Intel’s Alder Lake: The Phoenix Emerges

Ever since Intel gained each race within the universe with the launch of Sandy Bridge again in 2011, they’ve been slacking. AMD’s tortoise wanted six lengthy years, but it surely overtook the sleeping Intel hare in 2017, forsaking lots of room for jokes at Intel’s expense.

However Intel, like all different giant tech firms, does have a stable engineering staff tucked away. And the one factor that engineers want is time. Intel has been trailing AMD for 4 years, however that modified with the Alder Lake CPU launch a couple of nights in the past.

The New CPU Meat and Potatoes

In the end, Intel has launched Alder Lake. New CPUs! With higher efficiency, higher costs, increased core counts, a mixture of cores, DDR5 assist, and extra!

This new household of CPUs has numerous issues going for it, so allow us to have a look.

The Good of Intel’s Alder Lake

Alder Lake is launching with 3 CPUs:

These costs are aimed on the AMD set of 5600X/5800X/5900X CPUs, and Intel scores efficiency wins for all three matchups. That’s proper! Gasp out loud with marvel and amazement, as we see cheap costs AND good efficiency from Intel!

And whereas all three new CPUs win their matchups, Intel’s i9-12900K additionally snatched the “Greatest Gaming Efficiency” crown. As such, high-end CPUs at the moment are Intel’s kingdom.

These new CPUs have a blended core rely, with “P” efficiency cores and “E” environment friendly cores. In idea, because of this Intel can have its cake and eat it, with a really excessive thread rely when multi-threaded efficiency is required, and low energy consumption when the workloads are mild.

The Meh of Intel’s Alder Lake

Taking again the efficiency crown is nice, however the lead over the competitors is just not that massive. The typical lead is between ~5-10%, relying on the workload.

That is glorious if you’re shopping for a brand new system, or upgrading from a really outdated one. For many who already personal a contemporary system, significantly in case your typical workload goes to get solely a minor efficiency enhance, the efficiency uplift is kind of meh.

Alder Lake boasts DDR5 RAM assist, however at present speeds and latencies, DDR5 is just not price getting over DDR4. This isn’t the CPU’s fault, to make sure; the swap from DDR3 to DDR4 was the identical at first. However those that expect severe RAM-related efficiency must look forward to DDR5 to mature. Furthermore, DDR5 RAM is hardly in-stock, and is triple (sure, 3X) the value of DDR4.

The Unhealthy of Intel’s Alder Lake

Regardless of having a subset of “E”fficient cores, Intel appears to have thrown warning to the wind on the subject of energy draw. These new CPUs should not power-efficient, and the official “125W TDP” is a merciless joke with no relation to actuality.

Excessive energy draw means excessive temperatures, and even with a beefy HSF cooling it, these beauties can hit (literal) boiling temperatures. Ouch. To be clear, this excessive energy draw is generally for the i9-12900K, the nuclear thermopylon of this era. The opposite two CPUs are way more cheap in energy/temps.

The brand new CPUs additionally include a brand new socket, which is anticipated from Intel (snark supposed). Sadly, the brand new LGA1700 socket has barely completely different mounting bracket dimensions, so your LGA1200-compatible stuff is not appropriate.

That stated, we shall be recommending HSFs/AIOs from producers which can be making a gift of 1700 mounting brackets without spending a dime, or promoting them for very low-cost:

Going Ahead

As soon as these CPUs can be found within the nations we’re protecting, we shall be including them to the suitable tiers of our essential chart: Excellent to Extremist.

We will even be including:

  1. Suitable Z690 DDR4 motherboards
  2. Suitable HSFs (as an example, a swap from the Noctua D15 AM4 to the usual D15)

With DDR5 RAM being so expensive (or outright unavailable) at launch, we’ll stick to DDR4 for a short time.


It’s at all times glorious when a number of firms supply competing merchandise, and Intel’s newly launched CPUs are incredible. Allow us to hope that we’ll quickly be seeing some graphics playing cards accessible to pair with them!


Why do all the brand new motherboard descriptions in our essential chart sound like somebody was listening to some melancholy music when writing? That’s absolutely a coincidence.


This Reddit megathread is a incredible approach to see all of the opinions in a single place. Kudos to /r/{hardware}, and I want I had extra of those “arrow up” factors to present.

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