Intel hints at October 27 launch for Alder Lake CPUs, so AMD might want to get its skates on

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

Intel’s chief executive has dropped a subtle hint that Alder Lake processors might be launched at the chip giant’s Intel ON event at the end of October.

As flagged up by VideoCardz, on yesterday’s Intel Accelerate webcast, CEO Pat Gelsinger described the Intel ON event – due to happen in San Francisco on October 27-28, but also virtually – using the term ‘fully hybrid’, which seems to be a reference to Intel’s Hybrid Technology.

Hybrid Technology is Intel’s take on ARM’s big.LITTLE architecture first seen in Lakefield chips and set to be used in Alder Lake, where normal ‘big’ (performance) cores will be paired up with ‘small’ (power-efficient) cores.

Intel ON will be about all manner of things, but that includes ‘PC solutions’ and the mention of ‘hybrid’ seems to suggest Alder Lake could be unveiled, particularly given that the rumor mill has already floated the idea that Intel is looking at a launch date around the end of October.

So, this fits with existing speculation, and it also makes sense in terms of Intel’s overall schedule. With Alder Lake silicon to be out late in 2021, an initial reveal coming at the end of October would seem to be about the right timing before the chips actually hit shelves (possibly the following month).

Then again, Gelsinger could be talking about something else of a ‘hybrid’ nature in Intel’s plans, so clearly enough we shouldn’t get carried away here just because this suggestion seems to fit with other nuggets from the rumor mill. Ultimately, only time will tell, but if Intel’s CEO is indeed hinting at just this, we only have three months to wait before we find out the true nature of Alder Lake CPUs.

Another interesting point here is that the grapevine has already asserted that the flagship Alder Lake processor will have 8 big cores and 8 small ones (for a total of 16-cores), and a render displayed during the Intel Accelerate webcast showed a 12th-gen chip with 8 large cores and 8 littles ones on the end, again providing a suggestion that the rumor mill is correct.

Sample chips of the purported Core i9-12900K with 8+8 cores are reportedly being sold in China, and we’ve seen a lot of leakage around these pre-release samples in recent times.

Analysis: Alder Lake demands a timely – and strong – AMD response

Intel has been long known to be scheduling a late in 2021 launch for Alder Lake, and as mentioned, October 27 fits with what we’ve heard from the rumor mill, too. It appears Team Blue is staying on target with its next-gen chips, then, and what’s interesting in the overall CPU sphere is that there appears to be no whisper of any response incoming from AMD.

While Ryzen processors have produced storming sales in recent times on the desktop, AMD can’t afford to rest on its laurels. The danger is that Intel is taking a whole new approach with the aforementioned Hybrid Technology and its incoming 12th-gen range, with speculation contending that Alder Lake processors are going to be quite something.

We’ve seen leaks which suggest that the Alder Lake flagship could be a Ryzen 5950X killer – salt handy, of course – and rumors that the low-power cores should provide plenty of pep in terms of overall performance, and aren’t just there for laptop users (and better battery longevity). Then there’s the further consideration that Windows 11 is apparently being honed to run better with Alder Lake’s new hybrid design.

All of this makes for a potentially formidable Intel launch that could take the wind out of Ryzen sales, with no clear answer on the horizon from AMD yet. Next-gen Ryzen processors based on Zen 4 aren’t expected until later in 2022, and with no Zen 3+ refresh in the offing according to the rumor mill, the expected response from Team Red is a 5000 XT revamp.

The worry is that may not be enough, looking at what Alder Lake promises, even if AMD is planning to put its 3D Chiplet technology to use in a 5000 XT range. And what’s more, if they’re really happening, XT variants will need to get here in a hurry, otherwise Intel could really push its advantage even harder with the 12th-gen launch.

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).