Intel’s 12th Gen chips look to challenge Arm and Apple’s M1 CPUs later this year


Intel took the time at CES to offer a preview of its next major chip release: its hybrid Alder Lake chipsets, which — like its Lakefield predecessor — will utilize an approach similar to Arm’s BIG.little technology, using high-performance and high-efficiency cores in a single package to maximize both power and efficiency.

But where the Lakefield chips were largely focused on mobile devices, Intel says that Alder Lake will help serve as the foundation for future desktop and mobile processors instead, with the first products using this “most power-scalable system-on-chip” set to arrive in the second half of the year.

The 12th Gen Alder Lake chips will feature a “new, enhanced version” of the 10nm SuperFin designs already found in Intel’s 11th Gen Tiger Lake chips, with a combination of new high-power cores it’s calling Golden Lake and new Gracemont cores for efficiency. (Tiger Lake’s CPU cores were known as Willow Cove.)

But what’s notable is Intel’s scope here, with plans for hybrid chips that will scale far beyond simple mobile devices. The timing is particularly apt: the Alder Lake chips represent Intel’s closest product to Arm-based chips that are built like the game-changing M1 processors that Apple introduced in November. The fact that Intel is looking to scale its hybrid chips across its lineup could indicate that the company is looking to emulate Apple’s Arm success with its own technology going forward — an intriguing idea, particularly as Intel’s more traditional chip strategies continue to face delays.



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