Intel Alder Lake contains smart silicon to increase performance in Windows 11

Intel alder lake contains smart silicon to increase performance in windows 11

If you’re wondering how Intel can get the most out of small, energy-efficient cores and large, high-performance cores in Alder Lake’s upcoming chips, you won’t be alone. I wasn't sure what Intel would think to make hybrid computing make sense on the desktop, but in its recent day of architecture 2021 Intel poured the grains on its hopeful solution.

It’s called Thread Director and is something that is a smart programmer / hardware monitor / help hand to help guide the operating system planner itself.

"You are making a profile on the thread while the thread is running, and based on that profile, it suggests the best place to put the thread."

Ran Berenson, GM of Core to Intel

Before we get to the director of the thread, it’s probably worth touching on at least the hybrid architecture of Alder Lake as we know it today. Basically, you have large "performance" cores and few "efficient" cores on the same chip, which Intel believes will help increase thread performance and reduce latencies, while improving multi-thread performance.

The Thread Director is a physical drive of the Alder Lake chip and what makes this hybrid architecture work on a standard operating system, such as Windows, is delivering information to the operating system so you can make an informed decision about what tasks should go to which nuclei.

After all, your operating system makes the most important decisions about managing system resources on the fly. However, with Alder Lake, due to its unique architecture, Intel has an even greater interest in making sure it does this job. exceptionally well.

The Thread Director can tell the operating system that a certain task, such as running a game, has higher priority than the LED lighting software that also runs in the background. With this information, the operating system will be able to load the game into Alder Lake's fast-performance cores, while lighting software will be transferred to low-power cores.

Intel alder lake thread director diagram of an intel beach event describing goals and stages

(Image credit: Intel)

This example isn't really the best because your operating system is already good enough to know if there's an application in the background, but what's important is that Thread Director provides more hardware-based information and telemetry to help the operating system. to better balance workloads.

Intel says the key to the Thread Director is in its adaptive approach to context: it’s adaptive, dynamic, and constantly changing to make better use of the available silicon on the Alder Lake CPU.

“There can be a lot more tuning, which is what the CPU does is give advice to the operating system, which thread uses better which kernel,” says Ran Berenson, GM of Core and Client Development Group. "You are making a profile on the thread while the thread is running, and based on that profile, it suggests the best place to put the thread."

Intel alder lake thread director diagram of an intel beach event describing goals and stages

(Image credit: Intel)

(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giJUt66WyYg (/ embed)

One of the potential benefits of Alder Lake’s hybrid architecture is gaming and simultaneous transmission without performance degradation. To do this well, however, the planner and thread manager will need to be in their best shape and intelligently change workloads for maximum performance.

With up to eight performance cores, eight efficient cores and a total of 24 wires, it will also be important for Alder Lake to achieve a good balance of core usage in the name of energy efficiency, TDP and even speeds. clock. All Intel specifications state that they will be released on time.

At this point, however, there is a bit of a catch. Intel has worked with Microsoft to ensure this Windows 11 is optimized for Thread Director. It's great if you're using Windows 11, but maybe not as good if you can't upgrade. For most, simply buying an Alder Lake chip should allow you to upgrade to Windows 11 anyway, but perhaps some users dependent on legacy software or Linux may have to live without key scheduler optimizations.

Intel alder lake specification slides contain up to 24 threads and 8 + 8 core design

(Image credit: Intel)

This shouldn't be a nuisance for applications and workloads that don't use the maximum of 24 wires offered with Alder Lake desktop processors, but will probably work better in Windows 11, Intel confirms . He also says that Alder Lake works well on Linux, it just doesn't use the full potential of a dynamic scheduler. Instead, use a more static one.

Intel also says that more optimizations can be introduced in other operating systems, it's just a matter of doing this work in advance for Windows 11. Similarly, programmer improvements in general can, and probably will, be optimized though. Intel switch to hybrid chips. . AMD is also expected to build hybrid chips in the future.

"Of course, more optimizations can be done. It's the first time we're doing this new architecture. So this will be the first step and many more hybrid optimization steps will come," says Berenson.

Still, the news from the thread manager is helping to make Alder Lake’s puzzle on the desktop, and perhaps it’s surprisingly well-formed to fit PC games a little longer than expected for first time. The real test, however, will be when we have a chip in our hands to face today's high and homogeneous kernel count, which comparatively quite gross goes to high frame rates as it is.

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