Intel is preparing the terrain for the company’s 12th Generation Alder Lake processors. As discovered by hardware sleuth HXL, the chipmaker’s latest chipset driver (10.1.18836.8283) already brings support for 600-series chipsets that are designed for the upcoming hybrid desktop chips.
The last HEDT (high-end desktop) chipset from Intel was X299, and it came out in 2017 so Intel has neglected the HEDT segment for some time now. The driver lists the X699 chipset so It would appear that the Intel is making a return to the HEDT space. The X-series lineup has always prioritized performance over anything else, therefore, it would be interesting to see if Alder Lake’s heterogeneous design can fit in.
Alder Lake arrives in many configurations due to the combination of Golden Cove and Gracemont cores. Thus far, the highest-end Alder Lake part could arrive with 16 cores in total, eight Golden Cove cores and eight Gracemont cores. The X699 chipset seemingly suggests that Intel could be developing SKUs with an even higher core count for the HEDT market.
Meanwhile, the Z690 chipset is the flagship mainstream chipset for Alder Lake. As usual, it brings support for overclocking and other bells and whistles that Intel has prepared for more demanding users. Alder Lake K-series parts, such as the Core i9-12900K are the obvious candidates for the Z690 chipset. On the other hand, yhe H670 and B660 chipsets cater to budget consumers, while the H610 chipset sets the stage for entry level.
Workstation users can look forward to the W680 and W685 chipsets. The first is the mainstream chipset, while the latter is probably an upgraded variant with more features. On the flipside, the Q670 chipset fits the bill for business and enterprise consumers.
There were also mentions of the H610E and Q670E chipsets. Given the “E” designation, these should be the embedded variants of the H610 and Q670 chipsets, respectively. The R680E chipset looks intriguing too.
During Intel Architecture Day 2021, the chipmaker shared the inner workings of Alder Lake. The hybrid processors support cutting-edge technologies, including PCIe 5.0 and high-speed DDR5 memory. Alder Lake should land in Fall 2021 alongside the corresponding LGA1700 motherboards with 600-series chipsets.