Intel has given us our first proper look at its 14th Gen desktop and mobile CPUs, codenamed ‘Meteor Lake’, due for release in 2023. These will be the first processors to utilize the new ‘Intel 4’ process node, which is replacing the Intel 7 design used in the company’s current CPUs.
Intel 4 is a 7nm process technology while Intel 7 was 10nm (yes, we agree the naming convention is silly). The exciting part is that Intel 4 will use a new type of processor lithography called ‘advanced extreme ultraviolet’ lithography, or EUV for short. This replaces the conventional deep UV immersion lithography used in current processor production.
Intel is catching up here as competitors AMD, TSMC and now Apple are already using EUV. Still, Meteor Lake CPUs look impressive, offering 21.5% improvement in processor frequency at the same power level, or alternatively, 40% better power efficiency for the same level of performance.
Meteor Lake will also use Intel’s performance and efficiency core design introduced in current 12th Gen Alder Lake processors, as confirmed by images of the new CPUs showing mobile processors with 2P+8E and 6P+8E configurations (which is P for performance and E for efficiency). Desktop chips will require a new motherboard as they will use the new socket LGA-1851.
Analysis: Can Intel expect to remain competitive with this new technology?
Given the impressive energy efficiency of Apple’s silicon and AMD’s ever-expanding CPU market share, Intel clearly needs to adapt to stay relevant. The switch to EUV lithography for production processors won’t be surprising to anyone with their finger on the pulse of CPU racing, but will it be enough?
AMD seems committed to its goal of becoming gamers’ preferred desktop CPU brand, with its new 3D V-cache technology (as seen in the amazing Ryzen 7 5800X3D) providing incredible gaming performance. AMD’s next-gen chips are confirmed to feature similarly massive L3 cache memory, meaning Intel could be left out by gamers when Ryzen 7000 arrives.
On the other hand, Apple M1 and M2 chips proved to be absolutely amazing on MacBooks, marking Apple’s silicon as arguably the best processors for productivity. Intel has maintained a solid lead over AMD when it comes to laptop processors, but Apple is starting to look like a serious threat.
Of course, Intel is also gearing up for battle in other arenas, already entering the GPU market with its Arc graphics cards for laptops. Desktop Arc GPUs are also on the way, but between lag and mixed initial performance, we are concerned that Intel may struggle in the coming years. Will these new CPUs be enough? Only time will tell.