As a part of its Pre-HC34 (Hot Chips 34) presentation, Intel gave us a detailed explanation of it's next-generation CPUs, Meteor Lake, Arrow Lake, & Lunar Lake, which will be making use of the Foveros 3D packaging technology. The company also cleared away some confusion surrounding recent rumors regarding the process nodes that it plans to leverage for its multi-chiplet & multi-IP designs.
Intel Meteor Lake, Arrow Lake, Lunar Lake CPUs With 3D Foveros MCM Packaging Detailed: TSMC 5nm tGPU For 14th Gen & 3nm tGPU For 15th Gen
Beyond Alder Lake and Raptor Lake CPUs which are the first designs to feature a hybrid core layout, Intel is planning to utilize its 3D Foveros packaging to usher in its own multi-chiplet era. Chipzilla has planned on releasing three products that will leverage this technology. The next-generation processors include the 14th Gen Meteor Lake, 15th Gen Arrow Lake, and 16th Gen Lunar Lake families. Some of the main highlights of these CPUs would be:
- Intel Next Generation 3D Client Platform
- Disaggregated 3D Client architecture with CPU, GPU, SOC, and IO Tiles
- Base tiles for Meteor Lake and Arrow Lake to interconnect tiles with Foveros
- Open "Chiplet" ecosystem through universal chiplet interconnect express (UCIe)
Starting first with Intel Meteor Lake, the company showed off a brand new chip layout which gives us a better look at the various tiles or chiplets (as you like to refer to them) with various IPs. The quad-tile layout includes the CPU Tile, Graphics Tile, SOC Tile, and IOE Tile. Intel did disclose the specific nodes these tiles would be based upon. The main CPU tile will be using the "Intel 4" or 7nm EUV process node while the SOC Tile and IOE Tiles will be fabricated on TSMC's 6nm process node (N6). Intel calls Meteor Lake the first step into the chiplet ecosystem in the client segment.
The most speculative tile that has been so far had been the GPU tile that is otherwise known as tGPU. There have been rumors that Intel originally planned to use TSMC's 3nm process node but due to some issues, they changed the plans midway and tapped into TSMC's 5nm node instead. According to industry sources, this isn't the case and the tGPU for the Meteor Lake CPUs has always been a TSMC 5nm (N5) design.
Another aspect that was touched upon by Intel is pricing. With costs of next-gen wafer prices going up with every new node, the cost of developing a monolithic die is also going to go up. According to Intel itself:
If you were to take Meteor Lake as it is and design it monolithically on a leading process node, I would say it actually is extremely competitive with that if not actually cheaper.
The configuration shown here is also a mobile-specific chip with a 6+4 (6 P-Cores + 4 E-Cores) layout. You can also note that there are two D2D (Die-To-Die) links between the CPU/IOE Tile and the Graphics Tile leading into the SOC Tile. This is part of the Foveros 3D Packaging and the blue team states that there's a passive interposer on top of the main chiplets which is based on a 22nm (FFL) process from Intel itself. This interposer currently serves no purpose but the company plans to use active chiplets within it in the future with more advanced packaging technologies. The Intel Meteor Lake CPUs don't utilize EMIB technology.
Furthermore, Intel clarified that 14th Gen Meteor Lake & 15th Gen Arrow Lake CPUs are indeed heading to both Desktop and Mobile platforms. The Intel Meteor Lake CPUs are aiming for the 2023 release window while Arrow Lake will start shipping in 2024 as originally planned. Details on the next-generation LGA 1851 socketed platform for Meteor Lake & Arrow Lake CPUs can be found here.
Intel Meteor Lake-P (6+8) CPU Chip Layout:
As far as 16th Gen Lunar Lake CPUs are concerned, the family is said to be originally aimed at the 15W low-power mobile CPU segment however those original plans can always change since the product is still a few years away from launch. Furthermore, it won't be the first time Intel sticks with a mobile-only or partial-desktop release for a CPU family. We have already seen them do this with Broadwell and more recently with the Ice Lake and Tiger Lake CPU families.
