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Faulty DRM breaks dozens of games on Intel’s Alder Lake CPUs

A nice CPU that doesn't play nice with some DRM...

Enlarge / A nice CPU that doesn’t play nice with some DRM…

Longtime Ars readers probably remember some of the many cases in which overly onerous DRM prevented game owners from playing their legitimate purchases. We’re seeing that situation play out again today, this time thanks to how some DRM systems interact with the unique features of Intel’s 12th-generation “Alder Lake” CPUs.

We’ve already covered how Alder Lake’s hybrid “big.little” design splits the CPU’s workload into high-powered “performance” (P) cores and low-powered “efficiency” (E) cores. But after hinting at the potential issue in a developer FAQ last month, Intel is now confirming that some games contain DRM that Intel says “may incorrectly recognize 12th Generation Intel Core Processors efficient-cores (E-cores) as another system.” That issue can lead to games that “may crash during launch or gameplay or unexpectedly shut down,” Intel says.

PC Mag’s Chris Stobing explained that the issue arises from the DRM middleware treating the two different types of cores as two distinct systems. “Once it detects that some portion of the load has been split between the P- and E-cores, it sees the new cores as a new license holder (a separate system) and force-quits the game to prevent what it believes is two PCs trying to play one game on the same key,” he said.

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Source: https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2021/11/faulty-drm-breaks-dozens-of-games-on-intels-alder-lake-cpus/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Kyle Orland

Intel’s hybrid 12th-gen chips are a major strike against AMD

We’ve been hearing about Intel’s powerful hybrid chips for so long, they’ve achieved almost mythical status. The idea behind them is intriguing: they feature both performance-cores (P-cores) and and efficient-cores (E-cores) on a single die, giving you chips that can be beefy and a bit more power-conscious, depending on the task. Previously, all of Intel’s CPU cores were pretty much the same, which led to the energy-hungry designs we’ve seen over the last few years. 

Now the company is ready to launch those chips, previously codenamed “Alder Lake,” as its 12th-gen desktop processors. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll be able to steal the spotlight back from AMD and Apple.

In addition to their hybrid configuration, these 12th-gen chips are also the first under the “Intel 7” process technology, which was previously seen as a refined 10nm design. When Intel revised its product roadmap in July with new names, it seemed to just be steering us away from its 7nm delays. But the performance of these 12th-gen chips may be enough to justify the new branding.

Intel 12th-gen CPU die from the bottom

Intel

Intel is throwing some major numbers around: it says 12th-gen chips are up to 19 percent faster than 11th-gen CPUs overall, and they’re twice as fast in the Adobe After Effects Pulse benchmark. When it comes to multithreaded performance (tasks built specifically for more than one core, like video and 3D rendering), the company claims the top-end i9-12900K is 50 percent faster than last year’s 11900K while using less power. And even better, it can achieve performance parity while using only around a quarter of the power. Basically, everyone who held off on upgrading over the last few years is in for a treat, as these chips promise to be a big leap forward.

Intel’s 12th-gen Core chips can fit in up to 16 cores on the i9-12900K. That’s a combination of 8 P-cores and 8 E-cores, with a total of 24 process threads (every P-core counts double, since they support hyper-threading, but the E-cores don’t). Given that this is an entirely new way of designing its chips, the company also worked together to develop a new Thread Director with Microsoft, which intelligently assigns tasks to the appropriate core. That way you don’t have to manually assign a background thread to an E-core, or start mucking about your settings once you start working on concurrent tasks. (If the hybrid core design seems familiar, it’s because ARM has been pushing something similar for the past decade with its big.LITTLE technology on mobile CPUs.)

Intel 12th-gen CPU charts

Intel

Intel claims P-cores can perform up to 28 percent faster than its 10th-gen Comet Lake S chips in single-threaded performance. The E-cores, meanwhile, are just as fast as the 10th-gen hardware on their own. As you’d expect, these chips shine best when you’re throwing serious workloads at them. Intel says the i9-12900K can get around up to 84 percent higher framerates while playing Mount and Blade II and streaming over OBS, compared to the previous generation chip. Similarly, it’s 47 percent faster while multi-tasking with Adobe Lightroom Classic and Premiere Pro.

Intel 12th-gen CPU charts

Intel

Intel’s figures sound impressive when compared to its own hardware, but the company also noted that its Ryzen benchmarks were run before AMD and Microsoft deployed Windows 11 updates to fix some performance bugs. At the time of its testing, the i9-12900K appeared to have a commanding lead over the Ryzen 5950X in many games, like Troy: A Total War Saga and Grid 2019. But it’ll be interested to see what those numbers look like now. And of course, AMD could easily come back with speedier hardware of its own early next year.

Intel 12th-gen CPU charts

The new 12th-gen chips are also looking towards the future, with support for up to 16 lanes of PCIe 5.0 and DDR5-4800 RAM. Intel’s new 600-series chipset will feature PCIe 4.0 support, integrated WiFi 6E, and an updated Direct Media Interface (DMI) that’ll offer “double and faster bandwidth between the chipset and the processor.” There’s also support for up to 4 USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports, as well as far more USB 3.2 Gen 2 connections in general.

