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Intel Alder Lake release date, specs, and performance

  • Release date: Late 2021 (possibly as early as October)
  • Architecture: Golden Cove + Gracemont cores
  • Max Cores: 8+8 (24 threads)
  • GPU: Intel Xe (Gen 12.2)
  • Socket: LGA 1700
  • Process: Intel 7 (previously known as 10nm Enhanced SuperFin)
  • RAM support: DDR5 and DDR4

The Intel Alder Lake CPU lineup is the 12th generation processor family for desktops and laptops. It’s set for release in the second half of 2021—the rumour mill is currently split on exactly when, but the best guesses have them dropping sometime between September–November. The exact date isn’t known yet, but October is looking more and more likely, especially with Intel’s InnovatiON event taking place that month—the perfect time to get everyone up to speed with a completely new CPU architecture.

Alder Lake also represents a significant shift in how CPUs are pieced together, as it will be Intel’s first hybrid big.LITTLE design for desktops. It will also be the first desktop processor to use the Intel 7 production process, which was previously known as its 10nm Enhanced SuperFin process—the name recently changed when Intel realigned its naming scheme with other chip manufacturers

Intel Alder Lake slide

(Image credit: Intel)

The big.LITTLE terminology comes from Arm’s mixed use of high and low-performance cores in one chip package. And means, essentially, that Alder Lake combines Intel’s traditional high-performance CPU cores with its lower-spec Atom silicon. That’s why the core count above is written as 8+8, that’s eight big traditional cores and eight smaller, more efficient ones. 

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