Intel 12th-Gen Alder Lake Release Date, Benchmarks, Specifications, and All We Know

Intel’s 12th-Gen Alder Lake chip will bring the company’s hybrid architecture, which combines a mix of larger high-performance cores paired with smaller high-efficiency cores, to desktop x86 PCs for the first time. That represents a massive strategic shift as Intel looks to regain the uncontested performance lead against AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series processors. AMD’s Zen 3 architecture has taken the lead in our Best CPUs and CPU Benchmarks hierarchy, partly on the strength of their higher core counts. That’s not to mention Apple’s M1 processors that feature a similar hybrid design and come with explosive performance improvements of their own.

Intel’s Alder Lake brings disruptive new architectures and reportedly supports features like PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 that leapfrog AMD and Apple in connectivity technology, but the new chips come with significant risks. It all starts with a new way of thinking, at least as far as x86 chips are concerned, of pairing high-performance and high-efficiency cores within a single chip. That well-traveled design philosophy powers billions of Arm chips, often referred to as Big.Little (Intel calls its implementation Big-Bigger), but it’s a first for x86 desktop PCs.