Skip to main content

Rumor: Next-Generation Intel Core i7 To Feature 8 Cores With 12 Threads

CPU being inserted into a motherboard
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Even before Intel's latest generation Comet Lake-S desktop processors launched, there were already rumors going about surrounding the generation after it: Rocket Lake-S. Now, there's a new rumor stemming from VideoCardz.com stating that the Core i7 chip will feature 8 cores with 12 threads, this could be a typo, but if not it is odd to say the least.

The site doesn't name the source, but claims it is reliable. Three tiers of Rocket Lake-S chips can be spotted, ranging from the Core i5 up to the Core i9. The Core i5 chips are listed to feature 6 cores with 12 threads, and the i9 chips 8 cores with 16 threads.

(Image credit: VideoCardz)

You might wonder how come the i9 chip doesn't have 10 cores and 20 threads like the current-gen Comet Lake-S i9 parts do, but there's a simple explanation to that. Rocket Lake-S is expected to be the first new line of chips from Intel that comes with a new architecture, but remain on the 14-nanometer fabrication process. Given these changes, Intel would no longer be able to cram 10 cores onto the die as it would grow too big, as even the Core i9 10900K is already at the limits of what the 14nm silicon can do. This 8-core limit was already rumored back in 2019.

Of course, this limitation begs the question of how Intel would divide the product stack into Core i5, i7, and i9 for Rocket Lake-S, and it looks like limiting hyperthreading to half the cores on the i7 CPUs might do the trick.

However, we have to be careful here and pour quite some salt onto this rumor. This would be the first time that we're seeing a thread count that isn't identical to, or twice that of the physical core count, and we cannot know just how the 12 number came to be. For all we know, it's just a typo. Moreover, it wouldn't make sense from a performance standpoint: with the i7's featuring half-hyperthreading on the same core count as the i9's there would be a much smaller performance gap between the i7 and i9 chips as between the i5 and i7 chips.

Also note that this slide details the vPro chips, and not the consumer-oriented non-vPro parts.

Regardless, as things stand it does still look like Rocket Lake-S will run on the new Willow Cove architecture, which Intel originally engineered at 10 nm as seen in its mobile Tiger Lake chips. This architecture is expected to be backported to the 14nm process for the performance-oriented Rocket Lake-S SKUs.

  • InvalidError
    Well, if Intel is going big.LITTLE, it wouldn't be surprising if the big cores were full-blown ones with SMT and the little ones were Atom-like without it to save space and power.
    Reply
  • nofanneeded
    Intel would no longer be able to cram 10 cores onto the die as it would grow too big, as even the Core i9 10900K is already at the limits of what the 14nm silicon can do

    really ? last time I checked 14nm can do alot , intel already has 18 cores HEDT CPU using that process...

    it is not a limit , it is just marketing . and please dont bring on the socket size , because,

    one : this is just your guessing and nothing official from intel papers.

    and two : you are not a CPU designer you are just a writer .

    thanks , waiting for more "tomshardware going down" articles
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    nofanneeded said:
    it is not a limit , it is just marketing . and please dont bring on the socket size , because, one : this is just your guessing and nothing official from intel papers.
    Well, the die has something like a 2.5:1 aspect ratio, so there certainly is more than enough room to make the die twice as wide under the square IHS. Power delivery for such a doubled-up monstrosity on the other hand could definitely be an issue and require a few hundred more Vcore+ground pins. Most of the extra pins on LGA1200 are for PCIe 4.0 support and to implement the 4.0x4 NVMe interface, not much extra power to be had there.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    nofanneeded said:
    really ? last time I checked 14nm can do alot , intel already has 18 cores HEDT CPU using that process...

    HEDT CPU's don't have an IGP like desktop chips do.
    Reply
  • Chung Leong
    InvalidError said:
    Well, if Intel is going big.LITTLE, it wouldn't be surprising if the big cores were full-blown ones with SMT and the little ones were Atom-like without it to save space and power.

    The other way around seems more sensible. Pipeline stalls are more likely to occur in the small cores due to smaller caches and weaker branch prediction. Disabling SMT in the big cores could meanwhile allow for higher boost frequency.
    Reply
  • Deicidium369
    InvalidError said:
    Well, if Intel is going big.LITTLE, it wouldn't be surprising if the big cores were full-blown ones with SMT and the little ones were Atom-like without it to save space and power.
    Alder Lake will be the Big Little thing - the 8C 12T is for Rocket Lake and is a typo in the leaked photos
    Reply
  • Deicidium369
    nofanneeded said:
    really ? last time I checked 14nm can do alot , intel already has 18 cores HEDT CPU using that process...

    it is not a limit , it is just marketing . and please dont bring on the socket size , because,

    one : this is just your guessing and nothing official from intel papers.

    and two : you are not a CPU designer you are just a writer .

    thanks , waiting for more "tomshardware going down" articles
    Intel has 28C 14nm CPUs...
    Reply
  • Deicidium369
    Admin said:
    Queuing the salt truck on this one

    Rumor: Next-Generation Intel Core i7 To Feature 8 Cores With 12-Core Hyperthreading : Read more
    Most likely a typo
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    Chung Leong said:
    The other way around seems more sensible. Pipeline stalls are more likely to occur in the small cores due to smaller caches and weaker branch prediction. Disabling SMT in the big cores could meanwhile allow for higher boost frequency.
    While SMT on low-power cores may be ideal for highest efficiency, SMT on the fast cores is ideal for peak throughput. It is extremely unlikely that the minimal boost gains (at stupid power cost) you might get from removing SMT would offset the 30-40% throughput loss. And at only ~5% silicon and power cost, SMT is far more power- and silicon- efficient than high-efficiency cores too.
    Reply
  • 1_rick
    InvalidError said:
    Well, if Intel is going big.LITTLE, it wouldn't be surprising if the big cores were full-blown ones with SMT and the little ones were Atom-like without it to save space and power.

    Surely if they were going to do that there'd be mention of it. And it also raises--not begs--the question of why only the i7 would be big.LITTLE.
    Reply