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Intel's Alder Lake Is a Hybrid that Combines "Performance" and "Efficiency" CPU Cores on One Chip

During its Architecture Day presentation, Intel has revealed its upcoming Alder Lake lineup processors.

The Alder Lake lineup will feature Intel's latest hybrid architecture that will leverage two different x86 CPUs with one focusing on performance and the other on efficiency. Alder Lake will be the first processor released on Intel's newly renamed Intel 7 technology node, which uses similar technology to the company's current 10 nm tech.

The Efficiency Cores will handle background processes and multi-tasking on a PC. Intel claimed that four Efficiency Cores can deliver 80% more performance than two Intel's older Skylake cores on multi-threaded tasks while consuming less power. An Efficiency Core is capable of performing 40% better on single-threaded tasks while consuming the same amount of power as Skylake.

Meanwhile, the Performance Cores offer a higher clock speed and speed up Ai-based workloads. When running the same frequency, the cores preform 19% better than the Cypress Cove cores found in the 11th Gen Intel Rocket Lake chips.

The Alder Lake chips will feature up to 16 cores and 24 threads. The linup will cater from ultra-thin laptops to high-end desktops, ranging from 9 W to 125 W. It will support up to 16 lanes of PCIe 5.0, DDR4 and DDR5 RAM, and Wi-Fi 6E.

To ensure the high-performing cores to work seamlessly, Intel has introduced its new hardware technology called the Thread Director, which uses data from the PC to direct workload to the either a Efficiency Core or Performance Core, depending on the needs. The Thread Director is said to work best on Windows 11 albeit the Alder Lake processor can still leverage the technology on Windows 10.

"Thread Director technology allows us to provide smarter assistance to the OS by monitoring instruction mix, current state of each core, and the relevant microarchitecture telemetry at a granular level," said Intel Client Architect Rajshree Chabukswar.

The Alder Lake is scheduled to release this fall. There's still a lot of details that we don't know about the chips so we'll have to wait till its launch to see how Intel is doing in the new hybrid approach.


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