If you look at the past years, CPU core architecture is evolving rapidly and processors are getting more powerful than ever.
So, for the sake of high performance, the processor manufacturing giant Intel came up with a hybrid core architecture embedded in the CPUs called P-Cores & E-Cores.
Well, it’s not a new tech, but for x86 desktop CPUs, it’s a breakthrough. So, if you want to gather in-depth info on these Intel cores, you’re welcome to read this article. Let’s begin!
Why Intel Came Up with Different Cores?
This type of hybrid core architecture isn’t new because ARM-based mobile CPUs adopted it many years ago. For the sake of power efficiency, ARM CPUs splits the cores because not all cores should get involved to perform bare-bones tasks. That’s why Intel added this tech to their CPUs. So, before beginning the core explanation, first, we have to understand after so many years why Intel came up with these P-cores and E-cores now. Until now, x86-based CPUs cores have the same clock speed and processing power.
When the CPU starts executing the instructions, all the cores begin the execution with the same clock speed. As soon as, all the core starts to work at a time, the CPU draws more power. But it’s not necessary for all the cores to execute simple tasks together.
That’s why ARM-based mobile CPUs included those performance cores and efficient cores a long time ago. These cores help the CPU to be more power efficient. That’s why hybrid cores are more optimized and draw less power from the battery while executing minimalistic tasks.
To achieve that super optimization, Intel adopted this CPU core technology. With this, Intel now has two sets of cores, E-cores handle the clutter-free tasks, and P-cores deal with all the high-level tasks.
However, Intel experimented with these cores in its Lakefield chips: Intel Core i5-L16G7 & Intel Core i3-L13G4. But the experiment was a mixed bag while delivering performance.
So, they added the hybrid cores into their mainstream CPU lineup, the Alder Lake 12th gen, and it snatched all the attention and praise. And they keep continuing that journey in their 13th gen Raptor Lake CPUs.
In recent years, the CPU improved a lot to deliver higher clock speed, so gaming performance boosted massively. That’s why GHz does matter in CPU, isn’t it?
What are P-Cores & E-Cores?
Both P-cores & E-cores changed the game for Intel and bring back the position once snatched by AMD. But what exactly are these P-Cores, and E-Cores? Let me explain it.
Before we do, keep in mind that CPU cores and logical processors/threads are not the same.
Let’s start with the strong cores, the P-Cores. P-Cores are the most powerful cores among these two sets of cores. When the CPU needs to handle massive high-level tasks, the P-Core steps forward and takes the lead. It pulls the most power and ramp with high clock speed.
So, they are called the performance core or P-core because they do most of the performance-based work.
These cores are capable of handling high CPU-intensive chores. So, when Intel called for a high action it calls the big daddy, the “P-Core”. And these cores crush and rip out all the workloads just like a heated knife slicing the butter.
P-core also offers hyper-threading, which means one core can handle the workload with two virtual cores. So, P-cores are like beasts with two heavenly swords.
To add more info, performance cores are founded on Intel’s Golden Cove microarchitecture, which is the advanced version of the older Cypress Cove cores used for Rocket Lake, Intel’s 11th-generation chips.
Now, let’s get into the E-cores. You can compare the P-cores with all the previous cores, but the E-core is the new addition to the core family. When P-cores does all the highly intensive work, E-cores handle the rest of the simple day-to-day task.
So, their work handling chart identifies them as the weaker cores. That’s why they draw less power and become efficient cores or E-cores. In fact, efficiency cores are mainly focused on less power consumption and provide the best performance as well.
E-core mainly deals with background tasks just like the multicore and in the meantime, it keeps the performance cores less busy. Efficient cores are founded on Intel’s Gracemont microarchitecture, and it’s the advanced version of the Tremont used to power Pentium Gold & Celeron laptop-grade processors.
As you’re now well aware of the performance core & efficiency cores of Intel’s latest CPUs. Now let’s get into one step deeper; the advantages of this splitting technology.
