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Intel's Desktop Alder Lake CPUs to Use Two Types of Dies

Intel 12th Generation Alder Lake
(Image credit: Intel)

For now, Intel offers only the highest-end Alder Lake processors for desktops with up to 16 Golden Cove and Goldmont cores. However, come 2022, the company will roll out its mainstream and entry-level parts with up to six cores. As it turns out, those CPUs will use entirely different silicon die that will physically lack energy-efficient Goldmont cores.

Smaller Dies for Cheaper CPUs

Intel's 12th Generation Core i9/i7/i5 'Alder Lake-S' processors that are shipped today contain up to eight (P)erformance Golden Cove cores, eight (E)fficiency cores, and an integrated Xe-LP GPU with up to 32 EUs. The highest-end Core i9-12900K has all of its 16 cores activated, whereas the midrange Core i5-12600K comes with six P cores and four E cores activated. Apparently, for lower-end SKUs, Intel is prepping a die with six P cores that will not have any E cores inside, MSI Insider revealed (via VideoCardz). 

(Image credit: MSI)

Developing a six-core Alder Lake version without E-cores makes a lot of sense. Intel plans to have a top-to-bottom Alder Lake family and address mid-range and entry-level market segments with its latest microarchitecture, which entails offering CPUs with different core configurations. 

Even the Core i5-12600K has six performance and four efficiency cores, so cheaper parts might reduce the number of both P cores and E cores, though far not all technically savvy customers would like to buy a desktop CPU with only four high-performance cores. So instead, Intel just got rid of E-cores and will offer all the benefits of six Golden Cove cores with CPUs that will cost around $200. In the end, few people care about the power consumption of a desktop CPU.  

The Alder Lake 6P is reportedly considerably smaller than the full-blown 8P+8E die (162.75 mm2 vs 215.25 mm2). That six-core die can be used for six-core processors, quad-core and maybe even dual-core CPUs (though we would expect Intel to design yet another die for its cheapest parts). 

It is noteworthy that Intel also plans to offer two types of ADL dies for laptops: the Alder Lake 6P+8E for performance-demanding laptops and Alder Lake 2P+8E processors for mobile PCs with long battery life.

Different Coolers Required

The Alder Lake-S die with six performance cores will be considerably smaller than the Alder Lake-S die with 16 cores, and therefore its heat spot will have a different location. Therefore, engineers from MSI suggest that enthusiasts who plan to use those Alder Lake 6P CPUs will have to choose their cooling system appropriately. 

(Image credit: MSI)

While liquid coolers are generally expected to provide adequate coverage for Alder Lake 6P dies, the performance of air coolers with heat pipes will depend on the orientation of these pipes. 

(Image credit: MSI)

It is unclear when Intel plans to introduce its processors based on the Alder Lake 6P silicon. Still, we can speculate that it will talk about cheaper 12th Generation Core processors at CES in early January 2022.

  • salgado18
    New CPU scheduler
    New programming tools
    New coolers

    I really hope these are as good as the trouble they bring.
    Reply
  • Kamen Rider Blade
    salgado18 said:
    New CPU scheduler
    New programming tools
    New coolers

    I really hope these are as good as the trouble they bring.
    New PCIe 5.0 Lanes
    New DDR5 RAM Interface
    New Chipset to go along with CPU
    Reply
  • TerryLaze
    salgado18 said:
    New CPU scheduler
    New programming tools
    New coolers

    I really hope these are as good as the trouble they bring.
    Wrong topic, except for the new cooler, this topic is about lower end alder that won't have any e cores so business as usual new gen.

    And even for the cooler, since the 6core will be smaller it might be able to work with old coolers (with a new socket adaptor)
    Different Coolers Required
    The Alder Lake-S die with six performance cores will be considerably smaller than the Alder Lake-S die with 16 cores, and therefore its heat spot will have a different location. Therefore, engineers from MSI suggest that enthusiasts who plan to use those Alder Lake 6P CPUs will have to choose their cooling system appropriately.
    Reply
  • mwestall
    Kamen Rider Blade said:
    New PCIe 5.0 Lanes
    New DDR5 RAM Interface
    New Chipset to go along with CPU
    PCIe5, no GFX on the horizon to take advantage, nor NVMe drives
    DDR5 no benefits for the cost for at least year, probably more.
    Chipset provides zero benefits, still crippled by too few PCIe lanes and too few native high bandwidth I/o controllers (no embedded thunderbolt, too few usb 3.2 etc..)
    Reply
  • chickenla
    So its okay for intel to glue together mismatched cores, just not symmetrical cores cuz... Reasons?
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    AMD Ryzen had their "What thermal paste application technique was best" test, now Intel will have their "What orientation of your cooler is best"...

    Also...Was Intel really using TIN? Tin has 2-3x less thermal conductivity as the Indium solder AMD uses in Ryzen...

    Reply
  • larkspur
    Alvar Miles Udell said:
    AMD Ryzen had their "What thermal paste application technique was best" test, now Intel will have their "What orientation of your cooler is best"...

    Also...Was Intel really using TIN? Tin has 2-3x less thermal conductivity as the Indium solder AMD uses in Ryzen...

    Tin is almost always used as an alloy (typically with copper or lead




    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    larkspur said:
    Tin is almost always used as an alloy (typically with copper or lead





    And helps when you look at the line for Indium and not Iridium...I'm so glad it's Friday...
    Reply
  • Robert I. Eachus
    Kamen Rider Blade said:
    New PCIe 5.0 Lanes
    New DDR5 RAM Interface
    New Chipset to go along with CPU

    This reminds me of the Amiga Easter Egg it is easy to find online if you weren't around then. What's the problem? Security, in particular, the added covert channels in the new scheduler are going to cause huge headaches for no gain in AMD CPUs and the Alder Lake SKUs with no E-cores or all E-cores.

    The short-term solution, which the government and security-conscious companies will try to do anyway is to stay with Windows 10. But Windows 11, is intended to have better security, and Microsoft is going to try to push Windows 11 onto most systems. I'll have to ask my son* what his company is going to do. Probably keep Microsoft off their VPN.

    There are other marketing missteps. Ending the embargo on posting test results the same day that Alder Lake S starts shipping, only having (expensive) high-end motherboards at the launch, etc. Not everyone wants to spend well over a thousand dollars for a new motherboard, CPU, memory and cooler. Those who do will be putting their systems together themselves anyway. I think they should have started with some laptops on the same launch date. And finally, calling the E-cores efficiency cores, when they draw considerably more power than comparable AMD chips. In fact, my son's apartment building burned down--he wasn't home, and it started in the basement anyway. We put a new motherboard, AMD 5700G CPU, and DRAM in my old case. At 65 Watts--actually 63 point something when running benchmarks that stress both CPU and included GPU. I wonder how it will compare to an i9 12900 with the P-cores disabled or at idle and see how much power the E-cores draw when loaded.

    It's an unfair test, but my point is that P-cores and E-cores is as far as Intel should have gone in their marketing.

    * He does tech support for a large retail company spread across most of North America. When working, he is on the phone or computer, or both except for some trips where they are converting a newly acquired store or chain. The part of the job that he likes the most is fixing not really bugs but opportunities for eliminating user opportunities to mess up. That way he can close off stacks of support tickets at a time.
    Reply
  • samopa
    If only they make 8P 0E GPU-less version of it ...
    Reply