Aug 19, 2021

Intel previews its Alder Lake chip, promises hybrid CPUs for desktops and laptops

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Intel’s new approach to chips, details.

The new Alder Lake chips, however, are aspiring to be far more ambitious. Intel teased a full range of chips from 9W to 125W that would utilize the new hybrid approach, combining multiple high-end performance cores with efficient cores for a wider range of power when users need it and efficiency when running less strenuous tasks.

Given that Intel’s announcements today largely focused on the architectures, there are no hard product announcements, but the company did tease several planned Alder Lake SoCs that would utilize the new cores. Those include a desktop SoC with eight performance cores, eight efficiency cores, and integrated memory, graphics, and I/O; a laptop SoC with six performance cores, eight efficiency cores, imaging, Thunderbolt 4 support, memory, I/O, and more powerful Xe graphics all integrated in; and an ultramobile-focused SoC with two performance cores and eight efficiency cores.

To make all that work together, Intel also showed off its new scheduling technology, Intel Thread Director, which is designed to better handle how activity is assigned to performance or efficiency cores depending on need. For example, Thread Director can automatically assign high-priority tasks to performance cores, while offsetting background threads to efficiency cores. Intel also says that it’s collaborating with Microsoft specifically to ensure that Thread Director is optimized for “the best performance on Windows 11.”

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