Intel Alder Lake-N tested in game emulation
ETA Prime tests one of the first devices equipped with Intel’s new CPUs called Alder Lake N-Series.
Intel Processor Series is a successor to Pentium/Celeron offering, more precisely the newest N100/200/300 SKUs are the next generation of ultra-low power mobile CPUs that replace Pentium/Celeron Nx000 “Jasper Lake” series. What they have in common is the microarchitecture they are built upon, which is a low power “Atom” design, in this case “Gracemont” now deployed in Alder and Raptor Lake series.
In other words, the Nx00 CPUs have no Performance cores, but rely on Efficient architecture exclusively. The most capable SKU from the series offers 8 cores, while the model tested by ETA is equipped with 4. Officially, this is the new Alder Lake-N product family.
Intel Alder Lake-N series
- Core i3-N305: 8c/8t up to 3.8 GHz, 32EU iGPU, 9-15W TDP
- Core i5-N300: 8c/8t up to 3.8 GHz, 32EU iGPU, 7W TDP
- Processor N200: 4c/4t up to 3.7 GHz, 32EU iGPU, 6W TDP
- Processor N100: 4c/4t up to 3.4 GHz, 24EU iGPU, 6W TDP (used by MoreFine N9)
- Processor N50: 2c/2t up to 3.4 GHz, 16EU iGPU, 6W TDP
ETA tested Morefine M9 Mini-PC which is an ultra-small form factor Mini-PC (just 0.5L) with N100 CPU and single-channel DDR4 memory. The system is even smaller than a game pad and almost a third of the 75% keyboard size. The N100 CPU offers 4 cores and 4 threads clocked up to 3.4 GHz. This SoC has built-in Intel UHD graphics with 24 Execution Units clocked up to 750 MHz. This is by no means a gaming machine.
As mentioned, this particular processor has limited RAM support to one channel DDR4. This is a limiting factor for integrated graphics which can easily result in double digit performance loss. That said, the emulation games tested might have easily reached 60 FPS in most cases, but were limited by the memory.
Yet, the device has no issues with older gaming console emulation. It can run smoothly Gamecube’s F-Zero GX, PSP’s God of War Chains of the Olympus, PS2 Grand Turismo 4 or even WiiU Bayoneta 2 (although here it wouldn’t average at 60 FPS). All that with an average gaming power consumption (of the system) at 16W, while idling at 4W.
Intel Alder Lake-N series are very efficient and capable series for sure, and they will find their use in business and home PCs that are not use for gaming. However, as demonstrated the product is capable rendering machine, even emulated, so we could eventually see these processors in cheap gaming consoles under $200.