Intel’s Alder Lake-S desktop processors will feature two different dies that will be modified to power the entire lineup. One will be for the higher-end SKUs such as the Core i5-12600K, Core i7-12700K, and the Core i9-12900K while the other will be for the budget parts including the Core i3-12100 and the Core i5-12400. The former will feature both performance (x8 Golden Cove) and efficiency (x8 Gracemont) cores while the latter will only consist of (up to six) performance cores.
The large die has a surface area of 215 square millimeters, while the smaller one measures 163 mm². A comparison of these two chips shows that the thermal hotspot is different for the two chips, indicating that the same heatsinks may not be ideal for both.
It’s unclear how OEMs plan to tackle this problem, or why Intel didn’t mention it in its briefing. It’s possible that the smaller die simply produces less heat, making the thermal aspect less troublesome. Either way, we’ll find out soon enough.