Intel’s first 12th-gen Core processors for mobile devices are expected to hit the streets later this year. Based on the company’s new Alder Lake designs, the chips will be different from most previous-gen Core processors in that they’ll combine “big” and “small” CPU cores on a single chip.

A leaked product slide from earlier this year gave us an idea of what that could mean for Intel’s processor lineup: the company appears to be planning to launch close to 20 different chips with models ranging from 5-7 watt tablet chips to 45-55 watt processors for high-performance gaming laptops or mobile workstations. Now a few more details have emerged via listings on a Taiwanese website.

Alder Lake processors will use Intel’s “Foveros” 3D stacking technology to package high-performance CPU cores based on “Golden Cove” architecture on the same chip as energy-efficient, Intel Atom-based “Gracemont” CPU cores.

Similar to ARM’s big.LITTLE technology, this allows chips to leverage the right CPU cores for the task at hand. Need more horsepower to complete a job? The big cores kick in and deliver a burst of performance. Running less resource-intensive jobs on your computer? The lower-power Atom cores can probably handle things, extending your laptop or tablet’s battery life.

Alder Lake isn’t Intel’s first crack at this sort of heterogenous computing architecture. The company launched an Intel Lakefield processor with one high-performance “Sunny Cove” core and four energy-efficient “Tremont” cores last year. But while it proved the 3D stacking technology worked, the chip delivered underwhelming performance and Intel has discontinued it just a year after launch.

If the leaked product slide is accurate, it looks like Intel is being much more ambitious this year, with a set of chips arranged across six different product segments, half of which are entirely new (marked by an asterisk below):

  • *Intel M5 – 5W-7W chips for tablets with Lakefield-like 1 big + 4 small core designs and 48 or 64 GPU execution units
  • Intel U9 – 9W – 15W chips for ultra-thin laptops including 2 big + 4 or 8 small cores and 80eu or 96 eu graphics (there may also be a 1 big + 4 small + 48eu chip in this range)
  • Intel U15 – 12W/15W/20W mainstream laptop chips with similar properties to the U9, but higher power consumption (and presumably higher clock speeds)
  • *Intel U28 – 20W – 28W “performance” chips with either 4 big + 8 small or 6 big + 8 small cores and 96eu graphics
  • Intel H45 – 35W – 45W “thin enthusiast” chips for gaming laptops and workstations with 4 big + 8 small or 6 big + 8 small CPU cores + 96eu graphics
  • *Intel H55 – 45-55 watt processors with 8 big and 8 small cores + 32eu graphics, likely because these chips are designed for “muscle laptops” where they’ll be paired with discrete graphics (there may also be a 4 big + 8 small core version)

Intel groups the M5 and U9 chips under the Alder Lake-M family, while the U15, U28, and H45 are considered Alder Lake-P chips. The H55 chips are are part of the Alder Lake-S family. While Intel usually restricts “S” series chips to desktops, it seems like the H55 processors are part of the company’s mobile lineup, despite being BGA socketed chips.

The new details, spotted by @95550pro, include details about the interposers or the ways the sockets connect, with Alder Lake-M chips used BGA1781, Alder Lake-P using BGA1744, Alder Lake-S (H55) using BGA1964, and other Alder Lake S chips using LGA1700.

via TechPowerUp 

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  1. Intel’s mobile chip strategy seems sound.
    I am wondering about their desktop chip strategy where power consumption is not as big of an issue.

  2. Why would they not just fix the small core count at say 2 cores and have the remainder as big ones? For me I do not need high compute efficiency when running on battery, I just need to edit a edit a document, browse email or the web. I do need raw performance when plugged into the wall. If the 2 small cores can’t deliver amazing battery life compared to Ryzen then I think their product is DOA.

    1. Are there any details of the shared L3 cache size? For my use cases it has to be at least 16MB to be competitive with Ryzen.

  3. The 9-15w lineup with 2C+8c with 80-96eu sounds interesting. Presumably those 80eu and 96eu GPUs are Intel XE.

    It seems like this is replacing the 7-15w UP4-class chips that we currently see in the Tiger Lake lineup. Currently those are Hyperthreading chips (4 core, 8 threads).

    I wonder if these new 2C+8c chips are going offer hyperthreading on the small cores (8 core, 16 thread?). Somehow I doubt it.

    Even without hyperthreading, it should be an interesting lineup.

    1. Yeah, earlier leaks suggest only the big “C” cores will get hyperthreading, not the smaller “c” cores. So 2C + 4c = 8 threads and 2C + 8c = 12 threads.