Five things Intel has shown with Alder Lake-S

Intel Alder Lake-S had raised many doubts. This new generation of high-performance processors promised to mark a major turning point in the industry, thanks to the integration of a high-efficiency core block alongside the classic high-performance core block. Indeed, this meant, broadly speaking, an adaptation of the big.LITTLE model that had been reigning in the smartphone sector for a long time, and that Apple itself decided to transfer to its M1 series SoCs.

It was not a coincidence, and it was not a meaningless movement, but rather the opposite. As we tell you in our review of the Intel Core i9-12900K, Alder Lake-S it is the future made present. The reasons are obvious, this generation of processors allows us to enjoy the best of two very different worlds: the efficiency and high parallelization capacity of the high-efficiency cores, and the excellent single-wire performance of the high-performance cores.

Having both core blocks allows make better use of available space in the silicon chip, and in the encapsulation, and improve multi-thread performance without causing the processor consumption or operating temperatures to skyrocket. The result that the chip giant has achieved with Intel Alder Lake-S has been fantastic, and that it is a generation of CPUs that has just arrived and that marks such a great change that, in order to take full advantage of it, it will be necessary to overcome an optimization adaptation process.

The Intel Alder Lake-S processors have been able to begin to show their potential thanks to the efforts that Intel has carried out, both at the hardware and software level, so that Windows 11 is able to efficiently manage the two blocks of cores. We already told you at the time the role they play, in this sense, Intel Thread Director and Windows 11. However, there is still room for improvement, and it is only a matter of time before the high multithreading capacity of the Intel Core i9-12900K begins to be used optimally in more mundane applications.

After analyzing the Intel Core i9-12900K, I have been able to clarify many questions that I had before the analysis, and I have come to some important conclusions that I want to share with you in this article so that you are more clear about what the Intel Alder Lake-S generation means. , and what you have achieved in the high-performance x86 CPU industry. As always, if you have any questions you can leave them in the comments.

1.-Intel Alder Lake-S regains the leadership in IPC

When we talk about the Intel Alder Lake-S and IPC processors we must differentiate between their two blocks of cores. The high-efficiency cores, known as “E-cores”, use the Gracemont architecture, are manufactured in 10nm (Intel 7) and offer, thanks to the many improvements that Intel has introduced, similar performance to what we can expect from SkylakeThe best part is that they do this by occupying a quarter of the space that a Golden Cove core needs.

And speaking of Golden Cove, that’s the architecture used by the high-performance cores found in Intel Alder Lake-S processors, and it’s the one that has allowed Intel to regain the crown of single-threaded performance, thanks to its huge CPI. As we told you in our analysis, the Intel Core i9-12900K reached 800 points in CPU-Z and 1,888 points in Cinebench R23, figures that allow it to position well above any current processor. In fact, the difference compared to the Willow Cove architecture, present in the Tiger Lake processors (11th generation Core), is very large (336 points more).

This jump in terms of IPC is also noticeable in multithreaded performance, and allows Intel Alder Lake-S processors to offer similar or even higher performance than some processors that have a higher number of cores and threads. We must not forget that, in addition, this supposes a very important advantage in applications that depend more on single-wire performance, games included.

Alder Lake-S

2.-The high-efficiency cores have been a success

They were widely criticized and questioned, but after seeing the performance offered by the Intel Core i9-12900K in multithreading compared to the Ryzen 9 5950X, I am very clear that they have been a success. In Cinebench R23, in fact, the Intel chip was quite close to the Threadripper 2990WX processor, a chip that has 32 cores and 64 threads. Remember that the Intel Core i9-12900K has 16 cores and 24 threads. Both recorded 30,054 points and 26,883 points, respectively, and without overclock.

That a chip with high-efficiency cores demonstrates such high multithreaded performance is a sure sign that high-efficiency cores are not a worthless addition. They offer an excellent performance-consumption ratio, and they play a very important role in improving the multithreaded performance of Intel Alder Lake-S processors with minimal impact at the silicon level, and also at the level of consumption and generated heat, as we anticipated at the beginning of the article. .

