Intel Alder Lake processors could bring big changes – but you'll have to wait until the end of 2021

(Image credit: / Alexander Tolstykh)

Intel has said that Alder Lake processors – its 12th-gen models, which will follow on from next-gen Rocket Lake chips – will be launching later in 2021.

The announcement came in a press release detailing Intel’s recent (Q2) financial results, in which the company observed: “In the second half of 2021, Intel expects to deliver a new line of client CPU’s (code-named ‘Alder Lake’), which will include its first 10nm-based desktop CPU, and a new 10nm-based server CPU (code-named ‘Sapphire Rapids’).”

What we’ve heard previously from the rumor mill about Alder Lake was that the desktop processors would be out either in late 2021, or perhaps early 2022 – so it’s good to hear the former will be the case, naturally.

That said, of course we can’t rule out slippage from that intended launch timeframe, and Intel obviously says that H2 of 2021 is ‘expected’ rather than anything concrete right now.

That’s especially the case given Intel’s recent history with delayed silicon, but certainly the intention is to get Alder Lake chips out in 2021, which given that 11th-gen Rocket Lake is also supposed to be looking at an (early) 2021 debut, that would mean a double-whammy of Intel CPU launches next year. (While there has been chatter about Rocket Lake emerging late 2020, we can’t see that happening so close to Comet Lake, the current-gen chips which have only been on sale for a few months now, after all).

So, at least there’s no (apparent) further delay in moving to 12th-gen Alder Lake desktop silicon on 10nm for Intel, but the same can’t be said about 7nm, which has been delayed (again) as we’ve seen.

Big changes

Intel’s Rocket Lake will, by all accounts, be a pretty fleeting affair then, given that it will (theoretically) be quickly superseded by Alder Lake, with 12th-gen bringing in a good number of big changes. Not just with the move to 10nm, but also, the rumor mill holds, with a massive change to the fundamental architecture of Intel chips (and even their physical design and shape).

Rumor has it that Alder Lake will use Intel’s Hybrid Technology, meaning the use of configurations of high-powered and low-powered cores, similar to ARM’s big.LITTLE architecture.

The ability to run off very power-efficient small cores will likely be a massive boon for laptops, although exactly what this architectural change will mean for Alder Lake desktop CPUs isn’t clear (but remember, this is all still chatter off the CPU grapevine at the moment – and another rumor floating around is that DDR5 support will come in with 12th-gen).

Via Tom’s Hardware

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).