May 19, 2022

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AVX-512 aktiv

Intel is said to be phasing out AVX-512 modules for Alder Lake at the hardware level

There is some news in the story regarding the deactivation of existing AVX-512 functional modules in Alder Lake processors. Apparently, after deactivating via a microcode update, Intel sees the next step as inevitable: deactivation at the hardware level, i.e. by laser cutting.

It was announced a few weeks ago: Intel disables the AVX-512 functional modules via a microcode update and many motherboard manufacturers implement this directly. Others look for solutions and provide switches in the BIOS that can be used to switch between small icons. So it remains the same: if you want, you can use the AVX-512 with Alder Lake processors, although practical use is interesting only for a very few.

Now it looks like Intel wants to pull the ripcord. According to TomsHardware, an Intel spokesperson said:

“Although AVX-512 has not disabled fuses in some Alder Lake desktop products, Intel plans to integrate AVX-512 into Alder Lake products in the future.” Translated this means something like: Although AVX-512 has not been disabled for previous Alder Lake desktop products, Intel plans to disable AVX-512 on Alder Lake products in the future.

Here we are talking about direct closing of functional units – the so-called laser cutting. This also makes it impossible to reactivate the AVX-512 via the microcode.

It’s unknown why Intel would want to take this (next) step. The target group for the AVX-512 at Lake Alder should be very small. First, Intel wants to disable AVX-512 on non-K processors. It’s clear that Intel has never said it wants AVX-512 support for Alder Lake processors. Perhaps this is the case somehow by mistake. Next generation Xeon (Sapphire Rapids) also uses Willow Cove cores, but they are adapted in terms of cache sizes and provide full AVX-512 support.

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We’ve asked Intel for more details on how to proceed and are awaiting an answer.