Intel’s AI-Boosting VPU Debuts In 13th Gen Raptor Lake Mobile, Full Integration In 14th Gen Meteor Lake CPUs

Intel's tGPU For Meteor Lake CPUs That Utilizes TSMC's 3nm Node Has Mass Production Delayed To Late 2023 1
An Intel Meteor Lake test chip from Fab 42. (Image Credits: CNET)

Intel will soon debut a new AI performance-boosting technology within its upcoming CPUs known as VPU which will first launch with 13th Gen Raptor Lake CPUs and make a full integration on the 14th Gen Meteor Lake CPUs.

Intel's VPU For AI Processing To Debut In 13th Gen Raptor Lake Mobile & Fully Integrated Within 14th Gen Meteor Lake CPUs

So far, we have only known that the VPU or Versatile Processing Unit that will be handling various AI tasks for the CPUs, will be featured on 14th Gen Meteor Lake CPUs. However, that doesn't seem to be the case as Intel has confirmed during the TechTour 2022 that the tech will make its initial debut on the upcoming 13th Gen Raptor Lake CPUs. This tech will be focused on the mobility Raptor Lake CPUs first & will be followed by full integration within the 14th Gen Meteor Lake CPUs that launch in 2023.

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Intel showcases VPU timeline during Tech Tour 2022. (Image Credits: Bob O'Donnell at TECHnalysis)

In its VPU Timeline, Intel states that the 13th Gen Raptor Lake chips will feature VPU as a lead partner co-development which means that certain laptops will get to use it. The VPU will offer several capabilities such as handling Windows-based AI Effects and Experiences. Once again, VPUs will only be featured in laptop designs from leading OEMs and this will be a key enabler for ISVs to ready them for Meteor Lake CPUs when the tech gets fully integrated.

Intel showcases Next-Gen Wireless experiences during Tech Tour 2022. (Image Credits: Bob O'Donnell at TECHnalysis)

Come 2023, the VPU will launch as a fully integrated chiplet IP within the SOC tile on 13th Gen Meteor Lake CPUs. This will be available to a broad market segment, offering efficient AI performance innovation and a rich partner ecosystem. Microsoft has the following to say regarding the VPU technology from Intel:

Microsoft believes that neural processing units, like Intel's VPU, represent an inflection point in computing and will be key to delivering a whole new range of delightful experiences to Windows users on their PCs. These experiences will transform how people use their computers and connect with others. We are closely partnering with Intel on VPU and are excited to share more soon.

Microsoft Partner Research Manager, Vivek Pradeep

In addition to the VPU, Intel has also talked about how they will enhance the wireless experiences on 13th Gen CPUs and beyond with a new Intel Connectivity Performance Suite 2.0, WiFi Proximity Sensing, Bluetooth LE Audio, and most important, WiFi 7 capabilities (5.1 Gbps).

Intel was rumored to use the new VPU technology to compete with Apple's Neural Engine, seen in the company's desktops, laptops, iPads, and iPhones. While not knowing much about the VPUs, it is speculated that the unit will take space embedded on the dies next to Intel's CPU core architecture, similar to the architecture of the M1 processor by Apple. Chipzilla has stated several advantages of VPU in AI Computer Vision and AI-powered computational image processing:

Face Recognition

  • Intel is Tier-one in face recognition technology, used in a variety of applications.

Emerging usages:  HealthCare and Wellbeing

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  • Accurate gait analysis and physiotherapy monitoring and tracking
  • Practical Wellbeing usages in PC day-to-day ergonomics
  • Insights doctor assistant

The future is here: MetaVerse and Scene Understanding

  • MetaVerse: heavy DL 3D objects and scene creation
  • Scene understanding becoming essential in the virtual world

According to a previous leak, the 14th Gen Meteor Lake CPUs will utilize a Triple-hybrid core architecture which includes P-Cores, E-Cores, and brand new LP E-Cores. Based on the 'LP' tag, it looks like these will be similar to E-cores but run at much lower power targets or these could be the Atom cores that are deployed within the VPU (Visual Processing Unit) on Meteor Lake chips. There are only two LP-E cores on the Meteor Lake chips and those are present on the SOC Tile which means that these are the ones being used by the VPU.

AMD is going to utilize AVX-512 instructions for its Ryzen 7000 CPUs to boost AI and inferencing capabilities. Intel did bring AVX-512 to its Alder Lake CPUs but they flushed it out of the mainstream consumer lineup. So it looks like the VPU will be the main opponent against AMD's AVX-512 capabilities on the mainstream consumer platform for AI-related tasks.

Intel Mobility CPU Lineup:

CPU FamilyArrow LakeMeteor LakeRaptor LakeAlder Lake
Process Node (CPU Tile)Intel 20A '5nm EUV"Intel 4 '7nm EUV'Intel 7 '10nm ESF'Intel 7 '10nm ESF'
CPU ArchitectureHybrid (Four-Core)Hybrid (Triple-Core)Hybrid (Dual-Core)Hybrid (Dual-Core)
P-Core ArchitectureLion CoveRedwood CoveRaptor CoveGolden Cove
E-Core ArchitectureSkymontCrestmontGracemontGracemont
Top ConfigurationTBD6+8 (H-Series)6+8 (H-Series)6+8 (H-Series)
Max Cores / ThreadsTBD14/2014/2014/20
Planned LineupH/P/U SeriesH/P/U SeriesH/P/U SeriesH/P/U Series
GPU ArchitectureXe2 Battlemage 'Xe-LPG'
or
Xe3 Celestial "Xe-LPG"
Xe-LPG 'Xe-MTL'Iris Xe (Gen 12)Iris Xe (Gen 12)
GPU Execution Units192 EUs (1024 Cores)?128 EUs (1024 Cores)
192 EUs (1536 Cores)
96 EUs (768 Cores)96 EUs (768 Cores)
Memory SupportTBDDDR5-5600
LPDDR5-7400
LPDDR5X - 7400+
DDR5-5200
LPDDR5-5200
LPDDR5-6400
DDR5-4800
LPDDR5-5200
LPDDR5X-4267
Memory Capacity (Max)TBD96 GB64 GB64 GB
Thunderbolt 4 PortsTBD444
WiFi CapabilityTBDWiFi 6EWiFi 6EWiFi 6E
TDPTBD15-45W15-45W15-45W
Launch2H 2024?2H 20231H 20231H 2022

News Sources: Bob O'

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