If you take a look at the current or upcoming BIOSes of the various Z690 motherboards, you will be surprised to see that the old PL2 has become the new PL1 almost overnight. Officially, the manufacturers are silent for understandable reasons, but there have already been some hints that it is not an accident, but wanted by Intel. That doesn’t make much sense for a new CPU generation, which is advertised mainly in terms of efficiency and technical progress, if you don’t have to deal with AMD, whose Ryzen CPUs now run at least to some extent usable under Windows 11.
Own benchmarks over 11 games in 4 resolutions showed only a few reproducible anomalies with AMD’s Ryzen 9 5950X and the Ryzen 9 5900X is even already faster than under Windows 10, especially in professional applications.
That the manufacturers do not see this softening of the PL1 with 125 watts with joy, should also be understandable, because the calculation of the individual assemblies including MTBF specifications would then at least with the somewhat cheaper Z690 boards certainly not quite so open, as predicted and tested. In the end, I wouldn’t even be surprised if this PL1=PL2 default was then also sold to reviewers as the new “gaming feeling”, so that no one turns the supposedly wrong BIOS default. I can’t verify it, but I’d bet on it if I were a gambling person. The fact is that I’m only going to test from an actual specs perspective for now, so that’s exactly how it should be. If anyone sees it differently, then they’ll have to wait for the OC tests at least on this site, which will of course come in full later.
But stop, some will now get a kind of déjà vu! Experience has already been gained with the Rocket-Lake-Launch, where every noob with a tower cooler was given the full PL1=Pl2-blast. But at least there was a selection menu with warnings at the first start. Now the PL2 is already the standard feature ex works. I hope the customer chooses his motherboard not by the number of coloured LEDs, but by the quality of the voltage converters. It would certainly make sense.
If we have a closer look into some documents from Intel, this was already planned, long time ago. So I must correct me a little bit:
Validate Electrical and Thermal Capabilities
It is recommended that system integrators verify that with PL1=PL2 settings and the specifications listed above in place that, no adverse thermal impacts to VR or CPU take place. This can be done by running:
• Five consecutive iterations of CineBench20 (MT). 5-10 seconds between runs.
• Verify Scores are within (+/- ) 2% distribution.
• No VR Thermal events.
SoC Heatsink Thermal Capabilities
• The performance requirement of the thermal solution at end-of-life should be 0.07°C/Watt
• System condition assumptions for these requirements are as follows:
• TjMax = 100˚C
• Local Ambient= 30˚C
• Alder Lake S 8+8+1 125 W SoC
VR Thermal Additional Recommendations
• For designs with 8-phase’s VR, which configure PL1=PL2, passive heat sinks are recommended on VR components to avoid VRHOT# assertion.
• Additionally, Intel recommends board manufacturers conduct VR component thermal tests, under loading conditions above to assess the need for passive cooling on their specific topologies.
IA Iccmax (A) 280
IA IPL2 (A) 184
IA ∆i (A) 208
IA ∆t (ns) 200
IA DC/AC LL (mΩ) 1.1
GT Iccmax (A) 30
GT IPL2 (A) 22
GT ∆i (A) 21
GT ∆t (ns) 250
GT DC/AC LL (mΩ) 4.0
AUX Iccmax (A) 28.5
AUX DC LL (mΩ) 2.0
PL1 (W) 241
PL2 (W) 241
PL4 (W) 359