Defunctland’s VR amusement park revives a long-dead Disney ride

Obviously, nobody’s in a rush to hit the theme parks these days. But if you’re feeling the Disneyland itch after being cooped up for months, you can now ride a long-forgotten attraction from the comfort of your desk—no queuing required.

Over on YouTube, Kevin Perjurer’s Defunctland has been busy cataloguing classic, often long-dead theme park rides and attractions. Shortly after the channel debuted in 2017, Perjurer teased Defunctland VR, a project that’d let you pop on a headset and experience these shuttered rides for yourself.

Three years of relative silence later, and Defunctland’s first attraction is open for business. First opened in 1971, Disney World Orlando’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea has been fully rebuilt in Perjurer’s virtual park, sporting audio pulled from the original ride. The sub itself is fully functional, right down to flip-down chairs you can sit on to peek out at the aquatic animatronics through the window.

While intended as a neat little VR showcase, Defunctland VR is also fully playable in 2D, with a spacious little pre-ride lobby area to explore. The whole thing can also be experienced through a 360° YouTube video.

As it stands, Defunctland VR is a neat little historical artefact. But I’m more excited by the promise of what it could become—a museum-like collection of dozens of defunct old rides, keeping the experience of riding their real-world counterparts alive long after they hit the scrapheap.

“We are continuing to develop more attractions for the project. We’re hoping to bring rides from all sorts of theme parks and give them new life,” Perjurer told Polygon. “A surprising amount of people told us personal stories of loved ones they used to experience this ride with, and how getting the chance to ride it in VR brought back memories not just of the ride, but of their friends and family.”

The Stardew Valley Expanded mod is ready for 1.5 with a big new farm

Now that Stardew Valley‘s foundations-shaking 1.5 update has been out for a bit, let me point out to you that a bunch of the game’s most popular mods are already updated and fit for purpose with it. 

Specifically, the sprawling Stardew Valley Expanded mod is chugging along as usual, and got a nice new farm map to suit the big update to boot. Grandpa’s Farm is a huge new farm map with all manner of niceties on it, like a mysterious-looking shed. Some nice shady-looking groves. A lovely river. It also includes new secrets and quests to go along with a new look. The old farm map for SVE, Immersive Farm 2, is still available, but Grandpa’s Farm supercedes it as the primary map for SVE.

Return to Castle Monkey Ball is exactly what you think it is

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Return to Castle Monkey Ball is exactly what you think it is
By Mollie Taylor an hour ago

Grab bananas and bowl over some Nazis.


Ever sat there and thought “Man, Wolfenstein 3D is great but it really needs more Super Monkey Ball?” No? Well, maybe you should, because there’s now a fangame which satisfies that exact need.

Thanks to creator Nickireda Return to Castle Monkey Ball combines all the chaotic physics-based fun of Super Monkey Ball with Wolfenstein 3D’s Nazi fighting mayhem (thanks Kotaku). B.J. Bakowicz has traded in his arsenal of weapons in favour of rolling around in a plastic ball a lá AiAi. There are eight procedurally generated Nazi fortresses to roll through, with bananas to collect and enemies to bonk with your ball.

I had a go on the easiest difficulty, “Can I play, Daddy?” and quickly remembered how awful I’ve always been at Super Monkey Ball. It’s a very strange juxtaposition, particularly Wolfenstein 3D’s bleak castle being narrated by Super Monkey Ball’s enthusiastic announcer. But there’s something strangely compelling about barrelling monkeys into Nazis.

The fangame is available for free over on It’s a fun way to spend some time, and a bit of silly yet nostalgic goodness to brighten a bleak start to the year.

No More Room in Hell 2 pops up a Steam page

After jerking back to life a few months ago, No More Room in Hell 2 has risen to terrorize the denizens of Steam with a new Steam Page that says the game is “coming soon.” The developers over at Lever Games are aiming to deliver the Early Access phase of No More Room in Hell 2 some time this year, clearly. Their goal is for that to last about a year before the game’s full release. The initial release will have 8-player zombie killin co-op across two large, non-linear maps: Brooklyn Heights, based on New York City, and Night of the Living Dead, based on rural Pennsylvania. The maps will have randomized elements each playthrough “including apartments, building interiors, locked doors, electrical power, barricades, and more.” The default game mode is a co-op mode where players must work together to survive, complete objectives, and call for rescue.

