Intel officially launches ‘most significant’ chip lineup sired in Israel

Semiconductor giant’s new offerings include ‘world’s best gaming processor’; over 1,000 Israeli engineers worked on ‘largest-ever’ chip hardware development project

Ricky Ben-David is a Times of Israel editor and reporter

Intel's 12th-generation Intel Core processors, named Alder Lake. (Ohad Palik)
Intel's 12th-generation Intel Core processors, named Alder Lake. (Ohad Palik)

Intel on Wednesday officially launched its 12th-generation Intel Core processors, code-named Alder Lake, designed chiefly in Israel and based on a hybrid architecture for PC users.

Intel called the new lineup among the “most significant architectural innovations in a generation” when The Times of Israel previewed the processors two months ago.

Alder Lake is Intel’s most intelligent client system-on-chip (SoC) architecture, according to the announcement, featuring a combination of Efficient-cores and Performance-cores for faster, better-performing PCs. Alder Lake mobile chips are also in the works. It includes “the world’s best gaming processor,” the Core i9 12900K, which Intel said was “the most powerful gaming performance improvement Intel has ever achieved.”

“We are super proud to share this product with the world. It is a huge development and the first client product that really takes two very complex cores and combines them into the product known as Alder Lake,” Guy Shalev, the design manager of Alder Lake desktop processor, told The Times of Israel in August.

Raja M. Koduri, chief architect and senior VP of Intel’s architecture, graphics and software division, provided a deft analogy between the design of Alder Lake and that of hybrid cars during an internal presentation.

“The fastest racing cars in the world like in Formula One use hybrid technology to achieve maximum performance. In addition to the conventional turbocharged engines that give them top speed and enough range to make it to the finish line on a tank of fuel, they add electric power to blast them out of the corners with acceleration that cannot be achieved with conventional engines,” he said.

Alder Lake is a high-performance hybrid processor based on two cores that activate depending on which applications are running, he explained, adding that it will “delight billions of PC users.”

A team of about 1,000 Israeli engineers worked on Intel’s new processors, named Alder Lake, October 2021. (Ohad Palik)

Alder Lake chips work with Intel Thread Director technology, a type of controller built into hardware that will enable the upcoming Windows 11 operating system to better manage active and background tasks and workloads on PCs. The complete 12th Gen Core processors consist of 60 processor types embedded in over 500 computer designs.

The lineup was developed over three years by some 1,000 engineers at Intel Israel, alongside development groups worldwide.

The processors will allow PC users to scale their workloads — watch a video, type, search, run software, play games — while conserving energy and delivering better performance, Shalev explained. And with approximately 80 percent of world PCs built with Intel processors (according to internal data), this tech is set to benefit billions of people across the globe.

“Any task you choose [as a user] will get the best possible performance,” said Shalev.

An Intel building in Jerusalem, on May 18, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ran Berenson¸ VP at Intel Core and Client Development Group, who oversaw the engineers working on Alder Lake, said in a statement Wednesday that he believes Intel will generate billions of dollars in revenue from Alder Lake in the coming decade.

“We are confident Alder Like will feature prominently in the computing market as hundreds of millions of people choose it for their systems over the coming years. Alder Lake represents Israel’s largest-ever chip hardware development project. We expect it to sell in the largest quantities, more than any other ‘blue & white’ product launched to date,” he said.

“I am immensely proud of all Intel Israel’s development groups that participated in this extraordinary project. With Intel dominating 80% of the global computer market, it is thrilling to see the processors developed in Israel sustaining, even reinforcing this trend,” he added.

Intel partners with Google

Intel also announced a new partnership with Google on Wednesday, according to which the two multinational giants will work together to develop and optimize a new category chip for the cloud computing market.

The chip, called Mount Evans, is an infrastructure processing unit (IPU), a programmable networking device designed to enable cloud and communication service providers to reduce overhead and free up performance for central processing units (CPUs). It will allow “cloud operators to shift to a fully virtualized storage and network architecture while maintaining high performance and predictability, as well as a high degree of control,” the company said when it first announced the IPU in June.

Intel cited research from Google and Facebook that has shown that 22% to 80% of CPU cycles can be consumed by microservices workload.

Under the partnership, Google will use Mount Evans and further develop the chip to meet developers’ applications needs at Google’s data centers.

“The agreement between the two companies makes Google the first company to use Intel’s new chip, which is exceptionally significant for the business and enterprise market, primarily cloud infrastructure providers,” Intel said.

Mount Evans was developed by Intel’s data center communication group, which employs 450 engineers in Israel as well as hundreds more worldwide.

Intel is the largest private employer in Israel with 14,000 workers: 7,000 development workers in all of Intel’s development centers, 4,900 production workers and 2,100 employees in Mobileye, Moovit and Habana Labs, Israeli companies Intel acquired in recent years.

The company currently has three major development centers located in Haifa, Petah Tikva and Jerusalem, and an advanced chip manufacturing plant in Kiryat Gat, which is expanding.

Global competition

Intel’s official launch of Alder Lake comes as competition among global chipmakers heats up as they strive to make custom chips to boost computing systems’ performance amid a world shortage of semiconductors. There are billions of chips used for everything from phones and laptops to cars and cloud computing, making them the engine of the tech industry. But manufacturers can’t do much without a steady supply of them.

In July, The Times of Israel reported how tech giants in the semiconductor space are going all-in in Israel, where they are betting on top local talent to drive their efforts forward.

Intel, alongside multinational giants like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Nvidia, have all been setting up or expanding their chip design operations in Israel – cementing the country’s position as a silicon workhorse alongside its status as Startup Nation.

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