Intel Raptor Lake's rumoured 24 cores could crush multi-threaded applications

Intel CPU wafer
(Image credit: Intel)

While Intel's dream of hybrid desktop computing hasn't yet been realised with Alder Lake, we're already looking to the next big project out of the Santa Clara chipmaker. Intel Raptor Lake should be the follow-up to Alder coming in 2022, and rumour has it these chips will pack serious core counts on arrival.

Let's get right into the exciting rumours. According to YouTuber and leaker Moore's Law is Dead, Intel is planning on a major core overhaul with its second generation hybrid processors, codename Raptor Lake. Following on from Alder Lake, which is set to release later this year, Raptor Lake could come with as many as 16 'little' cores alongside eight new and improved 'big' cores.

That would see Raptor Lake come with as many big cores as Alder Lake but twice as many little cores, for a total of 24 per chip.

Raptor Lake may share the same little core architecture as Alder Lake, Gracemont, but its big cores will feature the new Raptor Cove architecture, which can be seen as "enhanced Golden Cove." Effectively an improved version of Alder Lake's big cores.

A greater number of little cores should help highly-threaded applications, while the big cores will take the baton for more singular workloads, such as gaming. 

That said, there's still a question mark over hybrid chip performance. It's not only hardware that needs to shift to make it possible, it's the software too. For that reason, Intel is rumoured to be working with Microsoft on a new and improved Windows scheduler. One capable of better utilising a mixed core configuration. That's said to be arriving just in time for Alder Lake's launch. 

Coincidence? I think not.

Intel Raptor Lake is said to be arriving at the end of 2022, roughly one year on from Intel Alder Lake's rumoured release date this October. Both Alder Lake and Raptor Lake are expected to share the LGA 1700 socket, and likely a great deal more than that, even. Most definitely DDR5 memory, Gen 12 (Intel Xe) graphics, and PCIe 5.0, at least.

All of which Intel will be praying will see Raptor Lake fighting with AMD's Zen 4 architecture, which is also tipped to launch at the end of 2022. Meteor Lake will continue the fight after that, Intel's first 7nm CPU architecture, which is set for release in 2023.

From Intel's tiles to AMD's V-Cache, it's a great time to be writing about CPU development. There's seriously feisty competition building up, and I hope you're as excited about that as I am.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would later go on to win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top team as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. He also enjoys making short videos for TikTok and believes everyone reading this should go follow our account immediately.