A mysterious chip running DOTA 2 at 120 frames per second seems to be the first glimpse of Alder Lake-S, AKA Intel’s 12th-generation desktop CPUs. As spotted in the CapFrameX database (opens in new tab) by German tech site ComputerBase (opens in new tab), the CPU identifies itself as Alder Lake, but is running at just 2.2GHz. As this is unverified information it is best taken with a pinch of salt.
The DOTA 2 benchmark took place on April 5, and has taken this long to work its way out of the system. And while the game, a MOBA from 2013 favoured by esports types, may not be the most stressful test of the rig - which was also equipped with an RTX 3080 and 32GB of DDR5-4800 RAM - the presence of an engineering sample in a real-world situation is a good indication that Intel is on course to release its 12th-gen chips later this year.
Alder Lake, you’ll no doubt recall, marks a change for Intel, in that it will be the firm's first 10nm chip design, made up of a mix of high-performance cores built on the Golden Cove architecture that succeeds the 11th-gen Core chips’ Cypress Cove, and power-saving cores utilising Gracemont cores that have more in common with Atom processors. This is the same trick phone manufacturers have been using for a while now, and is also behind the choice of Firestorm and Icestorm cores in the Apple M1 SOC (opens in new tab).
The new chip also brings a next-generation hardware scheduler with it, which will require an update to Windows to use, along with support for DDR5, PCIE 5.0, and a new LGA 1700 socket that’s 7.5mm longer than existing Intel CPU sockets, and will require new cooling solutions as a result.