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Alder Lake Extends Battery Life

September 14, 2021

Author: Aakash Jani

Alder Lake is Intel’s first mainstream PC processor with a hybrid architecture, combining big and small cores to increase both performance and battery life. It contains two new CPU designs: Golden Cove, which the company calls a performance core, and Gracemont, which it calls an efficiency core. Boasting up to eight of each type, the processor will boost multithread CPU performance by 50% over the earlier Rocket Lake. It also moves threads between the performance and efficiency cores to extend battery life.

For the first time in four years, Intel is converging its desktop and mobile architectures to a single product family. Using Intel 7 manufacturing technology (previously called 10nm Enhanced SuperFin or 10++), it plans to build three unique die for Alder Lake: one for desktop, one for mobile, and one for ultra-mobile. Alder Lake succeeds Rocket Lake in desktop PCs and Tiger Lake in laptops. We expect the mobile and ultra-mobile parts to reach customers by 4Q21 for the holiday shopping season. As Intel 7 matures, the company will ramp production of its desktop products, which we expect to arrive by 2Q22.

Alder Lake isn’t Intel’s first hybrid attempt. Lakefield combined one Sunny Cove core with four smaller Tremont cores. It used Foveros technology to create a stacked chiplet die. But few OEMs adopted the platform because it lagged competitors in performance and power efficiency, quickly leading to its end-of-life (EOL) earlier this year.

Despite its commercial failure, Lakefield was a learning opportunity for hybrid computing. For its second attempt, Intel raised the core count while keeping the TDP as low as 9W for some models. It plans to use its mobile and ultra-mobile Alder Lake products to fend off emerging threats from Arm-compatible PC processors such as Apple’s M1.

Subscribers can view the full article in the Microprocessor Report.

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