Intel’s CPU roadmap is a bit murky. We’ve all seen various forms of it and generally know what to expect. However, in silicon manufacturing, many details are always TBD until the day it launches. For example, we know Meteor Lake will follow Raptor Lake, and Arrow Lake comes after that. The fly in the ointment is Meteor Lake might be mobile-only. If that happens, the true successor to Raptor Lake is Arrow Lake in 2024. Now a new leak suggests that is the case, and Arrow Lake will offer big gains across the board for desktop users, especially in efficiency.
If we take this step-by-step, here’s the breakdown: Raptor Lake will be succeeded by Meteor Lake in the second half of this year. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger confirmed that in the recent earnings call. That flies in the face of rumors that Meteor Lake is delayed. Due to the delay, it was reported Intel would offer a Raptor Lake refresh instead. Putting that aside, Meteor Lake will be only for mobile, according to RedGamingTech and other sources. That platform will see reduced core counts due to its mobile focus. When Arrow Lake arrives in 2024, the company will return to the 8P+16E design it currently uses.
Meteor Lake is rumored to offer a 20% gain in instructions per clock (IPC) over Raptor Lake. Following that, Arrow Lake will then deliver up to a 45% boost in IPC compared with Alder Lake, according to RedGamingTech’s sources at Intel. Compared with Raptor Lake, this should achieve a 20% gain over Meteor Lake.
Intel will ditch the current LGA 1700 socket when it moves to Meteor Lake. That new socket will also support Arrow Lake, simplifying things for OEMs and system integrators. The company was supposedly tinkering with a “halo” chip for Arrow Lake that offered 8P and 32E cores. However, it has allegedly backed off that in favor of the now-traditional 8P+16E core design instead. Interestingly, RedGamingTech says AMD was also considering a 32-core, 64-thread chip for Zen 5 but has also decided it’s not necessary at this time.
These big IPC gains are due to node shrinks and Intel’s transition to new technologies. Meteor Lake will be its first tile-based design based on the Intel 4 process, formerly known as 7nm. Arrow Lake is a different animal and will be the company’s first non-FinFET CPU. Instead, it’ll be built with RibbonFET GAA transistors on the 20A process for the compute tile, with TSMC developing a 3nm iGPU. The P and E cores will be dubbed Lion Cove and Skymont. These new efficiency cores are reportedly responsible for most of the gains, but RedGamingTech says few details are available about why that’s the case. Assuming Meteor Lake does launch this year, we can expect Arrow Lake in early 2024.
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