Intel Mobility CPU Lineup:
|CPU Family||Arrow Lake||Meteor Lake||Raptor Lake||Alder Lake|
|Process Node (CPU Tile)||Intel 20A '5nm EUV"||Intel 4 '7nm EUV'||Intel 7 '10nm ESF'||Intel 7 '10nm ESF'|
|CPU Architecture||Hybrid (Four-Core)||Hybrid (Triple-Core)||Hybrid (Dual-Core)||Hybrid (Dual-Core)|
|P-Core Architecture||Lion Cove||Redwood Cove||Raptor Cove||Golden Cove|
|Top Configuration||TBD||6+8 (H-Series)||6+8 (H-Series)||6+8 (H-Series)|
|Max Cores / Threads||TBD||14/20||14/20||14/20|
|Planned Lineup||H/P/U Series||H/P/U Series||H/P/U Series||H/P/U Series|
|GPU Architecture||Xe2 Battlemage 'Xe-LPG'|
Xe3 Celestial "Xe-LPG"
|Xe-LPG 'Xe-MTL'||Iris Xe (Gen 12)||Iris Xe (Gen 12)|
|GPU Execution Units||192 EUs (1024 Cores)?||128 EUs (1024 Cores)|
192 EUs (1536 Cores)
|96 EUs (768 Cores)||96 EUs (768 Cores)|
LPDDR5X - 7400+
|Memory Capacity (Max)||TBD||96 GB||64 GB||64 GB|
|Thunderbolt 4 Ports||TBD||4||4||4|
|WiFi Capability||TBD||WiFi 6E||WiFi 6E||WiFi 6E|
|Launch||2H 2024?||2H 2023||1H 2023||1H 2022|
Intel 14th Gen Meteor Lake CPUs: Intel 4 Process Node, Tiled Arc GPU Design, Hybrid Cores, 2023 Launch
The 14th Gen Meteor Lake CPUs are going to be a gamer changer in the sense that they will adopt a brand new tiled architecture approach. Based on the 'Intel 4' process node, the new CPUs will be offering a 20% improvement in performance per watt through EUV technology and are set to tape out by 2H 2022 (manufacturing-ready). The first Meteor Lake CPUs are scheduled to ship out by 1H 2023 and availability is expected later the same year.
In terms of CPU architecture, the Meteor Lake chips are expected to utilize the Redwood Cove P-Cores and Crestmont E-Cores. While the P-Cores are said to be based on a similar design as the Golden Cove and Raptor Cove cores that came before it, the Crestmont E-Cores will see a major architectural overhaul. With that said, we can still expect some changes to the Redwood Cove P-Cores such as the cache layouts, etc.
According to Intel, the 14th Gen Meteor Lake CPUs will feature a brand new tiled architecture and what this basically means is that the company has decided to go full-on chiplet. There are 4 main tiles on the Meteor Lake CPUs. There's the IOE Tile, the SOC Tile, the GPU Tile & the Compute Tile. The Compute Tile comprises the CPU Tile and GFX Tile. The CPU Tile will be making use of a new hybrid core design, delivering higher-performance throughput at lower power while the graphics tile will be unlike anything we have seen before.
As Raja Koduri stated, the Meteor Lake CPUs will be utilizing a tiled Arc graphics powered GPU which will make it an entirely new class of graphics on a chip. It's neither an iGPU nor a dGPU & currently regarded as tGPU (Tiled GPU / Next-Gen Graphics Engine). The Meteor Lake CPUs will utilize the Arc graphics architecture, allowing for increased performance at the same level of power efficiency as existing integrated GPUs. This will also enable enhanced support for DirectX 12 Ultimate, Raytracing, and AV1, features that are only supported by the Alchemist lineup as of right now.
Intel 15th Gen Arrow Lake CPUs: Intel 20A Process Node, Refined Design, Compute & Graphics Leadership, 2024 Launch
The follow-up to Meteor Lake is Arrow Lake and the 15th Gen lineup brings with it a lot of changes. While it would be socket compatible with whatever Meteor Lake lands on, the Redwood Cove cores and Crestmont cores will be upgraded to the brand new Lion Cove and Skymont cores. These are expected to bring a major advantage with the uplifted core counts which are expected to be 40/48 on the new SKUs (8 P-Cores + 32 E-Cores).
Surprisingly, Intel would skip its 'Intel 4' node and jump directly to 20A for the Arrow Lake CPUs. One thing that's true for both Meteor Lake and Arrow Lake chips is that they will retain their N3 (TSMC) process node for additional core IPs, presumably the Arc GPU cores. The Intel 20A node delivers a 15% improvement in performance per watt, utilizing next-gen RibbonFET & PowerVia tech, and is scheduled to have the first IP test wafers running in fabs by the second half of 2022.
