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Microsoft and Intel confirm Windows 11 is optimized for Alder Lake's big.LITTLE design

Intel and Windows 11 logos side by side with Windows 11 default wallpaper as background

At its Architecture Day 2021 event today, Intel outlined details regarding its upcoming CPU and GPU platforms. The company released more information regarding its Arc-branded discrete graphics cards and the accompanying features.

Alongside Arc GPUs, it also discussed its upcoming Alder Lake processors that are launching later in the year.

Intel Alder Lake features

Alder Lake is based on Intel's upcoming hybrid Big-Bigger approach called Performance Hybrid architecture and among other things, the company today explained how task assignments will work with the new design. In fact, during its presentation, Intel confirmed that Windows 11 is optimized to work really well with its Alder Lake CPUs, stating:

To enable this level of fine-grained coordination for real performance, Intel jointly worked with Microsoft to incorporate this revolutionary capability into upcoming Windows 11 release.

Mehmet Iyigun, Partner Development Manager at Microsoft, added to this, saying:

Throughout the Windows 11 development cycle, my team has been working with our colleagues at Intel to enlighten and optimize our upcoming OS to take full advantage of the Performance Hybrid architecture and Thread Director in particular.

With Thread Director feedback, the Windows 11 thread scheduler is much smarter about dynamically picking the most appropriate core based on the workload to achieve the best power and performance.

We have apparently already found evidence of this when a Lakefield Core i7-L16G7 was earlier tested in the Windows 11 environment.

For those wondering what the Thread Director is, essentially it is a new technology in Alder Lake that provides feedback to the OS that in turn helps the Windows 11 scheduler to efficiently assign the workloads such that more complex ones composed of vector instructions, among others, go to the Performance Core (P-core), while lighter scalar instructions and background tasks are sent to the Efficient Core (E-core). However, the feedback is dynamic and it can adapt depending on the workload present on each core.

Thread Director in Alder Lake for Performance Hybrid design
Alder Lake

To know more about how Thread Director works, you can view the demo by Intel linked in the source below.

Source: Intel Newsroom (YouTube)

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