Over the course of Early Access, the developers want to explore additional game modes, more weapons, gadgets, and abilities, as well as crafting and human NPCs like national guardsmen and survivalists.

No More Room in Hell was a profoundly beloved mod that became an even-more-beloved free to play game. It was our 2012 mod of the year, a game which took the Left 4 Dead formula, added four more players, and cranked up the lethality to maximum. One bite and you’re dead, just as George Romero intended. 

Fighting massive waves of goo in Creeper World 4 is oddly blissful

Creeper World is cursed with an off-putting name that makes it sound like a theme park for pervs, but it is in fact a long-running series of elaborate tower defence games, the fourth of which appeared at the tail end of last year. I’ve overlooked them until now, which was absolutely a mistake. I have learned my lesson while drowning in an unstoppable wave of blue goo.

Here’s the deal: there’s a big ol’ undulating mass of weird sci-fi fluid ready to swallow everything up, and through the power and science and guns—mostly guns—you’ll need to try and stop it. Your enemy is more like a force of nature, tirelessly swelling and rising until everything is trapped within a fluidic prison. But you can still hurt it.

At the start of the campaign—which really just serves to prepare you for custom maps and daily challenges—you only have a couple of things to worry about. You can plonk down cannons powered by your growing network of power lines and pylons to push back the tide, with each strike clearing a bit of goo and giving you more space to build, until you’ve cleared paths all the way to your objectives. It’s straightforward and methodical, and while the Creeper flood is a ceaseless adversary, rising up from multiple sources to surround you, fighting back is unexpectedly soothing.

I let clutter build up. I’m almost pathologically incapable of putting things away when I’m done with them, so I live in chaos. When I do remember to live like a human, it’s like a fog lifts. As I start to move all the half-painted Warhammer models off my dining table, or find homes for the teetering towers of books on the floor, I start to remember other things I really shouldn’t have put off. Tidying up is invigorating and liberating, and that’s really what you’re doing in Creeper World.

Every spot you rescue from the goo is land you can build on, another route forward, and you can turn these little islands into bulwarks against the tide. Throw down some cannons to protect them and you can expand the safe zone, until these formerly tiny oases expand across the whole map. Like any mess, once you start chipping away at it, it becomes a lot easier to eradicate.

Unlike the detritus strewn across my flat, the goo almost immediately seeks to fill in any gaps that you create, undoing your work in seconds. You need to keep up a constant barrage, necessitating more weapons and increasingly complex networks to funnel all of your resources into killing machines and building projects. And all the while, the goo level just keeps on rising. So you’ve got to earn those moments of bliss, where you’ve pushed your enemy all the way back, by keeping up the pressure. Always building, always pushing forward. It’s tower offence, really.

You might be in a race against the goo, but the pace is more like a march. It’s a hypnotic, orderly rhythm, which has so far helped me keep my focus even when things threaten to get a bit frantic and the goo is nipping at my heels. Sometimes, though, there’s good reason to panic, like when a tidal wave that dwarfs mountains is bearing down on you.

This is Creeper World’s 3D debut, so it’s now able to simulate 3D waves, which ominously pulsate as the goo builds up and overflows. There’s a lot of menace conveyed in those constantly shifting peaks and troughs. There’s an even more dangerous red goo to worry about, too, and assorted Creeper villains that you’ll need to take out with sci-fi gizmos like your nullifier. Eventually you’ll have orbital lasers, terraformers, teleportation technology and an air force at your beck and call, letting you match the goo’s constant escalation.

Developer Knuckle Cracker has been working on the series for over a decade, refining it rather than reinventing it, and this laser focus seems to have paid off. Even though we’re at game number four, pitting players against a huge flood remains incredibly novel, and the shift to 3D seems like the perfect way to take advantage of this unique enemy. If the prospect of blowing up an alien menace and maybe getting swallowed up by a goonami sounds appealing, there’s a Creeper World 4 demo on Steam that you can dip your toes into.

John Lin’s physics sandbox returns with the best water I’ve ever seen

I’m increasingly convinced that the next big thing in games tech isn’t ray-traced puddles or eye-watering 8K displays, but voxels. Laugh all you want, but go ahead and look at John Lin’s captivating water up there and tell me I’m wrong, I dare you.

Malindy Hetfield first spotted Lin’s lush voxel forests for us last November. Since then, your man’s been plugging away at the project, showing off clouds of butterflies and moody moonlit pups. But it’s this week’s update that really blew me away, with a dive into some absolutely staggering water physics.

