Nice to know: Intel Performance Cores and Efficiency Cores

With its 12th generation of CPUs, Intel has introduced two different types of cores: so-called performance cores and efficiency cores. We explain how they differ, what their characteristics are and what they are used for.

Hybrid architecture CPUs

In conventional multi-core CPUs, each core is identical, with all cores having the same performance rating and consuming the same amount of power. This means that the CPU has a certain minimum consumption that cannot be undercut without shutting down the CPU altogether. This is hardly noticeable with devices that draw their power from the wall socket. But when the device is in battery mode, every watt counts.  

The 12th generation Intel desktop processors are equipped with two types of cores. A distinction is made between the powerful performance cores (P-cores) and the flexible efficiency cores (E-cores), both of which have completely different functions.  


Big and powerful - the Performance Cores 

The Intel Performance Cores are physically larger than the Efficiency Cores because they are designed for raw speed while maintaining efficiency. In addition, the Performance Cores are tuned for high turbo frequencies and high IPC (instructions per cycle) and are perfect for heavy single-threaded work, which is mostly required by game engines. Especially as they are designed for the simultaneous operation of two software threads with their hyper-threading capability.  


Small but mighty - the Efficiency Cores

Compared to the performance cores, the efficiency cores are physically much smaller, as several of them fit into the space of one performance core. They are responsible for maximising the efficiency of the CPU (measured as performance per watt), taking over the management of smaller background tasks so that the Performance Cores are free to increase the performance of the CPU. But they also work with the performance cores to speed up tasks that put a lot of strain on the cores.  


Advantages of the new technology

Notebook users in particular benefit from CPUs with the hybrid architecture, as most daily tasks do not require that much power, so the E cores are mostly used. They benefit from a cooler and quieter computer with longer battery life.  

This type of CPU is also installed in our new KUMO VI. In this case, it is particularly practical, as the Performance Cores are mostly available for large tasks that are very processor-intensive, although a few Efficiency Cores are certainly still used for less important tasks. While the Efficiency Cores are more responsible for smaller applications, such as operating system background tasks, or as support workers for the Performance Cores.


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