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Intel Unveils Alder Lake 12th Gen Core CPUs, Lays Claim To PC Gaming Performance Crown

Intel Innovation Digital, which marks a welcome returned to the company’s developer-focused trade show events, kicked off this morning with a big formal unveiling of the company’s all new hybrid processor architecture, known by the codename Alder Lake. Intel’s 12th Gen Core series processors, aka Alder Lake, have previously been detailed by the company in terms of its hybrid big.Little style architecture of performance cores and efficiency cores, the flagship chip of which Intel is officially launching today as the Core i9-12900K. The new Intel Core i9-12900K is a 16-core CPU comprised of 8 performance cores and 8 efficiency cores with 24-threads for execution. However, in addition to its unique hybrid architecture with heavily beefed-up cache memory resources, the company’s 12th Gen platform as a whole brings a wealth of cutting-edge desktop PC features and connectivity, as well as claims of a major performance uplift in a myriad of workloads and use cases.

Meet The Alder Lake 12th Gen Core Family

The above table is a bit of an eye chart, so I’ve trimmed it down somewhat and left the critical specs. Intel’s 12th Gen Core family currently consists of six new processors, with three base configs without integrated graphics, and three more with Intel UHD Graphics 770 on board, which Intel notes is based on its potent Xe graphics core from its 11th Gen Tiger Lake architecture, versus its forthcoming Arc Alchemist GPU architecture. As you can see, we’ve got 16-core, 12-core and 10-core versions with Core i9, Core i7 and Core i5 SKUs, respectively. With either 8 or 6 Performance Cores on board, along with another 8 or 4 Efficiency Cores, Alder Lake chips will support anywhere from 16 to 24 threads for multithreaded workloads. Intel is claiming a 19% performance uplift for its Performance Cores alone, versus its previous gen Rocket Lake architecture. Couple that lift with Alder Lake’s additional E-Cores for lower priority tasks, and Thread Director technology in Windows 11 for runtime level instruction mix and scheduler optimization, and Intel is laying claim to not only the “world’s fastest gaming processor,” but also major gains in productivity and content creation workloads as well. More on that shortly, but first let’s look at what will be the foundation of Alder Lake with Intel’s new 600 Series chipset platform.

Alder Lake And Intel Z690 Chipset Bring The Latest In PC Platform Connectivity And Bandwidth

Other key advancements for Alder Lake lie in its plumbing, so to speak. Intel’s 12th Gen Core series family will also bring with it 16 lanes of PCI Express 5.0 bandwidth off the root CPU complex, as well as support for new DDR5-4800MHz memory for a big bandwidth uplift and 2X the IO throughput, according to Intel.

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With that additional throughput, the new Intel Z690 motherboard chipset also brings up to another 12 lanes of PCIe 4 connectivity, the latest Wi-Fi 6E connectivity, Thunderbolt 4, and up to 8 DMI (Direct Media Interface) 4.0 lanes for amped-up bandwidth between the Alder Lake CPU root and the Z690 IO complex. In short, in addition to Alder Lake’s overall performance uplift, Intel’s 12th Gen Core series platform in general brings the latest and most complete desktop feature set in terms of IO connectivity and bandwidth. But let’s look at some of the performance claims Intel is making today, ahead of independent testing and reviews that will be disclosed in the coming weeks.

Intel Claims Alder Lake Will Dominate PC Gaming, Bring Big Gains In Content Creation And Productivity

In terms of gen-on-gen performance, Intel is claiming big gains for gaming, but also versus chief rival AMD’s Ryzen 5000 Series as well.

As you can see here, versus AMD’s Ryzen 9 5950X 16-core/32-thread chip, Intel notes Alder Lake can deliver up to 20% better performance, depending on game title, though a very few outliers will be on par or slightly behind. And when it comes to Content Creation workloads, like tasks from Adobe Suite (Lightroom, After Effects, Premier), Intel is comparing versus its previous 11th Gen Core series, showing massive gains from 32 up to 100%. It’s interesting Intel stayed with a gen-on-gen compare here versus comparing to Ryzen again, though not too surprising, as highlighting your competitor’s brand too much can work against you as well.

Finally, on pricing and availability, Intel notes “unlocked 12th Gen Intel Core desktop processors are available now for pre-order from participating OEMs, channel partners, and retailers. Broad availability will start Nov. 4 with more than 140 customers in more than 30 countries expected to add the new processors to their lineups by the end of the year. Pricing starts at $264 to $589 for the unlocked desktop processors.”

Either way, what folks really want to see is how Alder Lake performance shakes out in independent review testing, so be sure to tune into places like HotHardware for follow-up coverage in that area in the days ahead.

Intel Innovation Returns With More Big Disclosures In Supercomputing And The Cloud

Another place to stay tuned today is Intel’s Innovation event where the company is making a number of new disclosures, including announcements in the areas of Super Computing where its Ponte Vecchio GPU and Sapphire Rapids Xeon CPUs will be powering Argonne National Labs’ new Aurora supercomputer at a massive 2 Exaflops of peak compute throughput. It will interesting to watch and listen to what Intel CEO and self-proclaimed geek Pat Gelsinger has to say about the company’s direction, design-wins for Alder Lake, advancement in Cloud data center deployments with key partners and more. It’ll be a good take for sure and telling of the company’s significant turn-around. Intel’s geek is indeed back it seems, on a number of fronts. Alder Lake, Ponte Vecchio and Sapphire Rapids are evidence of a renewed level of execution that the company is universally recognized for.

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