Intel LGA 1851 Platform Diagram Breaks Cover Revealing Major PCIe 5 Lane Upgrade

hero intel core ultra packages
On Intel's current platforms, if you want a PCIe 5.0 SSD connected directly to your CPU for the most optimal performance, it's going to split off of the PCIe x16 slot normally meant for graphics. That's because the only PCIe 5.0 lanes on the LGA 1700 platform are dedicated to that x16 slot—unlike AMD's 16+4+4 configuration, where all three devices can have PCIe 5.0 connectivity.

intel leaked arrow lake platform diagram
Click for big version.

It looks like Intel's next-generation platform for Arrow Lake is going to resolve that, at least to some degree. A legitimate-looking platform diagram that showed up on Chiphell (spotted and pointed out by HXL) seems to indicate quite a few big changes coming to Arrow Lake's LGA 1851 socket, and arguably the most significant of such is the addition of another four PCIe 5.0 lanes off the CPU socket.

These lanes could be used to enable PCIe 5.0 primary storage for high-end systems without having to rob those lanes from the graphics card. There's still the extra PCIe 4.0 x4 connection, too, so you could hook up two NVMe SSDs to your CPU, just like on Socket AM5—although only one will be full-speed PCIe 5.0, unlike high-end Socket AM5 motherboards.

intel 700series platofrm diagram
Current-generation Intel platform diagram for comparison's sake.

Another noteworthy change in the LGA 1851 socket is the inclusion of a pair of Thunderbolt 4 connections directly on the CPU. Intel's current-generation parts can already power four separate display connections using their integrated Arc graphics, but on the next-gen systems it seems like boards will be able to offer a pair of those as fully-functional Thunderbolt 4 ports—nice for those who like clean desktop wiring.

Intel has been quite firm that its Arrow Lake desktop CPUs will launch, likely with "Core Ultra" branding, in the third quarter of this year. That could be as soon as next week or as late as the last week of September. We'd bank on later rather than sooner, but whatever the case may be, we're eager to compare them against AMD's latest efforts as well as those of Qualcomm's new CPU team. Keep an eye out for that announcement.

Thanks to HXL (@9550pro) for the spot.