Yesterday, during its investor meeting, Intel confirmed four of its next-gen client & desktop CPU platforms codenamed Raptor Lake, Meteor Lake, Arrow Lake & Lunar Lake. These platforms will ship in the coming years, offering increased performance, increase efficiency, and utilizing brand new process nodes and packaging technologies.
Intel Confirms Raptor Lake, Meteor Lake, Arrow Lake, Lunar Lake Client Desktop CPU Platforms
While we did provide a brief look at Intel's CPU and GPU roadmap in our articles yesterday, this article solely focuses on the architecture, design, technologies, and specs that are incorporated within the upcoming client CPU lineup. The hybrid design philosophy that Intel has adopted in its 12th Gen Alder Lake lineup will be extended & refined in future generations so let's see how Intel will be achieving that.
Intel 13th Gen Raptor Lake CPUs: More Cores, Double-Digit Performance Gains, LGA 1700 Socket Compatible, 2022 Launch
Starting with Raptor Lake, Intel has officially confirmed its 13th Gen lineup. Raptor Lake will be utilizing the 'Intel 7' process node which is the same used by 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs so it's simply a refinement of the performance hybrid architecture while leveraging from an increased core/thread count.
The Raptor Lake CPUs will be featuring up to double-digit performance boost (not IPC) and will be equipped with up to 24 cores and 32 threads. The CPUs are expected to utilize the latest Raptor Cove and enhanced Gracemont core architecture. While the core count is going up, there are still going to be 8 P-Cores and it's the E-Core count that has been bumped up to 16. So that gives us a total of 24 cores (8+16) and 32 threads (16+16). The rest of the lineup will also be getting a similar bump depending on the SKU.
The 13th Gen CPU will also feature enhanced overclocking capabilities. Alder Lake currently goes up to 5.5 GHz with the upcoming Core i9-12900KS SKU which is rated at a maximum power rating of up to 260W, the highest ever on the mainstream platform. There's also a new AI M.2 module support that's supported by Raptor Lake CPUs and could have something to do with PCIe Gen 5 SSD support. The AI module could automatically detect a PCIe Gen 5 SSD and set the protocol of the M.2 slot to the newer standard though we have to learn more details about it. Lastly, Intel has confirmed something we already knew that the Raptor Lake CPUs will be compatible with Alder lake systems so those who want to upgrade can just drop in a 13th Gen chip into their LGA 1700 socket and utilize the upgraded performance.
A demo showcasing the benefits of the extra cores was shown which revealed how the E-Cores can offload the work in Blender and leave the 16 P-Core threads available for other tasks. The Raptor Lake chip used within the demo is an ES part running at lower clock speeds and at a base TDP of 125W and was able to outperform the Core i9-12900K (though we don't know if the Alder Lake chip was also running at base TDP of its max TDP). Nevertheless, it looks like those extra cores are going to deliver some nice uplift in performance overall.
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.
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 3 main tiles on the Meteor Lake CPUs. There's the IO Tile, the SOC 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 states, 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 Battlemage DG3 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 and XeSS, 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 they 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 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|
|Raptor Lake Refresh (TBA)||Intel 7||Raptor Cove (P-Core)|
|24/32||35-125W||700-Series||LGA 1700/1800||DDR5 / DDR4||PCIe Gen 5.0||2023|
|Meteor Lake (TBA)||Intel 4||Redwood Cove (P-Core)|
|22/28||35-125W||800 Series?||LGA 1851||DDR5||PCIe Gen 5.0||2024 (Cancelled)|
|Arrow Lake (TBA)||Intel 20A||Lion Cove (P-Core)|
|24/32||TBA||900-Series?||LGA 1851||DDR5||PCIe Gen 5.0||2024|
|Arrow Lake Refresh (TBA)||Intel 20A||Lion Cove (P-Core)|
|TBA||TBA||TBA||LGA 1851?||DDR5||PCIe Gen 5.0||2025|
|Lunar Lake (TBA)||Intel 18A||TBD||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA||DDR5||PCIe Gen 5.0?||2025|
|Panther Lake (TBA)||TBA||TBD||TBD||TBD||1000-Series?||LGA 1851?||DDR5||PCIe Gen 6.0?||2026|
|Nova Lake (TBA)||Intel 18A||TBD||TBA||TBA||2000-Series?||TBA||DDR5?||PCIe Gen 6.0?||2026|