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Intel Alder Lake: What you need to know about Intel Core 12th Gen

Intel Alder Lake will become team blue’s 12th Generation of Intel Core processors, succeeding the Rocket Lake CPU range.

Rather than just providing an uplift in performance, Alder Lake packs some fascinating innovations, including a new hybrid architecture that allows Intel to use different kinds of cores on a single chip.

Alder Lake will utilise a combination of Golden Cove high-performance cores and Gracemont power-saving cores, in a similar approach to Apple’s M1 processor.

Intel has claimed Alder Lake will have the best performance per watt yet, with three different DDP configurations, at 125, 65 and 35 watts. The most powerful chip in the range, the i9-12900K, is claimed to be the “world’s best gaming processor” by Intel.

Alder Lake will also use a scalable client architecture, which means Intel will be able to scale down its processors for “Mobile” and “Ultra Mobile” devices in the future. Those aren’t expected until 2022 though, with the desktop chips coming first before the end of 2021.

Keep reading to find out everything we know about Intel Alder Lake.

Release date

Intel is yet to reveal the release date for Alder Lake desktop processors, although leaks have suggested they could launch as soon as 4th November.

The mobile variants of Alder Lake, which will be designed for laptops, aren’t expected to arrive until early 2022.

Price

Intel Alder Lake will be available both as a desktop processor and as a mobile CPU for laptops. There has been no official word on pricing right now, but we expect them to cost the same amount as past generations.

A recent retail listing leak has indicated that the i9-12900K could cost $669.99, which would be a hefty price jump on its predecessor.

Specs

Intel Alder Lake will be using a hybrid architecture with a mix of both high-performance and high-efficiency cores within the chips thread director. This should allow Intel to prioritise certain applications to ensure the desktop is running at top performance.

Intel will be using an Intel 7 process (also known as the 10nm Enhanced SuperFin) which the company revealed should give a 19% improvement per performance watt compared to the previous generation.

Intel Alder Lake will also support DDR5 memory for desktop PCs and LPDDR5 for laptops. The new chips will be using an LGA 1700 socket and Intel Xe will be used again as the GPU architecture. Alder Lake was scaled from desktop to mobile, to ensure that it supports all client segments.

Intel Alder Lake also has up to 16 cores, made up of 8 performance cores and 9 high-efficiency cores, which should allow for sufficient offload of background tasks.

The architecture will also be optimised for use on Windows 11 with Intel having coordinated with Microsoft to bake the new thread management software directly into the operating system. Sadly, we don’t know much about how it will run other operating systems, such as Linux.

Processor range

Intel will initially launch six processors in the Alder Lake desktop range. You can check them out in the table below.

Cores / ThreadsMax frequencyGraphicsProcessor base power
Intel Core i9-12900K16 / 245.2 GHzIntel UHD Graphics 770125W
Intel Core i9-12900KF16 / 245.2 GHzN/A125W
Intel Core i7-12700K12 / 205.0 GHzIntel UHD Graphics 770125W
Intel Core i7-12700KF12 /205.0 GHzN/A125W
Intel Core i5-12600K10 / 164.9 GHzIntel UHD Graphics 770125W
Intel Core i5-12600KF10 /164.9 GHzN/A125W

Benchmarks

Intel Alder Lake is not officially available yet, so there are no review samples currently available so we don’t have any benchmarks to share as of right now.

However, HotHardware has spotted that Twitter user @oneRaichu has claimed to be in possession of an Intel Core i9-12900K QS (qualification sample) processor and has put it through numerous benchmark tests.

When putting the processor through the Cinebench R20 benchmark, Twitter user @oneRaichu claims this processor hit 810 in the Single Thread test and 11,600 in the Multi-Thread test. These scores apparently surpassed the benchmark results of the AMD Ryzen 5950X, which is an impressive feat.

However, we’ll have to take all of the leaked benchmark results with of pinch of salt for now. Keep an eye on Trusted Reviews for our upcoming reviews.

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