We’ve come a hell of a long way since Minecraft’s slow-moving cubes, readers. Lin’s fluids flow and splash and spray remarkably, refracting light and filling spaces just as you’d expect. Lin goes into great technical detail in the YouTube description, explaining that the water is fully volumetric to act like a real fluid—and while it currently only interacts with terrain, he hopes to soon have it splashing around players and objects.

An interesting aside is that, in this video, all the water is spawned from limitless faucets—meaning that the world will eventually submerge itself completely. Lin’s next problem seems to be the simple job of, well, implementing a full evaporation and rainfall cycle to refill lakes and ponds.

While Lin still has no concrete plans for the project, he does hope to eventually turn it into a game. That’s probably okay, considering destruction sandbox Teardown similarly started as a series of neat voxel physics clips on Twitter before fully forming as a smashing heist game.

Watching Lin’s video, all I could think about was a version of Teardown that included these magical fluids—thwacking open storage tanks to put out fires or wash debris off the pavement. Lin’s work already has some cracking demolition credits of its own, too. Toss in Fugl’s ability to turn you into a flying monkey, and I reckon you’ve got yourself a perfect game.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 goes free on the Epic Store next week

With the holidays over and a new year off to a roaring start, the Epic Games Store has returned to its usual weekly cadence of free games. The 2021 giveaways begins with Crying Suns, an FTL-inspired strategy roguelike that, when we dove into it in 2019, we quite liked in some ways, and did not care for in others.

“Together with the inventive combat and gauntlet of narrative choices to be made, Crying Suns is a good strategy game that’s absolutely worth playing as long as you’re okay with it not being much of a roguelike,” we wrote in our 79/100 review. “Repetitive encounters and a general lack of challenge made my journey through this corpse of a galactic empire not nearly as hardfought as it should.”

Tales of galactic empires will continue in next week’s freebie, which is a much higher-profile offering: The Star Wars Battlefront 2 Celebration Edition, which includes “the complete collection of customization content acquirable through in-game purchase,” up to and including the Rise of the Skywalker update. It’s not actually available for purchase on the Epic Store yet, but is scheduled to show up—and take its place as the weekly freebie—on January 14

OnlyCans is a thirst trap-soaked game about sexy sodas

Well there’s a headline I never thought I’d write. But thanks to the eccentric mind of Sean Oxspring, there’s now OnlyCans: Thirst Date, where you lust after a variety of different sodas.

If it wasn’t already obvious enough, the game is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the site OnlyFans, which has become well-known for its use by sex workers. OnlyCans puts you as the principal photographer of each different drink. It doesn’t offer the deepest gameplay, being a sort of rhythm game/light dating-sim hybrid. Well-timed mouse or button prompts will either snap a sultry shot of the soda you’re currently courting, or cause their can to lightly spray with excitement. Get the cans all fizzed-up, and you’ll be rewarded with a satisfying click before it sprays its contents all over the place.

The game really has no right being as slick as it is, and the humour shines through its various personalities. There are 29 different cans here, all with their own stories, likes and dislikes—Lemon Party loves mornings and champagne sorbet, and hates motorcycles and jeans. Each can is even fully voiced, providing an immersive, unexpectedly juicy experience.

OnlyCans is free and made with considerable attention to detail, each soda offering a different aesthetic—from Cherry Pop’s lacy lingerie to Juicy Melon’s Harajuku street style. The main menu’s theme is also a bop, offering a sultry jazz piano that wouldn’t sound out of place in an equally horny game like Catherine. I’ll never look at cans the same way again.

The biggest PC gaming questions AMD needs to answer in 2021

2020 was a good year for AMD. A really good year. It continued its impressive run on the CPU front with its Zen 3 architecture, giving us the likes of the Ryzen 9 5900X, which managed to steal the gaming crown from Intel. Not only that, it came out swinging in the graphics card space too, with the RDNA 2-powered AMD RX 6800 XT proving that it could square up against the competition’s second-generation RTX graphics cards, like the Nvidia RTX 3080, and not instantly come away with a bloodied nose.

It didn’t quite land a knock-out blow in either bout, but it’s an easy points decision for its Zen 3 CPUs, and its GPU scrappiness gives it plenty of wins there too.

