Intel just gave us a much bigger look at its future Meteor Lake lineup. At the IEEE VLSI symposium in 2022, the company spoke about the 14th generation of its processors, detailing the future process node and the improvements that the new Intel 4 process should bring.
In any case, the teaser sounds promising. Intel claims that Meteor Lake CPUs will offer 20% faster clock speeds than previous generations, all while maintaining the same power requirements.
Intel Meteor Lake is still quite a ways away – the company confirms that the new chips are on track to meet the 2023 launch deadline, although no details have been given at this time. Before we ever see Meteor Lake, we’ll see the Intel Raptor Lake launch in the fall. Unsurprisingly, though, both Intel and the tech world in general are looking to the future — and as far as the 14th Gen Intel chips are concerned, the future looks pretty exciting.
At the IEEE VLSI symposium in 2022, Intel took the public on a deep dive into the upcoming Intel 4 process node, on which Meteor Lake is based. As a successor to the Intel 7 (used for Alder Lake and Raptor Lake), it will require a new socket and a new architecture. Intel claims that the changes introduced in that generation will deliver huge performance gains while keeping power consumption at a similar level to what we’re used to with 12th-generation CPUs.
The company teased that Meteor Lake will deliver up to 21.5% higher frequencies at the same power requirements as the Intel 7 process. Likewise, when cut to the same frequency as Intel 7, Meteor Lake will have a power reduction of up to 40%. This is achieved through several changes to the chip’s architecture, such as a 2x improvement in surface scale. This means that it has doubled the transistor density compared to the Intel 7, at least for the high-performance libraries.
With the new process node, Intel will largely leverage extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography as a way to simplify manufacturing. Simply put, this reduces the number of steps required to manufacture the node by a significant amount. It should lead to higher yields and fewer production errors. As a result of EUV, Intel saw a 5% reduction in process steps and a 20% reduction in total mask count.
The Intel 4 name is a codename for Intel’s 7nm process node, which for Intel means a switch from 10nm to 7nm. The new chips will utilize Intel’s Foveros 3D packaging technology and will feature a four-die arrangement accompanied by TSV (via silicon-via) connections. These four tiles are split into the Input/Output (I/O) tile, the System-on-a-chip tile, the Compute tile, and the Graphics tile.
Intel has shared a magnified view of the computer matrix for Meteor Lake, complete with six blue-colored performance cores (Redwood Cove) and two clusters of four Crestmont efficiency cores, colored in purple. In the middle of the chip you can see the L3 cache and the interconnection circuit. The company has not yet disclosed the exact description of the I/O and SOC tiles.
In addition to teasing the Intel 4 process, the manufacturer also talked about what comes next – moving on to Intel 3. Intel 3 will come with upgraded transistors and interconnects, and it’s worth noting that I4 will be compatible with I3, so it won no need for a complete redesign. Intel stays true to EUV technology, with more EUV layers that simplify the design even further. According to current estimates, the I3 node will be about 18% faster than the I4. Once Intel is done with I3, it will move on to the 20A and 18A nodes and even more exciting technologies.
All in all, Intel’s sneak peek is very detailed and quite technical, so if you’re a fan of that, be sure to read the full article prepared by Tom’s Hardware. While Meteor Lake has been out for a while, there’s still plenty to hype for this year. We have Intel Raptor Lake on the way and around the same time AMD will be launching the Ryzen 7000 series CPUs.