Our understanding of Intel’s 13th generation processors, codenamed “Raptor Lake,” continues to take shape ahead of its planned launch this fall. The current generation of Alder Lake chipset motherboards did as well by adding initial support for them, and now an assumed slate of desktop processor line (as reported by Tom’s Hardware) suggests that Intel will rely on small efficiency cores (electronic cores) for its processors for much of its performance gains.
Based on what Intel revealed, we know that the Raptor Lake processors will use the same CPU, GPU architecture and Intel 7 manufacturing process as Alder Lake. Large performance cores (P-cores) will be based on an architecture called “Raptor Cove”, though technical documents don’t feature Alder Lake “Golden Cove” islands. The cores will be based on the same Atom-derived Gracemont architecture used by Alder Lake. Large cores handle the heavy lifting and deliver the best performance for games and other applications that take advantage of good single-core performance, while electronic cores work on low-priority and back-end tasks, as well as workloads such as CPU-based video encoding and display. Tasks that can engage all of your CPU cores simultaneously. It’s hard to make accurate performance comparisons, but AnandTech’s references of isolated electronic cores suggest they’re about as fast as a 6th-generation Skylake mid-range CPU core most of the time.
Intel has also been confirmed that some Raptor Lake chips will have up to 24 physical cores, split across eight P cores and 16 E cores. Alder Lake processors have a maximum of eight cores, for a total of 16 physical cores.
This purported CPU list is based on that knowledge, indicating that high-end Raptor Lake Core i9 CPUs will all have 16 cores, compared to eight cores currently, and all Raptor Lake Core i7s will have eight cores as the Alder Lake i7s include on eight cores. or four. Clusters of four or eight cores will also arrive for the first time via the Core i5 layer. The current generation i5-12600 (non-K), 12500 and 12400 processors don’t have any E cores, while the i5-13600 and 13500 are said to have eight E cores, the i5-13400 will come with four. The only Raptor Lake chip with no The cores appear to be the i3-13100, which remains a quad-core processor with all P-cores.
The “add more cores” approach is in line with Intel’s strategy to increase the performance of its 8th, 9th and 10th generation processors. These were all based on a version of Skylake’s 2015-era architecture and the company’s 14nm manufacturing process, but the company has been steadily adding more cores to counteract AMD’s success with its line of Ryzen processors. Although Intel uses the same manufacturing process as Alder Lake and Raptor Lake, it becomes easier to manufacture larger, faster chips in larger quantities as chip throughput improves and the number of defects increases.
Thirteenth generation chips are listed at the same TDP levels as their 12th generation counterparts, although the CPU core frequencies are off for all chips except the i3-13100. Turbo Boost frequencies will likely be slightly higher than 12th-generation CPUs, so Intel can still claim the single-chain performance boost. However, when all cores are loaded at the same time, you may not be able to run at Alder Lake speeds and remain within Intel’s default power envelope. As with Alder Lake, increasing the power limits from Intel’s default settings should significantly increase the performance of most of these chips at the cost of (sometimes disproportionately) higher power consumption and temperatures.
AMD’s forthcoming Zen 4 CPU architecture will still use a more traditional design, with different numbers of “P-cores” (AMD doesn’t call it that, but for consistency, it’s helpful to think of it that way). Early and very serious rumors suggest that the Zen 5 could have a hybrid design, with the Zen 5 P cores and E cores based on a modified version of Zen 4, but AMD hasn’t confirmed this, and we probably won’t all get official news on the Zen 5 until next year At the earliest.
These hybrid CPU architectures have intermittently caused issues with outdated or obscure software, including some older games and test software which, for one reason or another, interprets the presence of a second CPU architecture as the presence of a second physical computer. But over time, these problems become fixed via Windows patches and app updates, and at least some PCs will allow you to circumvent them in the short term by turning off electronic cores.
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