CPUID (via HXL (opens in new tab)) today released CPU-Z 1.97 that now supports Intel's impending 12th Generation Alder Lake processors, 600-series chipsets and DDR5 memory. The latest update to the popular software suggests that Alder Lake is en route to debut Fall 2021 and fight for a spot on the list of best CPUs.
The changelog for the latest revision specifically details support for the Core i9-12900K, Core i7-12700K and Core i5-12600K. The aforementioned chips are the top SKUs for their respective categories, arriving with the fastest clock speeds and an unlocked multiplier for overclocking. Intel's documents and multiple leaks have already confirmed that Alder Lake will reside on the new LGA1700 socket, meaning that new motherboards are also in transit.
Alder Lake motherboards will be based on the 600-series chipset, according to Intel's latest chipset driver. As anticipated, Intel will offer a plethora of chipsets that cater to different consumers. The most interesting part of the driver is the mention of the X699 chipset, which implies that Intel may make a comeback to the HEDT (high-end desktop) segment with Alder Lake.
Intel boasted during its Intel Architecture Day 2021 event that Alder Lake will support the PCIe 5.0 interface and DDR5 memory, being the first consumer chips to do so. PCIe 5.0 offers up to 128 GBps of throughput and will open the door for a new age of graphics cards and SSDs. However, we don't see the benefit of PCIe 5.0 outside the data center, server or enterprise environments. Even the best graphics cards can't saturate the PCIe 4.0 interface so PCIe 5.0 won't represent a substantial upgrade for the average gamer or consumer. SSDs, on the other hand, could make use of the extra bandwidth from PCIe 5.0.
Although we've already seen early DDR5-4800 benchmarks with Alder Lake, initial DDR5 memory may not be able to contend with the best RAM. When DDR4 first came out, it wasn't much faster than the best DDR3 memory at the time, either. Given enough time to mature, DDR4 eventually became the mainstream format and delivered top-notch performance. We expect DDR5 to go through the same process.
CPU-Z 1.97's changelog confirms that Intel will put out the next installment for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) - XMP 3.0. JEDEC has specified up to DDR5-6400 for DDR5, but we've already seen memory vendors eyeing data rates up to DDR5-10000. Therefore, XMP 3.0 will come in handy for Alder Lake adopters that won't want to manually configure their overclocked DDR5 memory kits.