 1.3 GHz 4.8 GHz 3.6 GHz 96 1.45 GHz 24 MB 28 W 64 W $482
1270P 4 (8) 2.2 GHz 1.6 GHz 3.5 GHz 1.40 GHz 18 MB $438
1260P 2.1 GHz 1.5 GHz 4.7 GHz 3.4 GHz
Core i5 1250P 1.7 GHz 1.2 GHz 4.4 GHz 3.3 GHz 80 12 MB $320
1240P 1.30 GHz
Core i3 1220P 2 (4) 1.5 GHz 1.1 GHz 64 1.10 GHz $281

Alder Lake-U

 
Processor
branding
Model Cores
(threads)
Base
clock rate
Turbo
Boost 2.0
Iris Xe Graphics Smart
cache
Power Price
(USD)
P E P E P E EUs Max. freq. Base Turbo
Core i7 1265U 2 (4) 8 (8) 1.8 GHz 1.3 GHz 4.8 GHz 3.6 GHz 96 1.25 GHz 12 MB 15 W 55 W $426
1260U 1.1 GHz 0.8 GHz 4.7 GHz 3.5 GHz 0.9 GHz 9 W 29 W  
1255U 1.7 GHz 1.2 GHz 1.25 GHz 15 W 55 W $426
1250U 1.1 GHz 0.8 GHz 0.9 GHz 9 W 29 W  
Core i5 1245U 1.6 GHz 1.2 GHz 4.4 GHz 3.3 GHz 80 1.2 GHz 15 W 55 W $309
1240U 1.1 GHz 0.8 GHz 0.9 GHz 9 W 29 W  
1235U 1.3 GHz 0.9 GHz 1.2 GHz 15 W 55 W $309
1230U 1.0 GHz 0.7 GHz 0.9 GHz 9 W 29 W  
Core i3 1215U 4 (4) 1.2 GHz 1.2 GHz 64 1.1 GHz 10 MB 15 W 55 W $281
1210U 1.0 GHz 0.7 GHz 0.85 GHz 9 W 29 W  
Pentium 8505 1 (2) 1.2 GHz 0.9 GHz 48 0.9 GHz 8 MB 15 W 55 W $161
8500 1.0 GHz 0.7 GHz 0.7 GHz 9 W 29 W  
Celeron 7305 1.1 GHz 0.9 GHz N/A 0.9 GHz 15 W 55 W $107
7300 1.0 GHz 0.7 GHz 0.7 GHz 9 W 29 W  

References

  1. Cutress, Ian; Frumusanu, Andrei (2021-11-04). "The Intel 12th Gen Core i9-12900K Review: Hybrid Performance Brings Hybrid Complexity" (in en). https://www.anandtech.com/show/17047/the-intel-12th-gen-core-i912900k-review-hybrid-performance-brings-hybrid-complexity/2. 
  2. Alcorn, Paul (2021-08-19). "Intel Architecture Day 2021: Alder Lake Chips, Golden Cove and Gracemont Cores" (in en). https://www.tomshardware.com/features/intel-architecture-day-2021-intel-unveils-alder-lake-golden-cove-and-gracemont-cores. 
  3. Alcorn, Paul (2022-03-02). "Intel Nukes Alder Lake's AVX-512 Support, Now Fuses It Off in Silicon" (in en). https://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-nukes-alder-lake-avx-512-now-fuses-it-off-in-silicon. 
  4. Cutress, Ian; Frumusanu, Andrei. "Intel Architecture Day 2021: Alder Lake, Golden Cove, and Gracemont Detailed". https://www.anandtech.com/show/16881/a-deep-dive-into-intels-alder-lake-microarchitectures. 
  5. https://software.intel.com/content/dam/develop/external/us/en/documents-tps/architecture-instruction-set-extensions-programming-reference.pdf
  6. Cutress, Ian. "Intel Alder Lake: Confirmed x86 Hybrid with Golden Cove and Gracemont for 2021". https://www.anandtech.com/show/15979/intel-alder-lake-confirmed-x86-hybrid-with-golden-cove-and-gracemont-for-2021. 
  7. Subramaniam, Vaidyanathan. "Intel 12th gen Alder Lake-S will use a larger LGA 1700 socket that may last for three generations". https://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-12th-gen-Alder-Lake-S-will-use-a-larger-LGA-1700-socket-that-may-last-for-three-generations.463763.0.html. 
  8. Cutress, Ian. "Intel 12th Gen Core Alder Lake for Desktops: Top SKUs Only, Coming November 4th". https://www.anandtech.com/show/16959/intel-innovation-alder-lake-november-4th. 
  9. "Intel Alder Lake Thunderbolt/USB4 Support For Linux 5.14" (in en). https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Alder-Lake-Thunderbolt-Linux. 
  10. "MSI confirms there are two die variants of Alder Lake-S desktop CPUs" (in en-US). https://videocardz.com/newz/msi-confirms-there-are-two-die-variants-of-alder-lake-s-desktop-cpus. 
  11. Orland, Kyle (2021-11-05). "Faulty DRM breaks dozens of games on Intel's Alder Lake CPUs" (in en-us). https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2021/11/faulty-drm-breaks-dozens-of-games-on-intels-alder-lake-cpus/. 
  12. "Intel: These 50+ PC Games Are Incompatible with 'Alder Lake' CPUs Due to DRM" (in en). https://www.pcmag.com/news/intel-these-50-plus-pc-games-are-incompatible-with-alder-lake-cpus-due. 
  13. "Game Dev Guide for Alder Lake Performance Hybrid Architecture" (in en). https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/developer/articles/guide/alder-lake-developer-guide.html. 
  14. "Intel Makes it Official: Hybrid CPU Cores Arrive With Alder Lake - ExtremeTech". https://www.extremetech.com/computing/313803-intel-makes-it-official-hybrid-cpu-cores-arrive-with-alder-lake. 
  15. Cutress, Ian. "Intel 12th Gen Core Alder Lake for Desktops: Top SKUs Only, Coming November 4th". https://www.anandtech.com/show/16959/intel-innovation-alder-lake-november-4th/3. 
  16. "Scheduler Alder Lake není všemocný, Intel počítá s optimalizacemi vývojářů" (in cs). https://diit.cz/clanek/scheduler-alder-lake-neni-vsemocny-intel-pocita-s-optimalizacemi-vyvojaru. 
  17. "Intel HFI To Premiere In Linux 5.18 For Improving Hybrid CPU Performance/Efficiency" (in en). https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Intel-HFI-For-Linux-5.18. 
  18. "Alder Lake Systems Can't Play UHD Blu-rays" (in en). 2022-01-15. https://www.tomshardware.com/news/alder-lake-systems-arent-able-to-play-uhd-blu-rays. 
  19. "Products formerly Alder Lake". https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/codename/147470/products-formerly-alder-lake.html. 
  20. "12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900KS Launches as World’s Fastest Desktop..." (in en). https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/newsroom/news/12th-gen-intel-core-i9-12900ks-worlds-fastest-desktop-processor.html. 
  21. "Intel Core i5-12490F is China exclusive 6-core Alder Lake desktop CPU with 20MB L3 cache". 28 February 2022. https://videocardz.com/newz/intel-core-i5-12490f-is-china-exclusive-6-core-alder-lake-desktop-cpu-with-20mb-l3-cache. 
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