There are rumblings that Intel may make a comeback in the high-end desktop computer market with Alder Lake-X. Let’s make some educated guesses about what this means for the HEDT industry.
For quite some time, the high-end desktop market (HEDT) has been rather quiet. It was only in 2019 that Intel debuted its most recent high-end desktop products, whilst AMD’s Threadripper 5000 series has so far been reserved to the professional sector. Is Intel working on a new Alder Lake high-end desktop processor series? Preliminary support for the Alder Lake-X processor series is listed in the release notes for AIDA64 6.60.5944.
Intel has been referring to its high-end desktop processors with an X suffix for quite some time. All of Intel’s high-end desktop systems, up to and including the most current Cascade Lake-X series, which is led by the Core i9-10980XE processor, have been designated with the X moniker. It would be a strange mistake on the part of the AIDA64 developers to refer to 13th Gen Raptor Lake as Alder Lake-X, so unless Intel is playing a joke on us, it would appear that a new HEDT platform is on the way, according to the AIDA64 developers. And that’s incredibly fascinating to think about.
Let us guess about the possible configurations of these CPUs. We can be confident that they will contain higher TDPs, overclocking capabilities, possibly quad channel DDR5, and a slew of PCIe 5.0 lanes, including PCIe 5.0 M.2 support, among other things.
The possibility that Alder Lake-X is a desktop version of Sapphire Rapids exists, with the inclusion of more E cores, or with the omission of E cores in favor of more P cores, has been raised. Without a doubt, we’re just speculating here, which is a lot of fun.
At least from Intel’s perspective, the HEDT industry has been pushed to the sidelines in recent years. One of the advantages of HEDT systems is being eroded as more and more cores are being integrated into regular CPU models. But then there’s AMD’s Threadripper 3000 series, which includes the monstrous 3990X, which has 64 cores and 128 threads and is available in both quad and quad-core configurations. Perhaps Intel simply did not want to even attempt to compete with such a large market share.
However, the number of cores on HEDT platforms is not the only consideration. HEDT platforms are known for being feature-rich, and their high PCIe lane counts appeal to a wide range of gamers and computer aficionados. Running a GPU, expansion cards, and a slew of PCIe x4 SSDs simultaneously on mainstream chipsets is difficult without making some sacrifices. Please provide me with 128 PCIe lanes! There are no concessions required.
If Intel is planning to ship Alder Lake-X, AMD will be well-positioned to reply. It has introduced Threadripper Pro 5000 series devices that are based on the Zen 3 architecture, however these are in short supply due to Lenovo’s exclusive access to the platform for several months following the first launch. AMD, on the other hand, would be able to respond quickly if it decided to.
A robust HEDT ecology would be greatly appreciated by all. Just image how much more expensive very complicated HEDT boards will be if the pricing of high-end Z690 motherboards remains the same! Isn’t it true that the adding of RGB will double the price? At the very least, it has the potential to bring the prices of popular boards down a notch.
Consider the following scenario: a hypothetical Core i9 12980 XE, X499 motherboard with 4x32GB of DDR5-7000 and an RTX 4090 Ti graphics card. What you describe sounds like a really tasty system, and one that I would never be able to purchase. I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one who had a strong desire for it, however.