While the next generation of Intel processors, Raptor Lake, has yet to be released, the company is already on the cusp of producing its direct replacement – Meteor Lake.
The process node that will power Meteor Lake is about to enter a critical phase: volume production.
According to a new report from DigiTimes, the Intel 4 node is making good progress, which is good news for the 14th generation Intel Meteor Lake. Even though we still have a whole generation of processors to go through before Meteor Lake starts stealing the spotlight, Intel is already gearing up for that moment, with the Intel 4 node going into volume production as early as the second half of 2022.
Intel 4, also known as Intel 7nm, will bring a lot of changes compared to the current generation Alder Lake and the upcoming Raptor Lake. The manufacturer recently spoke about the new process and upgrades expected from Intel Meteor Lake as part of the 2022 IEEE Symposium on VLSI Technology and Circuitry. The plan is for Meteor Lake to deliver much more power for the same amount of power. This is a welcome change from Raptor Lake, which is now expected to require a whopping 260 watts of power.
With Meteor Lake, Intel is clearly trying to balance things out, and as such the CPUs would deliver a 20% performance boost at the same power requirements as the previous generation. Meteor Lake can also offer a reduction in power consumption of up to 40% when used on the same frequency as its predecessor.
The Intel 4 node will be the first to use extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography to simplify the manufacturing process. Intel boasts a 5% reduction in process steps, as well as a 20% reduction in total mask counts as a result of using EUV. Intel will also use Foveros 3D packaging technology. This all adds up to a brand new architecture for Meteor Lake, complete with a four-tile arrangement connected by TSV connections (via silicon-via).
The fact that Intel is already on the cusp of going into volume production with Intel 4 bodes well for the chip. We already knew that Meteor Lake will be released sometime in 2024 and so far it looks like Intel is on track to meet that deadline. Once completed, the new Intel 4 will be found not only in consumer-level CPUs, but also in Intel Granite Rapids, high-performance chips made to tackle the heaviest workloads commonly found in servers and data centers.
Before Intel ever gets to Granite Rapids, the manufacturer has two more enterprise chips on the way: Sapphire Rapids and Emerald Rapids. Unfortunately, it looks like Sapphire Rapids may not fare quite as well as Meteor Lake, as Intel recently announced the chip’s second delay release.
If Intel Meteor Lake proves to be as current and impressive as it appears now, it won’t give Raptor Lake much time or opportunity to shine. There’s still plenty to get excited about later this year, though, with a true showdown of the best CPUs to come as the battle between Intel Raptor Lake and AMD Ryzen 7000 begins.