Additionally, you can easily check how many P-Cores and E-Cores you have on your PC.
The Benefits of P-Core & E-Core When Working Together
The performance core & the efficient cores work like Harry Potter’s wand because the CPU performance is boosted magically after adding these two types of cores to the processors. Intel is conquering the mountain of performance with these two sets of hybrid cores when working together.
Intel achieved a 19% performance boost in the 12th gen with these cores against their 11th-generation Tiger Lake processors. Plus, their 13th gen Raptor Lake gained a 24% performance boost compared to the 12th generation.
However, the E-cores provide 40% better performance than the older 6th gen Sky Lake CPUs.
So, do the math and look at how much improvement they acquired after adding those cores to their CPU architecture. Before adding those cores, AMD snatched Intel’s pride over performance with their Ryzen 5000 series APUs.
But Intel managed to bring back their pride by launching their 12th-generation processors in the market. Intel’s 12th gen & 13th gen CPUs are truly magical wands because of those P-cores & E-cores.
No matter how heavy the workload is, those cores handle all of them with ease, just throw at them. To get the full benefit, I’d strongly recommend enabling all cores on your PC.
Which Intel CPUs Do Come with Hybrid Cores?
Intel introduces the P-cores and E-cores into the 12th gen Alder Lake processors, which support the LGA1700 socket. And this core architecture also continued in the 13th generation Raptor Lake CPUs. But not all the 12th & 13th generation processors have these hybrid cores.
Here is the list of Intel CPUs in a table that comes with hybrid cores P-cores & E-cores:
P-Core + E-Core
|P-Core Base/Boost Clock||E-Core Base/Boost Clock|
|Core i9-12900K / KF||16/24 - 8P + 8E||3.2 / 5.2 GHz||2.4 / 3.9 GHz|
|Core i7-12700K / KF||12/20 - 8P + 4E||3.6 / 5.0 GHz||2.7 / 3.8 GHz|
|Core i5-12600K / KF||10/16 - 6P+ 6E||3.7 / 4.9 GHz||2.8 / 3.6 GHz|
|Core i9-13900K / KF||24/32 - 8P +16E||3.0 / 5.8 GHz||2.2 / 4.3 GHz|
|Core i7-13700K / KF||16/24 - 8P + 8E||3.4 / 5.4 GHz||2.5 / 4.2 GHz|
|Core i5-13600K / KF||14/20 - 6P + 8E||3.5 / 5.1 GHz||2.6 / 2.9 GHz|
From the above, you can clearly see the distribution of the performance core & efficient core among the 12th and 13th generation Intel CPUs. I have also included the base & boost clock speed of those hybrid cores.
All the cores need exact voltage to run with the boosted clock speed. And to overclock these beasts, you should know how much voltage a CPU can take. So, apply the voltage carefully.
So, in a short, all I can say is, P-Cores are the main powerful cores that handle all the high CPU-intensive instructions by consuming more power, whereas E-Cores are the power-efficient cores that tackle all the simple chores.
On a side note, disabling a few logical CPU cores can often give unexpected benefits as well.
Are E-Cores worth it?
E-Cores are better to handle background or simple tasks. These cores are less powerful but high-efficient. But for gaming or CPU-intensive workloads, these cores won’t do much.
What does P-Core & E-Core stand for?
For Intel processors, the P-Core stands for Performance core and E-Core stands for Efficient core.
Does Intel Core i7-12700K have P-Cores?
Intel’s 12th-gen core i7-12700K is equipped with 12 cores and 20 threads. And these 12 Cores are combined with 8 P-Cores and 4 E-Cores.
Both P-Core and E-Core change the game for Intel by beating AMD in terms of performance. So, when a CPU combined with performance and efficiency, it’s become tough to beat it.
That’s why AMD is planning to bring some major changes in the APUs architecture for their upcoming processors. Let’s see what’s new is coming. Till then, Intel will rule the CPU market for sure.
For more info, knock me in the comment box. Good luck & keep enjoying the tech!