New thermal characteristics of Intel chips. Why did you abandon the usual TDP?

Intel’s 12th generation processors were released in early November. Alder Lake architecture has brought many innovations. The main one was the emergence of energy efficient cores. At the same time, the American corporation decided to abandon the Typical Heat Dissipation (TDP) parameter. Intel has begun specifying new abbreviations PBP and MTP in its chip specifications. Let’s see what they mean.

What is TDP
A small educational program for those who do not understand at all what this is about.

TDP stands for Thermal Design Power, which is the amount of heat generated by the processor when operating at base frequency, which is dissipated by the cooling system into the environment. Details can be found in the specialized material .

Previously, Intel specified this characteristic in the specifications of the CPU.

TDP is considered by many to be the equivalent of CPU power consumption. However, from the point of view of physics, this is not entirely correct. Most of the energy consumed by the CPU is converted into heat. Only a small part of it turns into electromagnetic radiation – so small that it can be neglected.

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How the heat pack differs from real energy consumption
The subtlety lies in the fact that when the processor is operating in Turbo Boost mode, the heat dissipation goes far beyond the indicated TDP. For example, for the flagship of the last generation Core i9-11900K, the real power consumption can reach 300 W and higher . At the same time, the manufacturer declared only 125 watts.

Intel Core i9-11900K BOX 46 399 processor *
Consumption on the example of Intel Core i9-10900K in the y-Cruncher test with disabled limits

Processor manufacturers indicate the amount of heat dissipation only for the base frequency of cores – both Intel and AMD are guilty of this. But if you set the limit in the motherboard BIOS to the same 125 W, the computer’s performance will drop catastrophically. Turbo frequencies will not be reached at all.

Why TDP is no longer relevant
The TDP value is now more of a marketing figure that has nothing to do with reality. Several years ago, Intel engineers introduced Power Limit settings. This allowed us to bring theory and practice at least a little.

Power Limit values ​​using the 10th generation ruler as an example

PL1 was made equal to TDP, i.e. consumption at base frequency. PL2 shows the maximum consumption limit during the Tau time period . This means the i9-10900K can draw up to 250W for a maximum of 56 seconds of turbo boost. With the release of the 12th generation Alder Lake processors, the company decided to remove these crutches and introduce completely new values.

What is PBP and MTP
The specifications now specify two parameters at once. PBP (Processor Base Power) is the maximum heat dissipation at the base frequency, that is, analogous to TDP and PL1. MTP (Maximum Turbo Power) stands for “fair” heat dissipation that the processor can achieve in boost mode.

Intel Core i9-12900K Spec Sheet

The difference is that the MTP parameter is not equal to PL2 – now there is no time limit at all. So far, this is true only for the older Alder Lake models: Core i9-12900K, i7-12700K and i5-12600K. It is quite possible that these limitations will still appear for lower CPUs.

The flagship was officially allowed to dissipate up to 241 W of heat, the pre-top model – 190 W, and the senior member of the i5 family – 150 W

In fact, Intel simply “legitimized” the numbers we already knew by making this information available to inexperienced users. It is now easier for beginners to navigate when selecting a cooling system for a new CPU. Errors will occur less frequently. A customer is now unlikely to buy a simple cooler with a couple of heat pipes for the i7-12700K. He will easily understand that such a system is not capable of cooling the hot temper of the processor. According to the old TDP parameter of 125 W, the purchase would “fit”. But focusing on the new MTP, the user will make a choice in favor of a more powerful cooling system.