In a nutshell: With Alder Lake’s formal reveal only a few weeks away, it’s no wonder that additional leaks are appearing online. The most recent one appears to indicate that Intel’s 12th generation CPUs will have a powerful memory controller which will allow users to push DDR5 memory further than DDR4 memory has ever gone.
There has been a slew of Alder Lake leaks recently, but the majority of them have been about how well Intel’s forthcoming Core i9-12900K CPU compares to AMD’s Ryzen 9 5950X, which is now the performance king. The Core i9-12900K appears to be the greatest desktop component to come out of Team Blue’s lab in a long time, at least in its early iterations, but there are still too many unknowns to give an accurate assessment of its potential.
DDR5 and how it would affect Alder Lake’s performance in certain circumstances like gaming has sparked a lot of discussions. DDR4 and DDR5 memory will be supported by the new CPUs, and most of the leaks we’ve seen so far have come from a Core i9-12900K using DDR5 memory.
If a new leak from Twitter user REHWK is correct, Alder Lake CPUs will ship with a powerful memory controller, which will be a boon to RAM aficionados. The main specs of the Core i9-12900K, a 16-core, the 24-thread component with a TDP of 125 watts, and no AVX-512 functionality, are also confirmed in the CPU-Z screenshot supplied by the leaker.
In this latest leak, the Alder Lake processor is seen on a Z690 Aorus Tachyon motherboard with Gigabyte’s DDR5-6200 memory kit. DDR5-6200 memory will run at DDR5-4800 speeds by default, according to JEDEC specifications, with timings of 42-39-39-77-116 at 1.1V. Timings are tightened to 38-38-38-76-125 in the XMP-6200 profile, while the operating voltage is increased to 1.5V for steady operation. A different XMP-6400 profile is available with more relaxed timings and a 1.45V working voltage.
To put things into perspective, Intel’s reaction to AMD’s Infinity Fabric memory overclocking modes is Gear modes, which debuted with Rocket Lake. Gear 1 enables you to operate both the memory controller and the memory at the same time, whereas Gear 2 and Gear 4 allow you to run them at different times. In Gear 2, the memory controller operates at half the frequency of the memory, whereas in the latter mode, the memory controller operates at one-quarter the frequency of the memory.
The memory controller on the next CPU range is supposed to enable up to a 67 percent memory overclock to DDR5-8000 from the DDR5-4800 standard, with timings set to 50-50-50-100-150 for CL, tRDC, tRP, tRAS, and tRC, respectively, according to this latest leak. The overclocker did it in Gear 2 mode, which means the memory controller runs at about 2,000 MHz while the memory runs at 4,000 MHz (8,000 MHz effective speed). The current DDR4 overclocking record is 7,156 MHz, thus this leak implies that DDR5 will be able to achieve greater speeds straight out of the gate.
Overall, it’s a remarkable achievement that most certainly necessitated some unusual cooling. We have yet to see how big of a speed advantage DDR5 has over DDR4 and not whether the price premium you’ll have to pay for the privilege is worth it. At least one manufacturer intends to use overclocked modules to break the 10,000 MHz barriers, so it’ll be fascinating to see what DDR5 has in store.