Alder Lake Processor

What is Alder Lake Processor?

Alder Lake is the codename of the 12th generation Core processors from Intel. The CPUs are built on the Intel 7 process, which offers a significant boost in their overall performance.

Technically, these processors are designed on a hybrid core architecture consisting of up to eight Golden Cove performance cores and eight separate Gracemont efficiency cores.

Understanding Alder Lake Processor

What is Alder Lake Processor

The architecture of the Alader Lake processors is built on the Intel 7 fabrication process, formerly known as the Intel 10 nm Enhanced SuperFin or 10 ESF.

This design offers a performance boost ranging from 10% to 15% over the other processors.

There are different brands and versions of Alder Lake processors available. These were officially announced by Intel at different times as follows:

As for the mobile and desktop processors, 12th generation Alder Lake is sold under different brand names such as:

The Alder Lake processors are the successors to both the Rocket Lake and Tiger Lake processors and are built on the Intel 7 fabrication process.

The microarchitecture is designed for use in several devices such as:

CPU Features

The Alder Lake CPU comes with a hybrid core architecture consisting of both performance and efficiency cores.

The features of the Golden Cove performance cores, also called P-cores, are as follows:

The features of the Gracemont efficient cores, also called E-cores, are as follows:

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Other features and support of the CPU of the Alder Lake processors include:

The number of P-cores and E-cores may vary according to the model of the Alder Lake processors as follows:

Dies

There are actually four different types of dies produced by Intel for the Alder Lake CPU generation, each with a different number of P-cores, E-cores, and execution units.

These are designed for different purposes and market segments as follows:

I/O, Pipeline, and Compiler Support

The Alder Lake processors provide enhanced I/O support due to the following features:

The architecture also supports a pipeline that is capable of executing speculative and Out-of-Order executions and register renaming.

In addition to Visual Studio, different compilers are also supported by these CPUs such as:

Instruction Set Architecture and Extension Support

A lot of different x86-64 or Intel-64 Instruction Set Architecture, along with a wide range of new and old extensions of theirs, are supported by the Intel Alder Lake processors. These are:

However, the Alder Lake CPUs need special software and operating system support due to their unusual x86 hybrid nature.

Is Alder Lake Better than AMD?

Yes, Alder Lake is much better than AMD in a lot of ways. The first and most significant reason to say so is that the Alder Lake hardware is far more future-proof than the available AMD hardware.

The architecture of these processors offers much faster performance, a higher single-channel Random Access Memory, and double data bandwidth for graphics cards.

The AMD Ryzen 5000 series processors, on the other hand, still depend on the most powerful options that they used before such as DDR4 and PCIe 4.

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What is So Great About Alder Lake?

Perhaps, the best part of the design of the Alder Lake processors is that they use hybrid architecture. This allows incorporating two different types of cores.

The first type focuses on the performance that you would expect from any processor of the new generation.

The second one is the efficient core that helps in handling programs and tasks running in the background to beef up the applications.

These cores, typically, act like a lot of cores and offer higher and faster performance than most of the AMD processors as well as a lot of processors from Intel belonging to the previous generation.

Typically, it is this feature that makes the Alder Lake processors worthy to consider for designing an advanced gaming machine, even on a budget.

Other aspects that make these 12th generation CPUs great are:

Does Alder Lake Run Hot?

No, the Alder Lake CPUs usually do not run hot, even under full workload. However, the issue lies somewhere else.

It is actually in the Integrated Heat Spreader or IHS and not the CPU. The IHS on top of the chip seems to get warped. This results in less than adequate contact between the cooling system and the CPU.

This situation is a recipe for all types of applied problems and you will hardly be able to find out which particular part of the CPU is at fault.

Ideally, the inefficiency of the IHS is mainly due to the amount of pressure applied to it and, more significantly, where it is applied.

There are other factors as well that contribute to this issue. These are:

Rectangular socket:

The rectangular socket, instead of a traditional square one, accommodates the hybrid architecture of the CPU with both performance and efficiency cores on it.

