Intel Alder Lake to Feature Performance & Efficient Cores, New Hybrid Scheduler

At Intel Architecture Day 2021, the first official specifications of the 12th Gen Core “Alder Lake-S” series are in. The architecture is to offer a new iteration of Intel Hybrid Technology featuring high-performance cores (called Performance Cores or P-Cores) and high-efficiency cores (called Efficient Cores, or E-Cores).

The architecture is to be offered in three different configurations, including 8 Performance Cores with 8 Efficient Cores, 6+8, and 2+8 configurations. Intel Alder Lake SKUs will therefore span from high-end desktop LGA1700 series all the way down to ultra-mobile devices. The flagship desktop SKU will be equipped with 16 cores and 24 threads since E-Cores do not support hyper threading.

Alder Lake CPUs will feature three types of Fabrics: Compute Fabric, I/O Fabric, and Memory Fabric. The details are not quite here yet, but one would assume that Compute Fabric will be comparable to Infinity Fabric building block, which is Scalable Data Fabric (SDF), while I/O Fabric can be compared to Scalable Control Fabric (SCF).

Intel also confirms its Alder Lake processors will support PCIe Gen5 interface up to 16 lanes, just enough to support next-gen GPUs with support for new interconnect standards. The CPU will also have four Gen4 lanes, totaling 20 lanes for the CPU itself. The 600-series chipset will additionally offer x12 PCIe Gen4 lanes and x16 PCIe Gen 3 lanes.

Intel is providing more details on its Efficient Cores. A quad-core configuration should offer 80% more performance than a dual-core Skylake CPU and require 80% less power at ISO performance (the same frequency).

Additionally, Intel confirmed their Alder Lake CPUs will feature a hardware thread scheduler that will communicate with the OS scheduler. This technology is called Intel Thread Director and it will dynamically adapt based on thermal and power settings.

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