As you’d expect, it’ll cost a bit more to jump into Intel’s 12th-gen chips. The Core i9-12900K will go for $589, compared to the 11900K’s $539 to $549 price range. You could always save $20 or so by getting the “KF” chip without onboard graphics, but in general I’d recommend keeping graphics in case your GPU gets fried. The more approachable Core i7-12700K, thankfully, hasn’t budged from its predecessor’s $409 price, while the Core i5-12600K is around $20 more than before if you want onboard graphics.

The real question for Intel is how this new hardware stacks up against what AMD and Apple have coming. Benchmark leaks suggest that the i9-12900K is faster than Apple’s M1 Max chip, but that’s also a power-sipping laptop part. A faster, desktop-focused chip from Apple would likely leave Intel lagging behind again. Still, this uncertainty is a good thing for the PC industry as a whole. Now we’ve got several companies producing powerful processors. Their attempts to one-up should ultimately be a very good thing for consumers.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/intel-12th-gen-core-cpu-hybrid-alder-lake-160014440.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Devindra Hardawar

Intel Has Its Own Graphics Cards Coming Next Year

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For the longest time, the two pillars of graphics cards have been NVIDIA and AMD. However, there’s about to be a third pillar supporting the GPU space, as Intel has officially announced its own Arc GPU brand with devices targeted at gamers seeking the best performance from their hardware.

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Source: https://www.howtogeek.com/748702/intel-has-its-own-graphics-cards-coming-next-year/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Dave LeClair

Intel Just Announced the 11th-Gen Mobile CPUs We’ve Been Waiting For

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Intel’s new 11th-gen H-Series mobile processors will join the ones it announced during CES 2021, bringing the total to six. The new mobile processors are designed for ultraportable gaming laptops, as well as content creation-focused machines and mobile workstations.

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Source: https://gizmodo.com/intel-just-announced-the-11th-gen-mobile-cpus-weve-been-1846845471
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Joanna Nelius

New Spectre attack once again sends Intel and AMD scrambling for a fix

Rows of beautifully colored computer components.

Enlarge (credit: Intel)

Since 2018, an almost endless series of attacks broadly known as Spectre has kept Intel and AMD scrambling to develop defenses to mitigate vulnerabilities that allow malware to pluck passwords and other sensitive information directly out of silicon. Now, researchers say they’ve devised a new attack that breaks most—if not all—of those on-chip defenses.

Spectre got its name for its abuse of speculative execution, a feature in virtually all modern CPUs that predicts the future instructions the CPUs might receive and then follows a path that the instructions are likely to follow. By using code that forces a CPU to execute instructions along the wrong path, Spectre can extract confidential data that would have been accessed had the CPU continued down that wrong path. These exploits are known as transient executions.

“Dangerous implications”

Since Spectre was first described in 2018, new variants have surfaced almost every month. In many cases, the new variants have required chipmakers to develop new or augmented defenses to mitigate the attacks.

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Source: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2021/05/new-spectre-attack-once-again-sends-intel-and-amd-scrambling-for-a-fix/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Dan Goodin

Intel ordered to pay $2.18 billion in patent lawsuit

6e377550-7bfe-11eb-bd7e-9a4bc9d74213Intel has been ordered to pay $2.18 billion dollars after losing a lawsuit over two decade-old patents, Bloomberg has reported. A jury ruled that Intel infringed patents related to clock frequencies and voltage owned by a company called VLSI LLC. &qu…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/intel-ordered-to-pay-2-18-billion-in-patent-lawsuit-093513891.html
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Intel’s PC business is up 33 percent thanks to cheap notebooks

a85cc840-5c3f-11eb-bfeb-10234ab4073eWe already know that 2020 was a huge year for PC shipments, now Intel is confirming that report with explosive fourth quarter earnings results. The chipmaker says its PC business was up 33 percent compared to last year, with notebook revenue in parti…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/intel-q4-earnings-pc-revenues-notebooks-232707825.html
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Intel’s White Box Laptop Will Hit Stores Under Smaller Brand Names

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Intel has a long history of making concept hardware and inviting vendors to build it: that’s where we get the term “ultrabook.” Its latest design is a bit more straightforward. The NUC M15 is in the same line as the Next Unit of Computing mini-PCs, and Intel’s going to farm the design out to boutique manufacturers to customize and resell.

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Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/61891/intels-white-box-laptop-will-hit-stores-under-smaller-brand-names/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Michael Crider

Why an AMD 5000 CPU Might Beat Intel’s CPUs for Gaming

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Here we go again! AMD Zen CPUs already have a reputation as the best performers in multi-threaded and productivity application performance. Now, the chip manufacturer has its eye on Intel’s longtime dominance in PC gaming.

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Source: https://www.howtogeek.com/696168/why-an-amd-5000-cpu-might-beat-intels-cpus-for-gaming/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Ian Paul

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