However, this makes things complicated, with most of the heat generated by one single core at the center.

Integrated Loading Mechanism:

The thin, nickel-plated copper plate of the heat spreader interfaces with the cooling system and the Integrated Loading Mechanism or ILM applies pressure to the socket unevenly.

This curves the heat spreaders, causing significant gaps between the cooler and the heat spreader, which the thermal paste cannot close effectively.

The ILM also puts pressure on the middle of the sides of the socket and not at the corners. This pushes the heat spreader down in the center.

Lower Z-height:

The significantly shorter Z-height of the LGA 1700 socket is another factor that contributes to this issue, though it is not as big an issue as the others.

Perhaps the best solution to this issue could be raising the height of the socket by using rubber washers underneath.

Alder Lake vs Raptor Lake

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Questions & Answers:

Does Intel Alder Lake Require Windows 11?

The simple answer to this question is that it really does not matter which operating system you use on an Alder Lake processor, as long as it is used for every hardware configuration and testing. However, make sure that it is a fresh install.

Is the Alder Lake CPU Good for Gaming?

Yes, the Alder Lake processors are good for gaming, if not the best among the CPUs with the same configurations, according to a few benchmarks and experts.

It is pretty fast, delivers a steady FPS, and offers a lot of overclocking headroom. All these features allow it to provide the additional oomph required for playing games on a computer system.

Is Alder Lake Better than M1?

Well, apart from the power efficiency, the Intel Alder Lake processors can beat the Apple M1 Max chips in several aspects.

However, when you consider power efficiency, the Alder Lake uses as much as 110 watts or more under heavy workloads, as opposed to the M1, which sits comfortably under 45 watts.

How Much RAM Will Alder Lake Support?

Typically, the design of the Intel Alder Lake processors supports DDR4-3200 Random Access Memory by default. Apart from that, it will also support DDR5-4800, LPDDR5, and LPDDR4 memory, depending on the model of CPU.

For example, all the desktop Alder Lake-S CPUs will support up to 128 GB of DDR4-3200 or DDR5-4800 memory in dual channel mode.

Is Alder Lake Faster than Ryzen?

Yes, it is. The main reason behind this is that the Alder Lake CPUs belong to the 12th generation, but the AMD Ryzen 5000 series of processors, in particular, usually belong to the 4th generation and are designed to be used in consumer desktop computers.

Therefore, the Alder Lake processors are much faster than any Ryzen, though a few of them match but do not surpass their speed.

Will Windows 10 Run on Alder Lake?

Yes, it will, though it is true that the Alder Lake processors were designed for the Windows 11 operating system.

It was thought that the Windows 10 scheduler will not be up to the mark in addressing the performance and efficient core combination of the Alder Lake.

However, there will actually be little to no difference in performance even while gaming with the efficiency cores turned off.

Does Alder Lake Have a GPU?

Yes, the Alder Lake processors come with a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) integrated into them.

It is usually an Intel Xe Gen 12.2 GPU that is equipped with 32 execution units in the desktop processors and as many as 96 execution units in their mobile variants.

The base and boost clock frequencies of the GPU range between 0.7 GHz and 1.55 GHz, depending on the model.

How Good is Alder Lake Integrated Graphics?

Though it basically depends on the model and the number of execution units in the graphics processor, the Intel UHD Graphics used in the Alder Lake processors are quite good.

According to a few theoretical benchmarks, the performance of that GPU is on par with the AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 iGPUs. However, it may struggle a bit while playing demanding games even in low settings for the less optimized drivers.

Does Alder Lake Require a New Power Supply?

Yes, you will need one of the best power supplies, if not one of the best and new power supplies, for using the new Alder lake chips to their full potential.

This is primarily because these CPUs typically consume a lot of power consistently, especially while playing demanding games and under a heavy workload.

Conclusion

Ideally, there is a lot to talk about the Intel Alder Lake chips. Good for you, this article has covered almost every aspect of its design, specs and features so that you have a fair bit of idea about this 12th generation CPU.

You can very well figure out what kind of gaming and computing performance you can expect from it.