The block diagram shows Meteor Lake with 3 tiles while Arrow Lake is composed of 4 tiles. We know about the Meteor Lake tiles but no clear indication is mentioned for Arrow Lake currently.
Intel 16th Gen Lunar Lake CPUs: Intel 18A Process Node, Performance Per Watt Leadership, 2025 Launch
Lastly, Intel would move to a brand new 16th Gen platform known as Lunar Lake and boy this is going to be a big one. Intel is saying that it will not only have performance leadership but also efficiency leadership over its competitors with the new 18A process node which brings a 10% perf per watt improvement over the 20A node and also utilizes enhanced RibbonFETRR designs with linewidth reduction. Intel hopes to have the first test chips by the first half of 2022 and the first IP shuttle by the second quarter though manufacturing is planned for 2H 2024 which means the launch will occur sometime in 2025.
The Lunar Lake CPUs will be composed of a 5 tile architecture. It is also surprising that Intel left its Nova Lake platform out of yesterday's presentation but what they have shown is already enticing for users who look forward to their next-gen lineup. It's great to see some healthy competition in the desktop (and client space in general) from team blue.
Intel Mainstream CPU Generations Comparison:
|Intel CPU Family||Processor Process||Processor Architecture||Processors Cores/Threads (Max)||TDPs||Platform Chipset||Platform||Memory Support||PCIe Support||Launch|
|Sandy Bridge (2nd Gen)||32nm||Sandy Bridge||4/8||35-95W||6-Series||LGA 1155||DDR3||PCIe Gen 2.0||2011|
|Ivy Bridge (3rd Gen)||22nm||Ivy Bridge||4/8||35-77W||7-Series||LGA 1155||DDR3||PCIe Gen 3.0||2012|
|Haswell (4th Gen)||22nm||Haswell||4/8||35-84W||8-Series||LGA 1150||DDR3||PCIe Gen 3.0||2013-2014|
|Broadwell (5th Gen)||14nm||Broadwell||4/8||65-65W||9-Series||LGA 1150||DDR3||PCIe Gen 3.0||2015|
|Skylake (6th Gen)||14nm||Skylake||4/8||35-91W||100-Series||LGA 1151||DDR4||PCIe Gen 3.0||2015|
|Kaby Lake (7th Gen)||14nm||Skylake||4/8||35-91W||200-Series||LGA 1151||DDR4||PCIe Gen 3.0||2017|
|Coffee Lake (8th Gen)||14nm||Skylake||6/12||35-95W||300-Series||LGA 1151||DDR4||PCIe Gen 3.0||2017|
|Coffee Lake (9th Gen)||14nm||Skylake||8/16||35-95W||300-Series||LGA 1151||DDR4||PCIe Gen 3.0||2018|
|Comet Lake (10th Gen)||14nm||Skylake||10/20||35-125W||400-Series||LGA 1200||DDR4||PCIe Gen 3.0||2020|
|Rocket Lake (11th Gen)||14nm||Cypress Cove||8/16||35-125W||500-Series||LGA 1200||DDR4||PCIe Gen 4.0||2021|
|Alder Lake (12th Gen)||Intel 7||Golden Cove (P-Core)|
|16/24||35-125W||600 Series||LGA 1700/1800||DDR5 / DDR4||PCIe Gen 5.0||2021|
|Raptor Lake (13th Gen)||Intel 7||Raptor Cove (P-Core)|
|24/32||35-125W||700-Series||LGA 1700/1800||DDR5 / DDR4||PCIe Gen 5.0||2022|
|Meteor Lake (14th Gen)||Intel 4||Redwood Cove (P-Core)|
|TBA||35-125W||800 Series?||LGA 1851||DDR5||PCIe Gen 5.0||2023|
|Arrow Lake (15th Gen)||Intel 20A||Lion Cove (P-Core)|
|40/48||TBA||900-Series?||LGA 1851||DDR5||PCIe Gen 5.0||2024|
|Lunar Lake (16th Gen)||Intel 18A||TBD||TBA||TBA||1000-Series?||TBA||DDR5||PCIe Gen 5.0?||2025|
|Nova Lake (17th Gen)||Intel 18A||TBD||TBA||TBA||2000-Series?||TBA||DDR5?||PCIe Gen 6.0?||2026|