Home PC & LaptopHardware The First Chiplet Design With Next-Gen CPU Cores, Arc GPU & NPU For The AI PC Revolution

The First Chiplet Design With Next-Gen CPU Cores, Arc GPU & NPU For The AI PC Revolution

by Contributor

Today is a big day as Intel launches its next-generation Core Ultra CPU family codenamed Meteor Lake, bringing some major design changes.

Intel’s First Chiplet CPUs Are Finally Here! Meet Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” With Next-Gen Cores Aiming The Client AI PC Segment

Meteor Lake is a huge development from Intel as it incorporates technologies that its competitor has been using for several years in the client PC segment. The biggest of these technologies is a chiplet-based design which the blue team refers to as a “disaggregated” architecture and it comes with several benefits such as allowing the company to mix and match various core IPs on different nodes to meet the right performance and cost. We have an in-depth coverage of the Meteor Lake design and CPU architecture here so today, we will be focusing on what all of these technologies have to offer to the consumer.

Intel Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” Specifications – Quick Glance At The High-Level & SKUs

Just a quick overview of the specifications, the Intel Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPUs use a mix of IPs which include:

  • Meteor Lake Compute Tile: Intel 4 “7nm EUV”
  • Meteor Lake Graphics Tile: TSMC 5nm
  • Meteor Lake SOC Tile: TMSC 6nm
  • Meteor Lake IO Tile: TSMC 6nm

The Compute Tile features the Redwood Cove P-Core architecture and the Crestmont E-Core core architecture. There are also additional Crestmont Cores within the SOC tile which are optimized for low-power operations. The GPU tile is based on the Alchemist Xe-LPG architecture. All of these IPs are combined using its Foveros 3D packaging tech. All of this technology combined delivers what Intel is calling its most power-efficient client processor to date. Summing up all the major highlights of the Meteor Lake CPU:

  • Triple-Hybrid CPU Architecture (P/E/LP-E Cores)
  • Brand New Redwood Cove (P-Cores)
  • Brand New Crestmont (E-Cores)
  • Up To 14 Cores (6+8) For H/P Series & Up To 12 Cores (4+8) For U Series CPUs
  • Intel 4 Process Node For CPU, TSMC For tGPU
  • Intel ‘Xe-MTL’ GPU With Up To 128 EUs
  • Up To LPDDR5X-7467 & DDR5-5200 Support
  • Up To 96 GB DDR5 & 64 GB LPDDR5X Capacities
  • Intel VPU For AI Inferencing With Atom Cores
  • x8 Gen 5 Lanes For Discrete GPU (Only H-Series)
  • Triple x4 M.2 Gen 4 SSD Support
  • Four Thunderbolt 4 Ports

Intel Mobility CPU Lineup:

CPU Family Lunar Lake Arrow Lake Meteor Lake Raptor Lake Alder Lake
Process Node (CPU Tile) Intel 20A? Intel 20A ‘5nm EUV” Intel 4 ‘7nm EUV’ Intel 7 ’10nm ESF’ Intel 7 ’10nm ESF’
Process Node (GPU Tile) TSMC 3nm? TSMC 3nm TSMC 5nm Intel 7 ’10nm ESF’ Intel 7 ’10nm ESF’
CPU Architecture Hybrid Hybrid (Four-Core) Hybrid (Triple-Core) Hybrid (Dual-Core) Hybrid (Dual-Core)
P-Core Architecture Lion Cove? Lion Cove Redwood Cove Raptor Cove Golden Cove
E-Core Architecture Skymont? Skymont Crestmont Gracemont Gracemont
LP E-Core Architecture (SOC) Skymont? Crestmont? Crestmont? N/A N/A
Top Configuration TBD TBD 6+8 (H-Series) 6+8 (H-Series)
8+16 (HX-Series)
6+8 (H-Series)
8+8 (HX-Series)
Max Cores / Threads TBD TBD 14/20 14/20 14/20
Planned Lineup U Series? H/P/U Series H/P/U Series H/P/U Series H/P/U Series
GPU Architecture Xe2-LPG (Battlemage) Xe-LPG (Alchemist) Xe-LPG (Alchemist) Iris Xe (Gen 12) Iris Xe (Gen 12)
GPU Execution Units 64 EUs 192 EUs 128 EUs (1024 Cores) 96 EUs (768 Cores) 96 EUs (768 Cores)
Memory Support TBD TBD DDR5-5600
LPDDR5-7400
LPDDR5X – 7400+
DDR5-5200
LPDDR5-5200
LPDDR5-6400
DDR5-4800
LPDDR5-5200
LPDDR5X-4267
Memory Capacity (Max) TBD TBD 96 GB 64 GB 64 GB
Thunderbolt 4 Ports TBD TBD 4 4 4
WiFi Capability TBD TBD WiFi 6E WiFi 6E WiFi 6E
TDP TBD TBD 7W-45W 15-55W 15-55W
Launch ~2025 2H 2024 2H 2023 1H 2023 1H 2022

Coming to the SKUs, the Intel Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” lineup is split into two segments, the high-end Core Ultra 100H and the low-power Core Ultra 100U.

