For laptops, Intel Alder Lake-P CPUs will include up to 14 cores and DDR5 memory.

Discussion in 'Frontpage news' started by Hilbert Hagedoorn, Oct 4, 2021.

  1. Hilbert Hagedoorn

    Hilbert Hagedoorn Don Vito Corleone Staff Member

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  2. asturur

    asturur Maha Guru

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    i would have expect 4 high performance cores and the rest on high efficency.
     
  3. sozuoka

    sozuoka Member

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    4 high performance cores are not enough for gamers/enthusiasts (who will mostly stick with 35-45W CPU), so 6 high performance cores make more sense to me. Maybe we can even have a 8 high performance cores CPU (for the desktop replacements).
     
  4. Valkyr09

    Valkyr09 Member

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    And chickens will have teeth and the squirrel in Trump's head will become alive. That roadmap is only a dream
     

  5. H83

    H83 Ancient Guru

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    I would prefer a CPU with just 8 low power cores, their performance seems more than enough, specially for laptops.
     
  6. schmidtbag

    schmidtbag Ancient Guru

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    On a laptop, 4 performance cores is definitely all a gamer needs. Most games today still hardly take advantage of 4c/8t, and even then, not every thread requires the full set of instructions.
     
  7. sozuoka

    sozuoka Member

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    I disagree with this. I have played around with some laptops and found that while 4c/8t is (for now) sufficient for most games, any AAA title from last year run much better with a 6 cores CPU (8 cores are overkill, but I suppose people buy 8c laptops for other stuff, not just gaming). And considering that Alder Lake is the next gen CPU, they should be more "future proof", hence the 6 high performance cores. While the low power cores can help with background process, my guess is most games are not optimized around that.
     
  8. schmidtbag

    schmidtbag Ancient Guru

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    Re-read what I said. I emphasized 4 performance cores. So, 4c/8t plus 4 small cores is definitely all a gamer will need on a laptop for a while. Maybe with a really high-end or external GPU, an extra 2 performance cores will be necessary. I otherwise agree that having only 4c/8t alone is not enough. I'm really not understanding this mentality people have that the small/efficient cores will just be sitting there doing nothing. I know you didn't say that, but it's implied if you think they won't help with games. Multithreading in games doesn't work the same way as, for example, Cinebench. Some threads have calculations unrelated to the rest of the process. For example, some games have threads that basically just communicate with the GPU, but otherwise have nothing to do with in-game logic. Some games have separate threads for physics calculations. Some games have separate threads for post-processing. And so on. That's why most games for so long don't use more than 4 threads total, because games are generally speaking very difficult to dynamically parallelize without potentially losing performance.
    So long as a game has some child threads that don't depend on the instructions of a performance core, the small cores will help run the game.

    But hypothetically, let's say I'm wrong, and you're playing an 8-threaded game on this 4C/8T + 4c/4t CPU where none of the little cores can be used. You'll still see a performance improvement, because there's always some CPU overhead when playing a game that the game has no control over (such as the GPU drivers). It won't be a big difference, but could be enough to reduce stuttering.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2021
  9. Krizby

    Krizby Maha Guru

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    I would say 6 Pcores/12threads is the minimum for a gaming focused laptop, even slow 6cores/12threads CPU can beat very fast 4cores/8threads one.
    Check out HUB video on cores/cache
    cores.png
     
  10. schmidtbag

    schmidtbag Ancient Guru

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    Holy crap how many times do I have to point out that the little cores can calculate things too? Intel wouldn't charge ~$50 per little core and include so many of them in a single package if it couldn't do anything productive most of the time.

    The 4c/8t aren't the only things doing calculations!
     

  11. Krizby

    Krizby Maha Guru

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    Well for latency insensitive workload like rendering, video editing, maybe the E-cores can work in tandem with P-cores, but for games? hardly, unless you like huge frametime spike.
     
  12. schmidtbag

    schmidtbag Ancient Guru

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    Where are you thinking such a significant latency loss is coming from? It's not like the data is being transferred from the P to E cores over the PCIe bus. So long as the scheduler doesn't swap threads between P and E cores (which it typically won't seeing as they don't have the same capabilities), you won't see the same latency problems that Ryzen gets when transferring between core clusters. And even then: the latency issues Zen1/Zen+ saw was pretty much the worst-case scenario. Even with Zen2, it's not that bad. I highly doubt Intel is going to have something worse than that, especially considering that generally speaking, the simpler/smaller an architecture is, the better the latency gets.

    As I said before (if you actually bothered to read anything...), games usually don't dynamically scale up. Parallelizing a game's workload generally doesn't pay off, which is why games today still don't tend to use more than 12 total threads. Instead, they split up specific types of workloads to different cores. Try a few different modern games and watch the bar graphs in Task Manager, and observe how unbalanced the load can be. Some cores will be nearly maxed out, some may only be 15% utilized. They're not calculating the same things. In the event the E-cores are used to run a game, so long as the E-core isn't so slow that the parent thread is waiting for it to synchronize, it will only improve performance.
     
  13. sozuoka

    sozuoka Member

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    That's actually an interesting take, I can see the E cores helping with the CPU overhead we usually have. While I'm still skeptical with this approach (because it's the first generation and optimizing scheduler is not easy), it does look very promising once Intel and Microsoft figured it out. My only concern is if AMD does not jump on this train, then not many game developers will support big/small model properly (especially when consoles don't use it).
     
  14. schmidtbag

    schmidtbag Ancient Guru

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    Yes, scheduling will be a problem at first, but it won't last long. This is for 2 reasons:
    1. Intel has a lot tighter relations with MS and much deeper pockets than competitors, so they can get something working properly much sooner.
    2. The Windows scheduler already works with a big.LITTLE architecture, thanks to WOS. Intel can mooch off of Qualcomm's work.

    Don't forget that Intel is charging roughly $50 per little core so they seem to have a bit of confidence in what they can do.

    As for AMD, from what I've heard, they're already planning to do a similar design, it just seems they're going to be a little slower to release it.
     

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