Intel Touts New 12th Gen PC Processors

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Chip giant Intel introduces its new Alder Lake processors for personal computers, as it seeks to dethrone longtime rival AMD

Intel has introduced its 12th generation Core processor family for personal computers, which it claims will be the world’s best gaming processor.

Known by their development codename Alder Lake, Intel announced it would eventually ship 60 different chips for 500 models of PCs from various PC makers. The new chips will be used for desktop gaming to ultra-thin-and-light laptops.

However in the short-term, it will ship 28 versions of the processor to PC makers, with “broad availability” starting on 4 November.

Alder Lake

The Alder Lake processors are the first based on Intel 7nm process technology.

And they are first Intel processors that include a new performance hybrid architecture to enable major performance gains across a wide range of PC workloads.

Some initial benchmark figures from Intel suggest the new processors could give AMD’s Ryzen chips a run for their money.

However full benchmarks from independent reviewers have yet to confirm this.

Intel also launched the unlocked “K” desktop processors, including what Intel touts is “the world’s best gaming processor, the 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900K.”

This, Intel states, comes with a max turbo boost of up to 5.2 GHz and as many as 16 cores and 24 threads.

Market position

Intel is hoping its new processor family will allow it to regain the lead in the performance chip stakes, after it struggled for years against rival offerings from Advanced Micro Devices.

The chip giant has experienced some well documented setbacks in the development of 10nm and 7nm processes, which in turn greatly hindered its competitiveness in the market.

This caused activist hedge fund Third Point LLC earlier this year to urge Intel to explore its strategic alternatives going forward.

One of the questions Intel had been facing from investors, was whether the firm should keep chip design and production under one roof.

Both AMD and Apple for example outsource their respective chip manufacturing to third-party specialists, while Intel has struggled with its internal manufacturing operations.

But in March this year CEO Pat Gelsinger said the chip giant would double down on its inhouse chip manufacturing capabilities as part of its strategy dubbed “IDM 2.0”.

He confirmed Intel’s integrated device manufacturing model (wherein it both designs and manufactures its own chips).

But in addition, Gelsinger announced Intel’s ambition to become a provider of foundry capacity in the US and Europe to serve customers globally. To this end it created a new unit called Intel Foundry Services, which will make chips for other firms.

Chip shortage

Earlier this week Italy was said to be negotiating with Intel to convince it to build a 4 billion euro (£3.4bn) advanced chip packaging plant in the country, as the company pushes ahead with major expansion plans within the EU.

All Intel’s existing advanced chip packaging plants are in the US.

This comes at a time when the chip market, and global supply chains, are still recovering from the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, and other factors that has caused a global chip shortage.

In July CEO Pat Gelsinger warned that while the chip ecosystem was recovering, the supply chain is still stressed, with chip shortages expected to last until 2023.

Author: Tom Jowitt
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