Intel’s Foveros technology allows the chip maker to deliver processors featuring CPU cores spanning multiple architectures. This allows, for example, a set of low-power, energy-efficient CPU cores to be combined with a set of power-hungry, higher-performance cores.

So far Intel has only unveiled one product that uses this design — the upcoming Intel Lakefield processor that will power mobile devices like Microsoft’s Surface Neo dual-screen tablet.

But according to information leaked by members of Chinese forums, Intel may be bringing similar designs to its desktop processors soon.

An unannounced line of desktop processors code-named “Alder Lake S” are said to include 80 watt to 125 watt desktop processors that use a new LGA1700 socket and which will be available with up to 16 CPU cores… including 8 high-performance and 8 energy-efficient cores:

Alder Lake S (8+8+1)125WLGA1700
Alder Lake S (8+8+1)80WLGA1700
Alder Lake S (6+0+1)80WLGA1700

To break down the numbers in parenthesis, the first digit is “big” CPU cores; the second is “small” CPU cores, and the third is for the GPU, indicating that these will have entry-level Intel integrated graphics.

If the idea of combining “big” and “small” CPU cores in a single chip sounds familiar, that’s because ARM has been doing this for years with its big.LITTLE designs which enable chips that can balance performance and power consumption depending on what they’re being asked to do.

Often the advantage of multi-core chips with multiple architectures is that you may not need a energy-sucking, high-performance chip for some activities. So why not switch to a more efficient set of CPU cores to extend battery life or cut your energy bill when you don’t need to be running at full speed? But for some tasks, phones, tablets, or other computers may be able to leverage all of a chip’s CPU cores (and threads) for quick bursts of performance that might exceed what you could get using just the “big” CPU cores on their own.

There’s no word on when these Alder Lake chips will hit the street, but VideoCardz speculates that these could be positioned as 12th-gen Intel Core chips, which suggests we could be waiting a while.

via momomo_us, ghost_motley, and ppt

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5 replies on “Rumor: Intel “Alder Lake-S” could be a 16-core desktop processor (with big.LITTLE-like design)”

  1. I am perfectly happy with the present approach of lowering the clock speed and voltage to each of the 8 cores until the load picks up. I have no problem with burning 10 watts doing no real work. For me that’s $10/year for 24/7 operation.

    1. Exactly.
      x86-64 has failed on gadgets and phone’s, but it might be viable on larger tablets and laptops. So that’s where I see this thing being aimed at.

      Then again, something like a 5W Low Power 4-core-Atom (X8750) running 24/7, with access to a 25W Medium Power 4-core-i7 (8665U) for burst periods would’ve been the best they could muster. At least on their 14nm (+++) lithography, for an Ultrabook device.

      I’d like to see how that would compare to their own Core M/Y chipset such as the Core i7-1051Y or the Core i7-8500Y. Both of which are solid 15W chipsets.

  2. It only took Intel 10 years to innovate!

    On another note, this should have been done back when they had Atom processors. Put 4+2+1 with 2 being m3 cores and 1 being an ultra low voltage core just to keep the phone running when idle and that could have kept Windows phone a viable option.

    1. Windows Phones never used Intel CPU’s actually. Only a handful of Android phones actually used it, the most notable ones being the ASUS ZenFone and the Motorola Razr I. I had the chance to try out one of those phones extensively and I was actually quite satisfied with the performance and power consumption of Intel’s Atom smartphone SoC’s. Performance and battery life was pretty comparable to the ARM competition at the time. I really wish Intel would’ve kept their smartphone SoC’s going. I always dreamed of an x86 Windows Phone though that when docked it becomes a full Windows 10 desktop while in undocked mode it’s the standard Windows Phone UI.

  3. Something like this would be great for running home server software on your desktop. It would really be just what we need for combining heavy rendering, file sharing, and packet routing, into just one box with just one power cord.
    That is, if you can leave it on 24/7 and have it sip power with all the big cores shut down.

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