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Leaked Intel Alder Lake benchmark brings hybrid model into question

Following an unfavorable leaked Alder Lake benchmark earlier this week, another benchmark has been leaked through Geekbench. Unlike the previous benchmark, this one was testing processor performance exclusively, and the results are more disappointing they we expected. However, there’s a little more going on than the final result.

The leaked test is for the Core i7-12700. Note that this is the non-K model, meaning the processor isn’t unlocked for overclocking. In the Geekbench 5 CPU test, the processor earned a single-core score of 1,595 and a multi-core score of 10,170. Although multi-core performance provides a big boost compared to the previous generation, the single-core result doesn’t stack up.

Geekbench result for i7-12700.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800X, for example, earned a single-core score of 1,678, as well as a multi-core score of 10,653. That’s only a small lead over Intel’s upcoming processor, but the Ryzen 7 5800X released almost 10 months ago. The cheaper Ryzen 5 5600X performed far below the Core i7-12700 in the multi-core test, with a score of 8,668, but matched the Ryzen 7 5800X in the single-core test.

What’s interesting about this benchmark is how the single- and multi-core results compare together. The new Alder Lake chip shows about an 8% improvement in the multi-core test over last-gen’s Core i7-11700, which is respectable for a processor that hasn’t released yet. Still, the single-core score is lower for the Alder Lake chip.

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That bring into question Intel’s hybrid strategy with Alder Lake. It combines performance (P) and efficient (E) cores to boost multi-core performance, but the leaked benchmark suggests that could come at the cost of single-core performance. There are some other interesting things to note about the benchmark, though.

Intel's hybrid compute cluster model for Alder Lake.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

It lists the Core i7-12700 as having eight cores and 16 threads. Intel hasn’t confirmed the specs of this processor, but rumors suggest that it will come with eight P-cores and four E-cores. The P-cores include hyperthreading and the E-cores don’t, giving the processor a total of 12 cores and 20 threads.

This benchmark could show the processor with the E-cores disabled. The E-cores are mostly there to help in multi-core workloads, so if they are disabled, that shouldn’t make a big difference in terms of single-core performance. However, multi-core performance is already solid, and if the E-cores are brought back into the fold, it could increase even more.

That’s speculation at this point, however. This is only a single benchmark, and it doesn’t line up with what rumors suggest about the processor. The interesting note is on single-core performance, however. Given Intel’s problems with moving past its 14nm node, it’s not out of the question that single-core performance was sacrificed to achieve higher multi-core performance.

Multi-core workloads are where hybrid architectures shine, as they’re able to properly delegate tasks to a core where they’ll see the most benefit. Intel’s Thread Director feature should help with how tasks are assigned on Windows 11 as well. This benchmark was run on Windows 10.

Regardless, Alder Lake has a lot to prove for Intel. The company has had some issues with consumer processors over the last few years, as AMD continues to assert its desktop dominance. Alder Lake could change that, but if this leaked benchmark is accurate, that doesn’t look likely.

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Jacob Roach
Lead Reporter, PC Hardware
Jacob Roach is the lead reporter for PC hardware at Digital Trends. In addition to covering the latest PC components, from…
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