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Intel Alder Lake-S leak reveals specs of its 16-core, 24-thread flagship

An engineering sample of Intel’s upcoming Alder Lake-S processors was obtained by Igor’s Lab, offering a look at clock speeds, core counts, and power draw from Intel’s next-generation chips. The leaked processor is tentatively named the Intel Core-1800, referencing the base clock speed of 1,800MHz the processor is currently able to hit.

It’s an engineering sample, so the base clock speed will go up. The leak shows that the processor can hit a boost clock of 4.6GHz on the first two cores, 4.4GHz on three to four cores, 4.2GHz on five to six cores, and 4.0GHz on seven to eight cores. This processor, which is apparently the most powerful out of the lineup, features 16 cores and 24 threads and a base thermal design power (TDP) of 125 watts.

Only eight of those cores are “big” cores, though. Intel is using a hybrid design with Alder Lake, using new, fast cores — named Golden Cove — for intensive tasks while employing slower Atom-based cores — named Gracemont — for simple or background tasks. The leaked processor comes with eight Golden Cove cores with 16 threads and eight Gracemont cores with eight threads, for a total of 16 cores and 24 threads. According to the leak, the Gracemont cores run at 3.4GHz for the first four cores and 3.0GHz for the subsequent cores.

This hybrid model is popular with mobile-based CPUs from ARM and has shown up in the Apple M1 chip. Intel is the first to bring the “breakthrough CPU architecture” to the desktop market. A leaked slide from Intel claims the new processors offer a 20% increase in instructions per clock and up to a 2x performance uplift in multithreaded workloads. The slide also shows the new range will support DDR5, PCIe 5.0, Thunderbolt 4, and Wi-Fi 6.

To use the new features, you’ll need a Z690 motherboard. The leak confirms that Alder Lake will use the LGA1700 socket, making Alder Lake incompatible with Z490 and Z590 boards that use the LGA1200 socket.

The leak shows a bright future for Intel, which it needs. Intel has long struggled to move away from its 14nm process. The company launched the Rocket Lake product line earlier this year using this process, and it was met with mediocre reviews due to subpar performance and high power draw. Alder Lake features the new 10nm process, which could help catapult Intel to the front of the desktop market.

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