AMD is back. And taking the fight to the competition. And this leads to genuine choice in both CPUs and GPUs. In fact, it has a comfortable lead over Intel in CPU terms and that’s not purely down to the improvements to its Zen architecture. Don’t get me wrong, Zen 3 is stunning, and if you were to ask me to build a system right now, I’d definitely point to AMD’s offerings. But AMD’s lead is partly down to Intel’s failings as well (particularly when it comes to moving to a smaller production process), and that’s not something AMD can count on continuing.

AMD cannot rest on its laurels. This is just the start. It still has a lot to do if it’s going to win out. But what does AMD need to really push forward? Here are the questions AMD needs to answer in the next twelve months.

How will AMD react to Intel Rocket Lake?

On the face of it, Intel’s 11th-gen CPU family, codenamed Rocket Lake, isn’t that worrying for AMD—a variant of the Sunny Cove architecture that can be found in its Ice Lake laptop CPUs backported to 14nm production process hardly instils fear. Yeah, you read that right, Intel is about to introduce yet another family of processors using its 14nm production process. 

The expectation is that Rocket Lake represents a 10+ percent IPC improvement over Comet Lake, which will give Intel the lead over AMD once again. Not by a huge margin, but potentially enough to reclaim that ‘best for gaming’ moniker.

Still, Rocket Lake isn’t expected to compete with the higher core counts that AMD already has, topping out at eight cores in fact. So AMD doesn’t have too much to worry about on this front. Maybe AMD will release some XT variants of the new Zen 3 chips that can boast higher clock speeds in order to compete with the improved IPC of Rocket Lake. 

Maybe it doesn’t have to. 

The Zen 3 and Rocket Lake architectures could be so close to each other in gaming that this doesn’t really matter, and also it’s not obvious that AMD has the potential inventory to even produce more chips anyway.

What Rocket Lake does bring to the table though, is support for PCIe 4.0, which is an area that AMD has enjoyed sole control over for the last two years. It’s about time that Intel caught up here, and there is a slew of new drives that will make both platforms sing. 

Again, this is Intel catching up with AMD, so it doesn’t necessarily have to react particularly strongly. Maybe filling out its current stack with more affordable chips is all that’s needed.

How much CPU market share can AMD grab from Intel? 

You only have to look at market share to put AMD’s current successes into perspective. Going by the Steam Hardware Survey (we’ll go with the previous month’s figures, as the most recent numbers are a little odd, to say the least), AMD has 25 percent of the CPU market and accounts for just 16 percent of GPUs in gaming machines. There are loads of caveats with this, and we don’t really need to go into the minutiae, but the general vibe is clear—AMD is playing serious catch up in both areas.

In order to match its competitors, AMD needs to get its hardware into machines. This is something we have started seeing, with big system builders not just offering AMD alternatives, but actually launching new hardware with AMD front and centre. It’s also a question of offering plenty of more affordable SKUs, so little Timmy can get in on the AMD action too.

AMD has launched its ‘enthusiast’ class hardware, but now needs to filter Zen 3 down to more affordable renditions that people can buy and that don’t require a bank loan to do so. The halo hardware is still important, but it’s actually the likes of the GTX 1660 that sells by the bucket load, not the RTX 3080. Likewise, it’s all very well having a brilliant CPU like the Ryzen 5 5600X out there, but it’s still a $300 chip, which is more than your average gamer is happy spending.

AMD needs a $100 Zen 3 CPU and a $200 graphics card if it really wants to win the hearts and minds of gamers. And given its recent bullishness that saw it add $50 onto the pricing of the initial Ryzen 5000 chips, I’m not convinced that is something it is interested in doing. Raising its average selling price (ASP) to show off to prospective investors is the name of the game right now. The fact that the likes of the excellent Ryzen 3 3300X sold out pretty much immediately, and are still incredibly hard to find, suggests that this isn’t a focus for AMD. 

If it wants to increase market share, AMD needs affordable options as well as the high-end. Get that right and we wouldn’t be surprised to see AMD see a five or even ten percent improvement from where it is today.

Can AMD see more laptop wins for both CPUs and GPUs? 

As we’ve said, AMD needs to get its hardware into more machines, and the laptop space is as vital as ever. AMD has made some impressive inroads with its Ryzen 4000-series laptop CPUs (the Asus Zephyrus G14 is an awesome laptop), but we’re expecting even bigger things from its Zen 3 mobile chips. Improved efficiency and performance tend to go down well in mobile computing.