Intel Core Ultra 100H Series

The flagship SKU of the family is the Intel Core Ultra 9 185H which features 16 cores in a 6+8+2 (P-Core / E-Core / LP E-Core) configuration with 22 threads. The chip carries 24 MB of L3 cache, a base clock of 3.8 GHz, and a boost clock of 5.1 GHz. The chip also packs an Intel Arc GPU with 8 Xe-cores running at 2350 MHz. The TDP is maintained at a base power of 45W and a maximum turbo power of 115W.

Next up, we have the Intel Core Ultra 7 165H and Core Ultra 7 155H which feature the same core configuration as the Core Ultra 9 185H but ship with lower clock speeds and tuned TDP targets. The Core Ultra 7 155H operates at 3.8 GHz base / 5.0 GHz boost while the Core Ultra 7 155H operates at 3.8 GHz base / 4.8 GHz boost clocks. Both chips are rated at a base power of 28W and can be set to MTPs of 64W or 115W.

Lastly, there are the Core Ultra 5 135H and Core Ultra 5 125H which feature 14 cores in a 4+8+2 (P-Core / E-Core / LP E-Core) configuration with 18 threads and 18 MB of L3 cache. The 135H operates at a 3.6 GHz base / 4.6 GHz boost while the 125H operates at a 3.6 GHz base / 4.5 GHz boost clock. The chips offer an Arc GPU with 7 Xe-Cores which is clocked at 2200 MHz and retains the same TDPs of 28 Watt base and 64/115W at MTP.

Intel Core Ultra 100U Series

The Intel Core Ultra 100U lineup includes six SKUs. The Core Ultra 7 165U, Core Ultra 7 164U, and Core Ultra 7 155U feature 12 cores in a 2+8+2 (P-Core / E-Core / LP E-Core) configuration with 14 threads, 12 MB of L3 cache and an Arc GPU with 4 Xe Cores. The highest clock speeds are rated at 3.8 GHz base and 4.9 GHz boost while the TDPs are rated at 9/15W Base and 30/57W at MTP.

The Intel Core Ultra 5 series also offers the same CPU and GPU configurations and comes win Core Ultra 5 135U, Core Ultra 5 134U, and Core Ultra 5 125U flavors. These are the entry-level chips and feature a cut-down GPU which should still end up close to 50% faster than the 13th Gen chips.

All chips support DDR5-5600 and LPDDR5/x-7467 memory but the 164U/134U only offers support for LPDDR5/x-6400 memory. The platform itself will support the latest I/O technologies such as TB4, WIFI 7, Bluetooth 5.2, and more.

Intel 14th Gen Meteor Lake CPU Family “Preliminary”:

CPU Name Process Node Core Configuration Threads (Total) Base / Boost Clock L3 Cache GPU TDP (PL1 / MTP)
Intel Core Ultra 9 185H Intel 4 6+8+2 (16) 22 3.8 GHz / 5.1 GHz 24 MB Arc Xe 8-Core (2.35 GHz) 45 / 115W
Intel Core Ultra 7 165H Intel 4 6+8+2 (16) 22 3.8 GHz / 5.0 GHz 24 MB Arc Xe 8-Core (2.30 GHz) 28 / 64 or 115W
Intel Core Ultra 7 155H Intel 4 6+8+2 (16) 22 3.8 GHz / 4.8 GHz 24 MB Arc Xe 8-Core (2.25 GHz) 28 / 64 or 115W
Intel Core Ultra 5 135H Intel 4 4+8+2 (14) 18 3.6 GHz / 4.6 GHz 18 MB Arc Xe 7-Core (2.20 GHz) 28 / 64 or 115W
Intel Core Ultra 5 125H Intel 4 4+8+2 (14) 18 3.6 GHz / 4.5 GHz 18 MB Arc Xe 7-Core (2.20 GHz) 28 / 64 or 115W
Intel Core Ultra 7 165U Intel 4 2+8+2 (14) 14 3.8 GHz / 4.9 GHz 12 MB Arc Xe 4 Core (2.00 GHz) 15 / 57W
Intel Core Ultra 7 164U Intel 4 2+8+2 (14) 14 3.8 GHz / 4.8 GHz 12 MB Arc Xe 4 Core (1.80 GHz) 9 / 30W
Intel Core Ultra 7 155U Intel 4 2+8+2 (14) 14 3.8 GHz / 4.8 GHz 12 MB Arc Xe 4 Core (1.95 GHz) 15 / 57W
Intel Core Ultra 5 135U Intel 4 2+8+2 (14) 14 3.6 GHz / 4.4 GHz 12 MB Arc Xe 4 Core (1.90 GHz) 15 / 57W
Intel Core Ultra 5 134U Intel 4 2+8+2 (14) 14 3.6 GHz / 4.4 GHz 12 MB Arc Xe 4-Core (1.75 GHz) 9 / 30W
Intel Core Ultra 5 125U Intel 4 2+8+2 (14) 14 3.6 GHz / 4.3 GHz 12 MB Arc Xe 4 Core (1.85 GHz) 15 / 57W

Intel Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPU Performance – 3rd Gen P-Core & 2nd Gen E-Core Architecture

Intel Redwood Cove is the 3rd Gen P-Core architecture following Raptor Cove and Golden Cove. This architecture is designed to offer dramatic performance-per-watt optimizations for ultrathin devices. Crestmont on the other hand is the follow-up to the Gracemont E-Core architecture and is designed to offer higher throughput and new VNNI acceleration capabilities.

