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Intel leans towards more E-Cores for performance gains in leaked 13th Gen CPU lineup

Intel leans towards more E-Cores for performance gains in leaked 13th Gen CPU lineup
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And Core i7-12700.  A leaked list of Intel's 13th Gen Core desktop CPUs claims that most of them will get more E-Cores than their 12th Gen counterparts.
Enlarge / And Core i7-12700. A leaked list of Intel’s 13th Gen Core desktop CPUs claims that most of them will get more E-Cores than their 12th Gen counterparts.

Andrew Cunningham

Our understanding of Intel’s 13th Gen Core CPUs, codenamed “Raptor Lake,” continues to take shape ahead of their projected launch this fall. motherboards for current-generation Alder Lake chips Adding preliminary support for themand now a supposed list of desktop CPU lineup (as reported by Tom’s Hardware) suggests that Intel will rely on the small efficiency cores (E-Cores) of its CPUs for much of the performance increase.

Based on Intel’s disclosures, we know that Raptor Lake CPUs will use the same CPU and GPU architectures and Intel 7 manufacturing process as Alder Lake. However, its large performance cores (P-Cores) will be based on an architecture called “Raptor Cove”. Technical documents do not differentiate and Alder Lake’s “Golden Cove” cores. And the E-Cores will be based on the same Atom-derived Gracemont architecture that Alder Lake uses. The big cores handle the heavy lifting and offer the best performance for gaming and other apps that benefit from good single-core performance, while the E-cores handle lower-priority tasks and background tasks, as well as workloads like CPU-based video encoding and – Rendering jobs that can take up all the cores of your processor at the same time. It’s difficult to make accurate performance comparisons, but AnandTech’s benchmarks isolated from E-Cores indicate that they are about as fast as a mid-range 6th gen Skylake CPU core most of the time.

Intel has too Approved that some Raptor Lake chips will have up to 24 physical cores, spread across eight P-cores and 16 E-cores. Alder Lake CPUs reach a maximum of eight E-cores, which corresponds to a total of 16 physical cores.

This purported CPU list builds on that knowledge and suggests that top-end Raptor Lake Core i9 CPUs will feature all 16 E-cores instead of the current eight, and that Raptor Lake Core i7s will feature all eight E-cores , while Alder Lake i7s include either eight or four. Clusters of four or eight E cores will also make their way to the full Core i5 tier for the first time. Current-gen i5-12600 (non-K), 12500, and 12400 CPUs don’t have any E-cores at all, while the i5-13600 and 13500 will reportedly feature eight E-cores, and the i5-13400 will come with four. The only Raptor Lake chip with but E cores is apparently the i3-13100, which remains a quad-core CPU with all P cores.

The rumored Raptor Lake desktop CPU lineup.  E-Cores always come in groups of four, as a cluster of E-Cores shares cache and other resources, making it impossible to split them into smaller groups.

The rumored Raptor Lake desktop CPU lineup. E-Cores always come in groups of four, as a cluster of E-Cores shares cache and other resources, making it impossible to split them into smaller groups.

The “add more cores” approach is consistent with Intel’s strategy to increase the performance of its 8th, 9th, and 10th generation CPUs. These were all based on a 2015 version of the company’s Skylake architecture and 14nm manufacturing process, but the company steadily added more cores to counter AMD’s success with its Ryzen CPU lineup. Although Intel uses the same manufacturing process for both Alder Lake and Raptor Lake, it will become easier to mass-produce larger, faster chips as chip yields improve and defect counts decrease.

The 13th Gen chips are listed with the same TDP figures as their 12th Gen counterparts, although the base CPU frequencies are lower for all chips except the i3-13100. Turbo Boost frequencies will likely be slightly higher than 12th Gen CPUs, so Intel can still claim increased single-threaded performance. However, if all cores are downloaded at once, they may not be able to run at the speed of Alder Lake and remain within Intel’s standard performance envelope. As with Alder Lake, raising the performance limits from Intel’s default settings should improve performance for most of these chips at the expense of (sometimes disproportionately) higher power consumption and higher temperatures.

AMD’s forthcoming Zen 4 CPU architecture will still use a more traditional design, with a different number of identical “P-Cores” (AMD doesn’t call them that, but it’s helpful to see them that way for consistency). Early and extremely sketchy rumors suggested that Zen 5 could feature a hybrid design, with Zen 5 P-Cores and E-Cores based on a modified version of Zen 4, but AMD hasn’t confirmed this and we won’t it probably won’t get any official news about Zen 5 until next year at the earliest.

These hybrid CPU architectures have at times caused problems with older or obscure software, including some old games and exam software who, for one reason or another, interpret the presence of a second CPU architecture as the presence of a second physical computer. But over time, these problems fixed via Windows patches and app updatesand on at least some PCs you can temporarily bypass them by turning off the E-Cores.

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