Intel briefly demoed an Alder Lake laptop at Computex 2021 and confirmed that the company already has mobile versions of its new hybrid chips shipping to its customers and partners. Ultimately the demo was little more than Intel showing the laptop playing back a video, but it is an important milestone because it confirms that the mobile Alder Lake variants are deep in the development process.
It's well known that Intel's 12th-Gen Alder Lake will bring the company's hybrid architecture, which combines a mix of larger high-performance Golden Cove cores paired with smaller high-efficiency Gracement cores, to desktop x86 PCs for the first time. However, Intel is going all-in: Intel will reunify its desktop and mobile lines with Alder Lake, bringing its new 10nm architecture and leading-edge connectivity options, like PCIe 5.0 and DDR5, to laptops.
We've already pieced together plenty of information about Alder Lake, which you can read here. Here's the brief rundown:
- Qualification and production in the second half of 2021
- Hybrid x86 design with a mix of big and small cores (Golden Cove/Gracemont)
- Up to 16 cores
- 10nm Enhanced SuperFin process
- LGA1700 socket requires new motherboards
- PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 support rumored
- Five variants: -S for desktop PCs, -P for mobile, -M for low-power devices, -L Atom replacement, -N educational (probably Chromebooks)
- Gen12 Xe integrated graphics
- New hardware-guided operating system scheduler tuned for high performance
Intel hasn't released the official specifications of the Alder Lake processors, but a recent update to the SiSoft Sandra benchmark software, along with listings to the open-source Coreboot (a lightweight motherboard firmware option), have given us plenty of clues to work with.
The Coreboot listing outlines various combinations of the big and little cores in different chip models, with some models even using only the larger cores (possibly for high-performance gaming models). The information suggests four configurations with -S, -P, -N, and -M designators, and an -L variant has also emerged:
- Alder Lake-S: Desktop PCs (Both LGA and BGA models)
- Alder Lake-P: High-performance notebooks
- Alder Lake-M: Low-power devices
- Alder Lake-L: Listed as "Small Core" Processors (Atom)
- Alder Lake-N: Educational and consumer client (Chromebook-class devices)
Naturally, Intel didn't divulge which flavor of the mobile processor it unveiled today, but it appears there will be four different flavors of the mobile devices to choose from. Intel divulged that Alder Lake laptops will come later this year, so we won't have to wait long for further details.