Some initial specs for the new Core i9-11900K. [credit: Intel ]
The Consumer Electronics Show this week was never going to be where Intel would venture into extreme detail on major new 12th-generation CPUs, but nonetheless, the company hosted a press conference this morning that laid out a few new evolutions of the 11th-gen CPUs it has already been shipping, plus an early look at what to expect from the 12th-generation Alder Lake.
Using an improved version of the 10nm SuperFin process, Alder Lake will take on Apple's ARM instruction set-based M1 chip and its ilk with a somewhat similar architecture. Namely, that means a hybrid architecture of high-performance (Golden Lake) and high-efficiency (Gracemont) cores similar in spirit to ARM's BIG.little design and to Lakefield. Intel says these are desktop and laptop CPUs and that they'll reach consumers in the second half of 2021, but details are otherwise pretty sparse.
More than anything, it looks like Intel is trying to get ahead of the narrative that the company is facing some serious challenges ahead as Macs with M1 CPUs delivered much better price-to-performance ratios than what Intel is currently putting in competing devices—especially in the face of Intel's delays.