Huge Cache Upgrade – Intel’s next-gen Arrow Lake-S CPU will make big changes to its P-cores

Huge Cache Upgrade - Intel's next-gen Arrow Lake-S CPU will make big changes to its P-cores

Intel’s Arrow Lake-S processors will reportedly feature 3MB of L2 Cache on its Performance Cores

Next year, Intel plans to launch their next-generation Arrow Lake series of processors, giving their customers access to a suite of improvements and architectural changes over today’s Raptor Lake CPUs. These changes will include the move from Raptor Lake Performance Cores to Lion Cove Performance Cores, and the move from Gracemont Efficiency Cores to Skymont Efficiency Cores. 

A recent leak from “Golden Pig Upgrade“, has alleged that Intel’s planned Arrow Lake Lion Cove P-Cores (Performance Cores) will feature 3MB of L2 cache per core, a major change over today’s Raptor Lake cores, which feature 2MB of L2 Cache per P-Core. This is an even larger upgrade over older Intel architectures, as Alder Lake CPUs only features 1.25MB of L2 Cache per P-core and Intel’s older Rocket Lake and Comet Lake cores only features 0.5MB of L2 Cache per Core.

If today’s information is accurate, Intel will have delivered a 6x increase on L2 cache per P-core since the launch of their 11th generation of core processors. Adding additional L2 cache to CPUs allows more data to be stored on-chip, with this data being accessible much faster than if the same data were on DRAM or L3 cache. Having larger caches on a processor can significantly accelerate some workloads, with gaming being a workloads that has been significantly impacted by caching changes in the past.

Huge Cache Upgrade - Intel's next-gen Arrow Lake-S CPU will make big changes to its P-cores

When comparing Intel’s Alder Lake and Raptor Lake P-core designs, one of Intel’s primary upgrades was to increase the L2 cache size of their P-cores from 1.25MB to 2MB. Aside from this change, both Alder Lake and Raptor Lake’s P-core designs are near identical, with Raptor Lake P-cores also delivering higher clock speeds. In gaming workloads, we have found that Raptor Lake CPUs are significantly faster than their Alder Lake counterparts in many titles, and changes to L2 and L3 cache are a major contributing factor to these changes.

In recent years, AMD has taken advantage of cache structure changes to deliver huge increases in CPU performance, with the addition of additional L3 cache with the company’s X3D series processors being their latest caching innovation. While Intel does not appear to be ready to add extra cache to their CPUs through die stacking, it is clear that Intel are tinkering with their cache sizes to deliver similar cache-related benefits to their latest CPUs. With Arrow Lake, Intel appears to be significantly boosting the size of their L2 caches, so much so that Intel’s P-cores will offer users more than two times as much L2 cache per core than AMD’s current-generation Zen 4 processors. 

You can join the discussion on Intel’s rumoured L2 cache changes with Arrow Lake on the OC3D Forums.