Intel 12th gen Alder Lake CPUs are due in 2021, but not for everybody – here’s why

Intel i9-11900K Processor Shown Back and Front
(Image credit: Intel)

Intel is reportedly planning on releasing its 12th-gen Alder Lake-S Core K- and KF-series processors later this year, though the rest of the Alder Lake lineup won't be ready for a Q4 launch.

In addition to the K- and KF-series chips, Intel plans to release the Z690 chipset for motherboards this year, while the rest of the Alder Lake processor series and motherboards with H670, B660, and B610 chipsets planned for CES 2022 at the earliest.

The report, originally published by Igor's Lab, highlights that Intel is aiming to get its "enthusiast" chips and motherboard chipsets out first, with product releases for a broader audience taking a back seat for the time being.

Analysis: PCIe 5.0 component manufacturers might be holding up Alder Lake release

One of the biggest advantages that the 12th-gen Intel Alder Lake CPUs will have against rival AMD is Alder Lake will be the first to support PCIe 5.0. 

The improved specs for PCIe 5.0 will make everything faster and more efficient for sure, but there still needs to be components that support PCIe 5.0 in order for Intel's Alder Lake to take advantage of these improved speeds.

Supporting PCIe 5.0 is great and all, but if all the graphics cards, SSDs, and other components are stuck on PCIe 4.0, well, there isn't all that much of an advantage for Alder Lake then, is there? 

At the moment, manufacturers of these components are still lagging in getting these new, faster components to market. So Intel's decision to prioritize the enthusiast consumer base first is probably a reflection of the fact that there will be a pretty limited number of PCIe 5.0 components on the market later this year, and they'll likely be fairly high-end kit, at that.

Not only will we likely have to wait to get our hands on Alder Lake, PCIe 5.0 is still probably a longer ways off than many of us had anticipated.

John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 

Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.

Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).