On the other hand, we must not forget that high-efficiency cores can carry out very diverse tasks, and that help unleash high-performance cores loads that are normally in the background, and that can drag on system performance. These cores are also configurable and customizable, we can overclock them and deactivate them if we consider it necessary.

Alder Lake-S

3.-Intel Alder Lake-S is integrated into the most advanced platform of the moment

The platform has always been an important part of any new generation of processors, and the Intel Alder Lake-S series cannot be the exception. I already said it at the time when they asked me, before the arrival of this series, if it was better to opt for a Ryzen 5000 or an Intel Core 11 in the mid-range, and I commented that by platform I would go for the first, but for price-performance value I would opt for the Core i5-11400F.

With the arrival of Intel Alder Lake-S, the chip giant has managed to regain the lead in the high-performance x86 CPU industry, thanks to the huge leap in terms of IPC, the innovation represented by high-efficiency cores and Intel Thread Director as a «conductor», but has also succeeded in bringing to the general consumer market the most advanced platform that exists, thanks to the Z690 chipset.

Z690 chipset motherboards integrate a comprehensive set of specifications, including support for DDR5 memory, a next-generation standard that promises to break the 8 GHz barrier, and also offers a generous number of lines PCIE Gen4. For its part, Intel Alder Lake-S processors have a system with 16 PCIE lanes Gen5, another next-generation standard that is set to become the future of the sector, and that doubles the bandwidth of the PCIE Gen4 standard.

Alder Lake-S

4.-The monolithic core design has a long life ahead

AMD decided to solve the complexities of increasing the core count in x86 CPUs under a monolithic design by opting, as we know, for an MCM design. MCM designs consist of putting together several silicon chips to create a processor with a high core count, but that it is inexpensive and easy to transfer to the wafer.

When we saw the good results that AMD achieved, and the problems that Intel had to overcome the eight-core configurations by going beyond the 14nm node under a monolithic core design, we thought that in the end the chip giant was not going to have more. option to also adopt an MCM design. Obvious to say that we were wrong since Intel Alder Lake-S processors do not use an MCM design. All elements of the processor are integrated into a single silicon chip, and the high-performance, high-efficiency core blocks communicate directly over the same ring bus.

This same design will be maintained in future generations of Intel processors, provisionally known as Raptor Lake-S and Meteor Lake-S, which means that the monolithic core has a lot of life ahead of it. It will be interesting to see, yes, if Intel is able to integrate into Raptor Lake-S more than eight high-performance cores, or if, on the contrary, you decide to increase the maximum number of cores using the high-efficiency block.

Alder Lake-S

5.-Overclock within everyone’s reach, although it is less and less relevant

With the arrival of Intel Alder Lake-S processors, the chip giant has taken the opportunity to introduce improvements at the overclocking level that make it available to less experienced users. The XMP 3.0 profiles simplify the oveclock in the RAM memory, making raising the frequencies as easy as making a simple click on the profile we want to load, and we can also automatically overclock the processor through the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility tool.

The high IPC of Intel Alder Lake-S processors means that even a simple 100 MHz boost makes a noticeable difference in synthetic tests, but at the same time it increases the consumption significantly, and also the working temperatures, as we tell you in our analysis. This means that we have to assume a significant cost, in terms of thermal and energy efficiency, to achieve a little more performance.

With that in mind, it is clear to me that overclocking is today, more than ever, within the reach of anyone, and that if we buy an Intel Alder Lake-S “K” series processor we can get extra performance thanks to overclocking, but we will need to cool it. very well, and in real applications the difference in terms of performance will not be so marked. This, coupled with how well the turbo mode scales on these new Intel processors, leads me to the conclusion that overclocking is losing relevance for the user medior, although it obviously still represents an interesting value for the advanced user, and also for the most demanding users.

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