Getting RDNA 2 into laptops needs to be a focus too, though, if only to give us some competition against Intel’s integrated offerings and Nvidia’s total dominance in the gaming space. 

Competition is essential to drive things forward, and for too long there just hasn’t been enough of it. AMD is competing on the desktops, why not in laptops as well?

CES 2021 starts next week and the expectation is that we’ll be seeing AMD CPUs in plenty of new laptops. What is less certain is whether we’ll see any of its mobile GPUs. 

Conversely, Nvidia’s Ampere mobile GPUs are sure to put in a showing, which is possibly why AMD is going to have a hard time convincing laptop builders that it has the better option. We’ll have to wait and see, but it’s fair to say that its graphics arm still isn’t quite on the same footing as its CPU division.

Will game development on AMD-based consoles help PC performance on its hardware?

AMD’s hardware can be found powering the Xbox Series S/X and the PlayStation 5, so could this lead to games developed for those platforms having a performance advantage on PCs using AMD’s hardware? 

It’s doubtful, but not out of the question. 

There may be a few tricks that AMD can pull here to help, but these are likely to be small percentage improvements, which can be gobbled up by the raw performance that Nvidia offers, not to mention optimisations on the side of PC devs when it comes to it. 

Remember us talking about market share? It makes sense for developers to ensure good optimisation on GeForce hardware given it makes up over 80 percent of the discrete graphics card market on PC.

For proof of this, you only need to remember that AMD’s hardware powered the last-gen consoles as well, and no real advantage ever emerged there. Though admittedly the tech in those machines was already out of date in terms of its PC equivalent by the time they launched. There was the odd game here and there, sure, but nothing definitive. 

There are other reasons for that too—the work required to move a game from a closed platform like a console to an open one, with myriad hardware configurations, like a PC, is not a simple task and a lot of the tightly focused, close to the metal optimisations on the consoles are lost. 

The biggest PC gaming questions Intel needs to answer in 2021

New year, same old problems for the biggest beast in computer chips? Yes, and no. For sure, in 2021 Intel faces the same old questions over its production process problems and CPU roadmap as it has for literally years.

But there are also intriguingly Rumsfeldian known unknowns concerning Intel’s nascent graphics project, the GPU architecture known as Xe and more specifically the upcoming DG2 gaming GPU.

Can Intel really take the fight to AMD and Nvidia for true gaming performance and in so doing help solve the graphics supply issues that are currently pushing GPU pricing out of control?

Returning to CPUs, the back end of 2021 might—just might—see the arrival of something revolutionary in the form of Intel’s Alder Lake architecture. Question is, will Alder Lake be so radical the software ecosystem, including not just games, but the Windows OS itself, won’t be ready? For better or worse, 2021 looks like being a pivotal year for Intel.

Can Intel solve its 10nm woes and get its CPU roadmap back on track?

This is the most critical question of all. Intel originally planned to ship 10nm chips way back in 2015. Here we are in 2021 and we’re still waiting for a full roll out of 10nm products. As we write these words, you can still only buy mobile CPUs up to four cores on 10nm.

Such are the ongoing limitations of Intel’s 10nm production tech, we’re expecting yet another new 14nm family of CPUs, Rocket Lake, to launch in March. That’s pretty remarkable given the first 14nm processors went on sale in 2014.

For now, all bets are off. It’s worth repeating that Intel has not only failed so far to scale its 10nm chips beyond four cores, but also has so little faith in 10nm that its future roadmap contains yet another new family of 14nm desktop processors. That is a truly grim narrative.

Indeed, if Intel can’t get 10nm on track by the end of this year, it’s just possible the company that once lead the world in chip manufacturing tech may begin to reconsider the very notion of producing CPUs and other chips in-house.

Will Intel Rocket Lake regain the gaming CPU crown?

With a maximum of eight cores, fair to say that Intel’s upcoming 14nm Rocket Lake CPUs have zero chance of taking the multi-threading crown. After all, AMD will sell you a mainstream CPU platform with 16 cores and 32 threads.

But what about gaming? Few, if any, games scale well beyond eight cores, so performance or instructions per clock (IPC) and per core—plus outright operating frequency—remain critical for gaming performance. 

Rocket Lake uses a new core, known as Cypress Cove, designed originally intended for 10nm but backported to 14nm. Closely related to the Sunny Cove cores found in Intel’s Ice Lake mobile chips, Intel says Cypress Cove cores will deliver double digit percent IPC performance improvements over existing Comet Lake Processors.

