It looks like Intel’s 10nm Alder Lake Desktop CPUs which would be part of the 12th Gen Core family have appeared in a leaked slide which hints at a release around 2021 with a full 7nm product line expected by2022. The slides which are from Intel’s POA roadmap shows new developments taking place in the entirety of 2020 and the years ahead.

Intel Alder Lake 10nm Desktop CPUs Rumored To Arrive In 2021, Full 7nm CPU/GPU Family Launch in 2022

We cannot say how authentic these slides are but it looks like they were presented in the APAC region. One of the slides is similar to Intel’s Investor Meeting held back in 2019 so it might be possible that we are looking at older slides with information that wasn’t shown to the public until later on.

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The first slide contains information about Intel’s entire 10nm product portfolio for 2020. It starts off with Alder Lake which is supposed to be a 10nm Desktop CPU lineup and also includes other key 10 nanometer products such as Tiger Lake (Mobility CPUs), Ice Lake Xeon (Server CPUs), DG1 (Xe GPU), and Snow Ridge which is a 5G-Ready 10nm SOC. Everything except the Alder Lake CPUs based on a 10nm process node is confirmed for 2020 so that leads me to believe that these slides might be a bit outdated.

We know that Intel is launching its 10th Generation Comet Lake-S CPUs based on the 14nm process node next month which would eventually be followed by the 11th Generation Rocket Lake-S line of desktop processors which although are based on a 14nm process node but feature an entirely new CPU architecture along with the new Xe graphics. Based on the slide, there are two possibilities, the first one is simply that the slides are old and Intel only plans to launch 14nm desktop offerings for 2020 and move to 10nm in 2021 as yields improve and the 10nm process matures enough so it can have a proper desktop outing.

The other possibility is that Intel has yet to decide whether to launch Rocket Lake-S or Alder Lake-S but that would mean scrapping an entire project and both families are reportedly based on designs that aren’t standard procedure for Intel. Intel’s Rocket Lake-S processors are supposedly a 14nm backport of either Sunny Cove or Willow Cove with Xe graphics on a 14nm process node. Both CPU architectures were primarily designed around the 10nm process but to keep up with older CPUs in terms of clock speeds and efficiency and to sustain higher yields, Intel will opt for 14nm for its 11th Gen Rocket Lake-S lineup.

Intel Desktop CPU Generations Comparison:

Intel CPU Family Processor Process Processors Cores (Max) TDPs Platform Chipset Platform Memory Support PCIe Support Launch
Sandy Bridge 32nm 4/8 35-95W 6-Series LGA 1155 DDR3 PCIe Gen 2.0 2011
Ivy Bridge 22nm 4/8 35-77W 7-Series LGA 1155 DDR3 PCIe Gen 3.0 2012
Haswell 22nm 4/8 35-84W 8-Series LGA 1150 DDR3 PCIe Gen 3.0 2013-2014
Broadwell 14nm 4/8 65-65W 9-Series LGA 1150 DDR3 PCIe Gen 3.0 2015
Skylake 14nm 4/8 35-91W 100-Series LGA 1151 DDR4/DDR3L PCIe Gen 3.0 2015
Kaby Lake 14nm 4/8 35-91W 200-Series LGA 1151 DDR4/DDR3L PCIe Gen 3.0 2017
Coffee Lake 14nm 6/12 35-95W 300-Series LGA 1151 DDR4 PCIe Gen 3.0 2017
Coffee Lake 14nm 8/16 35-95W 300-Series LGA 1151 DDR4 PCIe Gen 3.0 2018
Comet Lake 14nm 10/20 35-125W 400-Series LGA 1200 DDR4 PCIe Gen 3.0 2020
Rocket Lake 14nm 10/20 TBA 500-Series? LGA 1200? DDR4? PCIe Gen 4.0? 2020?
Alder Lake 10nm? 16/32? TBA TBA LGA 1700? DDR5? PCIe Gen 4.0? 2021?
Meteor Lake 7nm? TBA TBA TBA TBA DDR5? PCIe Gen 4.0? 2022?

Intel’s Alder Lake-S would be a totally different beast, utilizing the 10nm++ process node which is an evolution of the 10nm+ process node (the same node used to fabricate Tiger Lake CPUs). The Alder Lake-S 12th Generation Core lineup would feature a new design methodology, supporting a mix of big and little cores as we had reported earlier. Three configurations of the Alder Lake-S CPUs were leaked which included:

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  • Alder Lake-S (8+8+1) 125W Config
  • Alder Lake-S (8+8+1) 80W Config
  • Alder Lake-S (6+0+1) 80W Config

As you can see, the CPUs will feature various configurations with a max of 8 high-performance and 8 efficiency-optimized cores. There’s the unlocked variants with 125W and locked variants with 80W TDPs. There’s also a 6 (big) core configuration which doesn’t include efficiency optimized cores but it looks like Intel plans to offer the higher end variants without the smaller cores too. While the chip design methodology isn’t anything new as we have seen several mobility SOCs feature similar core hierarchy, it would definitely be interesting to see a similar outing on a high-performance desktop CPU lineup.

With that said, the Alder Lake-S CPUs will feature support on a newer LGA 1700 socket and will feature an enhanced variant of the Xe GPU which will be available by the time of its launch. Intel is also investigating performance scaling of Alder Lake-S CPUs with TDPs as high as 150W that would be a true enthusiast desktop part, something to challenge the likes of the Ryzen 9 3950X 16 core processor in the desktop department.

So once again, a new socket would mean that the upcoming LGA 1200 socket would only have a shelve life of a single Core family if Alder Lake-S is to launch in 2020 which seems very unlikely & hence, I am inclined to believe that Alder Lake-S is more of a 2021 part as the second slides hint.

A leaked Intel slide points out to several 10nm launches between 2020-2021, full 7nm CPU/GPU product portfolio launch in 2022. (Image Credits: Komachi)

Moving on to the second slide, it lists down some features and progress of Intel’s 10nm fabrication such as substantial yield improvement, increase in production capacity and a series of 10nm CPU / GPU products launch in 2020. But it’s the second slide which is the most interesting which refers to Intel launching its full 7nm portfolio by 2022. Sure the lead product, the Ponte Vecchio GPU, is said to launch in 2021 but a full-fledged lineup of CPUs & GPUs isn’t to be expected until 2022 and once again, Intel isn’t launching another 14nm in 2021 as Rocket Lake-S is supposed to be the last of the desktop CPUs fabricated on the said node. So that also points to Alder Lake-S being more of a 2021 product based on 10nm and Meteor Lake-S being the first Intel 7nm desktop product to launch in 2022.

Of course, Intel won’t be having a smooth launch as they might expect. AMD, on the other hand, would have it’s Zen 3 based and enhanced 7nm Ryzen 4000 lineup available this year to tackle Rocket Lake-S and Zen 4 based 5nm Ryzen 5000 lineup to combat Alder Lake-S CPUs by end of 2021 or start of 2022. These are things that Intel has definitely taken into consideration so let’s wait and see what we have in the market for us in the coming months.

Do you think Intel would launch its 10nm Alder Lake-S Desktop CPUs in 2020?

Products mentioned in this post

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