Intel Alder Lake-X With Up To 56 Cores Allegedly Coming To Thrown Down With Threadripper

Intel Alder Lake CPU
Even as mainstream consumer processors push out more cores, more threads, and heaps of cache, there is still a market for even more powerful high end desktop (HEDT) silicon. Maybe not a massive market, but enough so that AMD recently unveiled another round of Threadripper processors, and it looks like Intel is getting ready to counter with Alder Lake-X.

Nothing has been announced by Intel in regards to the HEDT sector, and until if and when that happens, nothing of the sort can be considered official or confirmed. A close second, however, is a reference to Alder Lake-X in the latest test build of AIDA64, a popular system information, diagnostics, and auditing utility developed by FinalWire.

Have a look...

Intel Alder Lake-X
Source: AIDA64

We snapped the above screenshot in case the reference ends up being removed (at the behest of Intel), but you can clearly see the shout out to Alder Lake-X for AIDA64 beta version 6.60.5944. It could be that FinalWire has an inside track on Intel's plans, or "preliminary support" could amount to little more than adding appropriate verbiage, just in case.

Our last hands-on evaluation of an HEDT processor from Intel came in late 2019 when we reviewed the Core i9-10980XE, an 18-core processor based on Cascade Lake-X. Essentially a refresh of Skylake-X, Cascade Lake-X brought with it support for faster memory, more aggressive clocking and boost algorithms, and DL Boost integration to accelerate AI workloads.

Quite a bit has changed since then. Intel's Alder Lake architecture is far more robust and supports cutting edge technologies, including DDR5 memory and PCI Express 5.0. Releasing an HEDT version of Alder Lake would be quite the evolution of Intel's Core X-series.

What about those Sapphire Rapids-X rumors? We've not heard anything new on the subject, though one possibility is that Alder Lake-X and Sapphire Rapids-X both end up launching to two separate products. It seems odd, though a multi-pronged Core-X strategy isn't out of the question, just as AMD in the past has offered both Threadripper and Threadripper Pro variants (not exactly the same thing, but still).

It's also rumored that Alder Lake-X could be offered with up to 56 cores across four dies. As a point of comparison, AMD's flagship Threadripper Pro W5995WX is a 64-core/128-thread HEDT chip with a 2.7GHz base clock and 4.5GHz max boost clock.

Regardless of the specific core and thread counts, it will be interesting to see if Alder Lake-X mixes P-cores and E-cores, or leans entirely on P-cores.