Published in PC Hardware

Intel ditches Hyper-Threading for Arrow Lake

by on24 January 2024

First time since Pentium 4

Chipzilla is likely to pull hyper-threading for the first time since the technology was first launched in the Pentium 4 era in the early 2000s.

Intel is set to perform another node jump in 2024 for its next-generation Arrow Lake desktop CPUs. They're supposed to come out later this year and will be the company's first tile-based desktop chips made on its cutting-edge 20A process. Almost everything about these chips is new, but now leaked slides show they'll be one of the only Intel CPUs not to include.

A Twitter user with a knack for spilling hardware secrets has posted several Intel slides revealing the Arrow Lake-S platform, the desktop version. The slides were deleted from Twitter for some reason but saved by Videocardz. You will recall there was originally going to be a Meteor Lake-S for the desktop, which was scrapped, and the slides say MTL-S was used as the basis for Arrow Lake's testing.

The big news is that while Intel is keeping core counts the same, the total thread count is slashed as the P-cores are not Hyper-Threaded.

The rumour existed before this leak, but this is the first time we've seen it in black and white. However, this is pre-alpha hardware, so we'll have to wait and see what comes out later this year.

The slide notes enabling the P-cores would cause hardware instability, highlighting the troubles of working with pre-alpha hardware.

The slides show Intel is planning three variants of Arrow Lake for desktop: 8P+16E, 6P+16E, and 6P+8E. Without Hyper-Threading, this gives us the option of 24, 22, or 14 cores and the same number of threads.

These are likely the old i9, i7, and i5 processors, which will then be rebranded for Arrow Lake. The most notable change is on the i7 part, which goes from 8P+12E to 6P+16E, so there are two less performance cores but four more efficiency cores.

The other notable change is that there will be a new 800-series chipset for Arrow Lake, and it will only support DDR5 memory, which is not a surprise. The baseline memory frequency will be DDR5-6400, a slight increase from DDR5-5600 supported by Raptor Lake Refresh.

Additionally, Intel will finally support PCIe Gen 5 storage, offering four Gen 5 lanes for an M.2 SSD and four Gen 4 lanes. There will also be 16 Gen 5 lanes to the GPU, which is good timing as next-gen Nvidia GPUs are expected to support PCIe 5.0.

Like Meteor Lake, Arrow Lake will use a new LGA-1851 socket, which is expected to last for at least two generations and possibly more. It'll be Intel's first tile-based processor family on the 20A node and will also feature backside power delivery, which Intel calls PowerVia.

Arrow Lake will use RibbonFET transistors with a gate-all-around (GAA) design, so given all the changes, it's too early to tell what impact ditching Hyper-Threading will have on performance and power consumption. Still, we're keen to find out. Arrow Lake is scheduled to arrive later this year as a replacement for its Raptor Lake refresh CPUs.

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Last modified on 24 January 2024
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