Factor in reports of Rocket Lake engineering samples running at 5.3GHz and it’s very possible that it could retake the single-core performance crown away from AMD’s Zen 3-based Ryzen 5000 processors despite the disadvantages of that ancient 14nm process.

The catch, apart from the eight-core limitation, will likely be heat and power consumption. With huge, power hungry cores originally intended for 10nm making do with 14nm transistors, Rocket Lake may set records beyond single-core performance. It might create a new standard for TDP and heat generation. And not in a good way.

Oh, and one more bit of good news re Rocket Lake. It will finally bring PCI Express 4.0 support to the desktop for Intel. That’s no biggie for graphics cards, but means next-gen SSDs are finally go for Intel.

Can Intel’s Xe graphics take the fight to AMD and Nvidia and stop GPU prices from spiralling out of control?
What with Intel’s 10nm woes and its patchy record in consumer graphics (anyone remember Larrabee?), it would be a brave soul that gave Intel the benefit of the doubt over Xe, its new graphics architecture.

And yet there are positive signs. Xe is already out in mobile form, both as the integrated graphics solution in its Tiger Lake mobile CPUs and in discrete form in DG1, a GPU designed for thin-and-light laptops.

Early signs are that in Xe Intel has a decent graphics architecture that should be at least reasonably competitive if it can scale up to a high performance desktop GPU.

Intel has indeed confirmed that a high performance graphics card, known as DG2 and aimed at enthusiasts, is coming later this year. The latest indications from Intel’s graphics driver releases point to a chip with 512 of Intel’s execution units and raw graphics processing power comparable to AMD’s latest Radeon RX 6000 GPUs. Earlier rumours likewise pointed to a gaming card roughly on par with Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3070.

If that proves accurate, DG2 will inject a very welcome added level of competition into the graphics markets at a time when supply is almost non-existent and prices are spiralling out of control.

The catch, as ever with Intel, could be manufacturing. The good news, arguably, is that Intel has said production of DG2 will be farmed out to a third party fab, which most observers assume will be TSMC. The bad news is that TSMC is already struggling to keep AMD supplied with chips. So the supply side constraint impacting the whole graphics market would seem initially unlikely to be helped by another company competing for a limited supply of TSMC wafers.

The unknown factor is whether Intel’s rumoured use of TSMC’s 6nm half node in the context of AMD remaining on TSMC 7nm might make a differnce. Could that allow Intel to ramp up some volume? Here’s hoping, because Intel Xe doesn’t need to be world beating to make a huge difference. Nvidia RTX 3070 class performance for less money would be a beautiful thing.

Can Intel regain the performance and technological leadership with Alder Lake?

That’s the big question. Or should that be little question? After all, one of Alder Lake’s most important innovations is the adoption of a so-called big.LITTLE architecture to desktop and laptop PCs.

In other words, if Alder Lake arrives as expected in late 2021 it will combine large high performance cores with smaller, low power cores in a single CPU. It’s an approach first seen in ARM-based chips for phones and tablets and more recently in Apple’s M1 processor.

In that sense, it’s neither truly new nor radical. But in the context of the PC it’s both novel and potentially problematical. Firstly, while the benefits in terms of battery life for laptops of the smaller cores are obvious enough, it’s not clear why big.LITTLE is an advantageous approach at all for a desktop PC. Sure, the smaller cores will presumably lend a helping hand in multi-threaded tasks. But would the die space they take up be better utilised by more full-power cores?

Then there’s the question of software support. Without full operating system awareness of the topology of such a hybrid architecture, performance-critical threads would inevitably end up on the small cores at least some of the time, compromising performance.

Early testing of Intel’s Lakefield chip, a sort of test bed for the big.LITTLE approach which combines a single big Sunny Cove core with a quartet of low-power Tremont cores, has proven that the latest Windows kernel is capable of scheduling threads appropriately to at least some degree. But that’s a long way from being a guarantee that scheduling of threads on a high performance hybrid x86 CPU in Windows will always be optimal and transparent to applications.

For what it’s worth, AMD has been openly sceptical about the benefits of such hybrid architectures for traditional PCs. And it’s hardly a given that Intel will even get Alder Lake out the door this year. But if it does, it will certainly make for an intriguing technological battle with Intel in the unusual position of being, arguably, the underdog.