Intel Details Meteor Lake Architecture – A Major Shift

Source: Intel Intel Details Meteor Lake Architecture – A Major Shift

There are four tiles

Intel Innovation 2023 is going on, and today you will see various outlets providing details about Intel’s next processor architecture, code-named Meteor Lake. This information was shared with the media during the recent Intel tech day, and while we expect a desktop refresh soon, Meteor Lake is an all-new architecture.

In fact, Intel is calling this their “largest architectural shift in 40 years”, and it is clear from just looking at the topology of this new SoC that this is quite a departure from the architecture we are accustomed to from Intel. And, even if we wade past the AI portion of the announcement (yes, this is Intel’s first design with a built-In NPU AI engine), there is a lot left to discuss.

Intel Meteor Lake Architecture Overview

This is Intel’s foray into a disaggregated architectural design, with the four tiles connected via Intel’s Foveros 3D packaging. There are a number of firsts here, including the Intel 4 process node at the foundation of the new Compute tile.

Via Intel:

Compute tile – Contains the latest-generation E-cores and P-cores, both of which introduce new microarchitecture enhancements. This tile is built on Intel’s next generation Intel 4 process node bringing major advancements in power-efficient performance.

SOC tile – Integrates a Neural Processing Unit (NPU), bringing power efficient AI capabilities to the PC that are compatible with standardized program interfaces such as OpenVINO, among others. Intel has also added new low power island E-cores on the SoC tile directly attached to the SoC fabric. These cores are ideal for an entire class of low-power workloads and allows for further optimized power-efficient performance. The SoC also integrates Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, including Wi-Fi 6E, as well as media, with support for 8K HDR and AV1 codecs and HDMI 2.1 and Display Port 2.1 standards.

GPU tile – Incorporates Intel Arc Graphics architecture into the client SoC to deliver discrete-level performance in an integrated form factor. The leap in graphics capabilities with increased power efficiency enables Meteor Lake to achieve up to 2x gen-on-gen performance.

IO tile – Contains Intel’s industry-leading connectivity with integrated Thunderbolt 4 and PCIe Gen 5.0.

One of the most talked about aspects of the new architecture (at least during the Q&A this editor attended) was the addition of low power island E-cores in the SoC tile – which are distinct from the E-cores in the Compute Tile. SoC E-core utilization will come down to software and scheduling, but the potential energy savings for mobile platforms is very interesting.

Intel Details Meteor Lake Architecture - A Major Shift - General Tech 10

“The addition of new low-power island e-cores represents Intel’s first major advancement of the hybrid computing architecture first introduced on 12th Generation Intel Core (codenamed ‘Alder Lake’) processors. Together with the E-core and P-core on the compute tile, this new 3D performance hybrid architecture brings Intel’s most optimized computing experience yet to the PC.”

There are a number of other interesting aspects to Meteor Lake, such as the integration of Arc graphics (with some SKUs) for an “up to 2x gen-on-gen performance” improvement (there is also hardware AV1 and HDMI 2.1 / DisplayPort 2.1 support). That SoC tile steals the show, but the total package is a very compelling entry into the client space.

You can read more from Intel at their newsroom.

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About The Author

Sebastian Peak

Editor-in-Chief at PC Perspective. Writer of computer stuff, vintage PC nerd, and full-time dad. Still in search of the perfect smartphone. In his nonexistent spare time Sebastian's hobbies include hi-fi audio, guitars, and road bikes. Currently investigating time travel.

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