Falstart from Lakefield
As a chronicler, it should be mentioned that these are not the first hybrid x86. Last year, the first two Intel mobile processors from the Lake Field family appeared. for Samsung Galaxy Book S. Unfortunately for Intel, the chips built using the new Foveros technology (layered glass pane) neither conquered the market, nor did they get particularly good reviews.
This is not good news for Alder Lake. Not even because it would herald any errors in the construction of new processors, but such a large change in architecture certainly requires some optimization measures from software developers. This is evidenced by the poor results of Lake Fields both in terms of performance and energy efficiency.
If Intel’s idea for Lakefield was to bring the first processors of this type to the market so that developers could prepare for the upcoming revolution, then this was rather average. Lakefield went completely unnoticed, and you can’t hear anything about their efficiency improving over time.
Alter Lake according to the road map
Anyway, as announced, the revolution is to come with a new family, and it will apply to both laptops and desktop systems. Intel quite boldly calls its systems “the most scalable SoCs” and announces the first products equipped with them in the middle of this year.
The processors will be manufactured using the enhanced 10nm SuperFin lithographic process already used at Tiger Lake. Both the cores responsible for the power of Golden Lake and those responsible for the performance of Gracemont are new designs. At CES, a working stationary set was shown, built on the basis of a pre-production processor from this generation.
It may… fail
The optimization problem faced by Intel is quite hard to overcome. Based on the experience with Lakefield, it can be expected that in the initial period the results of next-generation processors running under the control of non-optimized systems and programs will be disappointing. At the same time, the speed of response to such changes by the developers of the Win x86 platform, key to the success of this architecture, is legendary, but in a negative sense.
If such processors were shown a few years ago, Intel could be confident about the result, developers would improve the programs at their own pace, and customers would have no alternative. Today, when the company has AMD and Apple on its back, the market success of which is evidenced by both the reports of market analysts and the unprecedented storm of Intel’s Mac offerings on the secondary market, it may turn out that no one will want to wait for Intel. Moreover, in such a situation, when optimization is limping, the sale of these processors may also be cannibalized internally by older generations of Intel processors.
Even the leader can’t sleep either
The whole situation shows perfectly how the market mechanism deals with laziness, even if these have previously achieved a dominant position on the market. Intel slept through everything it could, it was not even woken up by alarm bells in the form of reports about Apple’s plans, circulating for years, or the appearance of the first, not as good as today, but making great progress, Ryzen. Now, the increasingly chaotic concern has to fight, but also counting on the help of others. And this one does not necessarily come …
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