Intel’s 14th-gen cellular processor, code-named Meteor Lake, represents a dramatic shift from the chips Intel has shipped for years — and Intel has supplied us with a ton of knowledge. Should you don’t have time to wade by all of it, nonetheless, we’ve summed up a very powerful factors right here.

Right here’s what that you must learn about Meteor Lake. For a way more detailed examination of what this new technology of processors gives, please see our deep-dive into Meteor Lake.

1.) Huge energy for half the ability

Intel historically has advanced its processors alongside a “tick-tock” mannequin, the place an older chip was first migrated (“tick”) onto a brand new course of expertise, after which redesigned and sped up (“tock”). Michelle Johnston Holthaus, government vice chairman and common supervisor of the Consumer Computing Group at Intel, was blunt: with Meteor Lake, Intel is focusing on the efficiency of its Thirteenth-gen cellular Raptor Lake chips, however at half the ability (whoa). Any efficiency enhance shall be left to the graphics block, the place Intel is anticipating double the efficiency of the Raptor Lake built-in GPU with its new XeLPG built-in graphics core.

It reminds us of Qualcomm’s older messaging with its Snapdragon PC processors, really: comparable efficiency as an older Core chip, a giant graphics enhance, and always-on connectivity. Intel is definitely providing each WiFi 7 and WiFi 6E in Meteor Lake, however with out the large advertising push Qualcomm has made.

2.) Intel builds Meteor Lake drastically completely different than previous CPUs

Conventional Intel “microprocessors” included each a CPU and a supplementary chip known as a PCH inside the identical package deal. Now, Intel is transferring to 4 chiplets or “tiles”: a CPU, “SOC,” graphics, and an I/O tile all throughout the general Meteor Lake package deal. Intel calls this a “disaggregated” strategy, permitting it to plan every tile by itself improvement roadmap and enhance the general yields.


However the graphics and SOC tiles are made by rival TSMC. Solely the CPU and (possibly) the I/O tile are made by Intel, with the CPU tile particularly made on Intel’s Intel 4 course of. Intel, feeling the sting of years caught on a 14nm node, has dedicated to quickly stepping by 5 course of applied sciences in 4 years.

3.) Meet Meteor Lake’s new low-power E-cores

With the Twelfth-gen Alder Lake, Intel moved from one sort of processor core to 2: beefy efficiency cores (P-cores) and smaller effectivity cores (E-cores) for background duties. Now there’s a 3rd sort of processor core. Along with the brand new “Redwood Cove” P-core and the brand new “Crestmont” E-core, there’s a low-power model of the Crestmont E-cores that shall be used as the primary touchdown spot for duties which might be assigned to the CPU.

Intel isn’t saying how a lot quicker the P-cores are in comparison with these present in Raptor Lake. The Crestmont E-cores are between 4 to six p.c quicker, clock per clock. However right here’s one thing: Intel performed again a 4K video utilizing simply the low-power E-cores alone within the picture on the prime of this story. That’s going to make an enormous distinction in your laptop computer’s battery life.

4.) No, critically, Meteor Lake is optimized for low energy

We’re not kidding. Intel’s Thread Director, the “butler” of the processor, takes duties that the working system assigns and routes them to the suitable cores. You could pay attention to how Thread Director labored in Raptor Lake: it could take duties or threads and push them to any efficiency cores (P-cores) that have been free. Raptor Lake pushed efficiency. In Meteor Lake, it’s precisely the other.


In Meteor Lake, new threads are routed to the low-power E-cores first, then the traditional E-cores, after which to the P-cores themselves. It’s a coverage change, and it’s a giant one. Even in a “efficiency” state of affairs, new threads shall be routed to the traditional E-cores first, then the P-cores. Will it have an effect on the general efficiency of the chip? We don’t know.

5.) Welcome to the AI PC

The SOC tile is the place Intel’s NPU resides because the literal AI “brains” of the Meteor Lake chip. Intel’s NPU jogs my memory of the early days of GPUs: considerably fundamental, as each Intel, its prospects, and builders work out what precisely AI is sweet for. (Bear in mind, that is native AI — Bing Chat, Google Bard and different AI engines reside within the cloud. Why even have native AI in your PC? Privateness and velocity, Intel says.)

The NPU, although, goes to energy what Intel calls the “AI PC.” Anticipate to listen to much more about that this week at Intel’s Innovation convention.

In AI, Intel’s actually simply attempting to speed up what it might: Home windows features, plus APIs just like the OpenVINO API that some builders use. Intel outlined what’s contained in the NPU at Innovation, nevertheless it received’t make a lot sense — but — even for many fans who’re intimately acquainted with threads, cores, TDPs, cache hierarchies and the like. Over time, we’d anticipate Intel will work out what prospects want and speed up it.

On this demonstration, Intel used an Audacity AI plugin, based mostly on Secure Diffusion, to separate the vocals from the backing instrumental tracks, after which use AI to create a separate, completely different backing observe through a textual content immediate.Mark Hachman / IDG

One fascinating level: accelerating AI with an NPU will be the best when it comes to energy consumption. However when it comes to uncooked velocity, a mixture of CPU, GPU, and NPU makes probably the most sense, Intel says.

6.) Meteor Lake’s graphics present a ray-tracing enhance

In line with Intel, Meteor Lake takes the very best elements of the XeHPG graphics expertise discovered inside Intel’s Arc graphics playing cards and places it inside Meteor Lake’s GPU. Meaning, briefly, a doubling of the built-in graphics efficiency from Raptor Lake to Meteor Lake, in addition to built-in ray tracing assist.

Whereas Intel isn’t releasing benchmarks but (and we don’t have the chip out there for testing), Intel shared a few of its “micros,” or inside benchmarks: triangle draw fee improves 2.6X over Raptor Lake, with pixel mix charges bettering by 2.1X. Whereas evaluating the depth check fee, nonetheless, Intel noticed a 6.6X enchancment.

The built-in GPU inside Meteor Lake very a lot resembles its Arc discrete GPUs.Intel

The Meteor Lake GPU additionally helps XeSS, Intel’s reply to the AI-powered DLSS expertise that upsamples a lower-resolution picture to enhance picture processing. And there’s one thing new when it comes to low-power (there’s that phrase once more!) gaming, too: Endurance Gaming, which is able to permit avid gamers on the go to increase their laptop computer’s battery life dramatically. In line with Intel execs, the Meteor Lake GPU can render Rocket League at lower than 1W of energy.

What are Meteor Lake’s specs?

They’re not right here but, not less than formally. Intel sometimes explains how its processors work first, then gives all of the necessary shopping for data you’ll want, later. Sadly, you’ll have to attend till nearer to the official launch (sometimes on the CES present in Las Vegas in January) for the official speeds and feeds.

We do know that Intel confirmed off a six P-core, eight E-core implementation of Meteor Lake in Malaysia. Sadly, Intel is saying solely that it was for “demonstration functions” and extra data shall be shared nearer to launch.

Within the meantime, we’ll watch for AMD’s Ryzen 8000 collection chips to roll out subsequent yr, and information of Qualcomm’s Oryon collection (based mostly upon its Nuvia processor expertise) to hopefully be disclosed in October.

(Disclosure: whereas we anticipated Intel to launch Meteor Lake at its Intel Innovation convention, it as an alternative flew journalists and analysts to its meeting and check amenities in Penang, Malaysia. Intel paid for PCWorld to attend, together with airfare, resort and meals. To realize entry to this data, PCWorld accepted, although it maintained editorial independence all through and doesn’t have an effect on our Meteor Lake protection.)

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