Intel leaks show next-gen desktop CPUs with hybrid “big.little” design
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Intel leaks show next-gen desktop CPUs with hybrid “big.little” design

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Enlarge / It’s a bit too early for photos of Alder Lake-S CPUs, much less Raptor Lake-S—so here’s a gorgeous photo of an alder tree on the shore of Llyn Gwynant, in North Wales’ Snowdonia National Park. (credit: R A Kearton via Getty Images)

It looks like big.little CPU design—an architecture that includes both fast, power-hungry cores and slower, more power-efficient cores—is here to stay in the x86_64 world, according to unverified insider information leaked by wccftech and AdoredTV.

Intel’s big/little designs enter round two

At Intel’s 2021 Architecture day, the company confirmed that its upcoming Alder Lake (12th generation) processors will use a mixture of performance and efficiency cores. This brings the company’s discontinued 2020 Lakefield design concept firmly into the mainstream.

Big.little designs run time-sensitive tasks on bigger, hotter performance cores while running background tasks on slower but much less power-hungry cores. This architecture is near-universal in the ARM world—which now includes Apple M1 Macs as well as Android and iOS phones and tablets—but it’s far less common in the x86_64 “traditional computing” world.

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