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Hybrid 12th Gen processors herald new age for Intel


Having just recently released its latest line-up of 11th Gen Rocket Lake processors, Intel is already looking to the future with a new 12th Gen family in the works.

Codenamed Alder Lake, 12th Gen processors are set to be the first chipset built using a hybrid design, a significant milestone for Intel that represents the first major processor overhaul for a number of years.

What is a hybrid architecture?

Having previously been used for less-powerful mobile devices, hybrid architecture is increasingly being adopted for use with laptop and desktop processors.

Otherwise known as big.LITTLE design, a hybrid architecture sees low power, high-efficiency cores combined with high-performance dual-thread cores to create a more versatile processor. This means that a single chip can simultaneously support both low urgency background tasks, and heavier, more demanding workloads.

Alder Lake chips are set to use two variations of core. Golden Cove architecture, an evolution of 11th Gen chips’ Willow Cove, will be used for more powerful cores, with smaller cores based on the low-power Gracemont Atom.

Due to the combination of core types, the core count for Alder Lake chips will also follow a new convention, with the 16 core products described as 8+8. Processors of this size will include 24 threads, with the 8 Golden Cove cores all dual-threaded.

What else is new with Alder Lake?

While full specs are yet to be released, some interesting details have already emerged.

It’s expected that Alder Lake will include 3 processor tracks within a single line-up, with Alder Lake-S, -P, and -M for desktop, laptop, and mobile respectively.

Alder Lake is also the first chipset to use the new SuperFin 10nm production process, Intel’s first new desktop node for over 6 years.

There’s also Intel Xe integrated graphics, and support for new technology such as PCIe 5.0. An LGA 1700 socket means that there is no compatibility with legacy motherboards such as the Z490 and Z590.

When can we expect to see 12th Gen processors?

No release date has been confirmed, but it’s expected that Alder Lake will be released before the end of the year.

Until then, we’re interested to see what performance benchmarks begin to emerge, and we’re excited to see what this new 12th Gen line-up can add to our selection of mini and rackmount PCs.