In the CPU performance comparisons, Intel is comparing its Core Ultra 7 165H CPU against the i7-1370P (Raptor Lake), Ryzen 7 7840U (Phoenix), and Qualcomm 8cx Gen3 chips. The comparison choice is certainly interesting since the 165H is part of the Meteor Lake-H family whereas the AMD Ryzen 7 7840U and Core i7-1370P are a step below their “H” series siblings. For example, following are the power ratings for each of the chips used for testing:

  • Intel Core Ultra 7 165H (Meteor Lake) – 28W Base / 64/115W MTP
  • Intel Core i7-1370P (Raptor Lake) – 28W Base / 64W MTP
  • AMD Ryzen 7 7840U (Phoenix) – 28W Base / 40W Max
  • Qualcomm 8cx Gen 3 (Snapdragon) – 7-9W TDP

In the first comparison, Intel showcases the multi-threaded performance at the same power for its own and AMD chips (28W). The Core Ultra 7 165H scores an 11% lead over the Ryzen 7 7840U and an 8% lead over the Core i7-1370P. The footnotes mention that the power plan on both Intel and AMD laptops was set to “Balanced” while the Power Mode was set to “Best Performance” for both chips.

Using the same settings, the CPUs were compared in single-threaded tests (SPECrate 2017 INT). It can be seen that the Intel Meteor Lake CPU achieved a 12% single-core uplift over the AMD Ryzen 7 7840U but the Core i7-1370P ended up ahead since it offers a higher boost frequency of up to 5.20 GHz. So at the same power, Raptor Lake CPUs will still be ahead in the single-core department over Meteor Lake chips.

In the next comparisons, we see the Multimedia performance of all three chips and here, the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H CPU is used with all three chips tested at 28W TDPs. Meteor Lake ends up +31% faster in the UL Procyon Video Edition suite, +41% faster in the PugetBench for PremierPro suite & +19% faster in the PugetBench for Lightroom suite versus the AMD Ryzen 7 7840U.

Intel Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” GPU Performance – Arc Alchemist Takes On RDNA 3 In The Integrated Graphics Department

The GPU is one of the major portions of the Core Ultra lineup which will be tackling AMD’s RDNA iGPU family that has reigned supreme in the laptop, Mini PC, and handheld segment for several years now. Right off the bat, Intel is claiming that the Arc Alchemist Xe-LPG iGPU offers up to a 2X boost over the 13th Gen Core i7 chips at a 1080p resolution without using any sort of upscaling.

For comparisons, Intel uses the Core Ultra 7 165H within an MSI Prestige 16 laptop with LPDDR5-6400 memory and set to a base PL1 power of 32W, a Core i7-1370P laptop configured at 32W PL1 with LPDDR5-4800 memory and two AMD Ryzen 7 7840U laptops configured with LPDDR5-6400 memory at similar TDP ratings. Across 18 games, the Arc Xe-LPG GPU delivered around +5% uplift in games at native 1080p versus the AMD Ryzen solution.

At the same 28W TDP rating, the Intel Core Ultra 7 165H boasts a 10% faster average gaming performance across a multitude of games versus the Ryzen 7 7840U. The biggest improvement comes from Dying Light 2: Stay Human at +70% while there are a few titles when the chip either ties or ends up slightly slower than the competition.

To further boost the frames, Intel has XeSS upscaling technology which utilizes DP4a to deliver an average of +39% improvement over the native resolution across various titles. In Ghost Runner 2, the Arc Xe-LPG integrated GPU offers over 2x boost over the Core i7-1370P with UHD graphics & a 3x boost with XeSS enabled at 3x the efficiency.

Intel Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” AI Performance – 34 Combined TOPs For AI PCs vs 38 Combined TOPs of Ryzen AI

Another crucial part of the Meteor Lake CPU is its NPU which plays an important role in the emerging AI PC segment. All major chipmakers including Intel, AMD, Apple & Qualcomm are focusing their efforts on offering robust hardware and software capabilities to drive the next era of AI. Intel’s solution comes as a part of its NPU which is designed to offer sustained AI workloads & AI offload for increased battery life.

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Intel promises to deliver a combined 34 TOPs of AI compute with its Meteor Lake CPUs with the latest Engine and Data Type support such as FP16 capabilities across NPU, CPU, and GPU cores. Intel also states that it plans to ship 100 million+ AI accelerators in client PCs through 2025 while working with over 100 ISV Partners, delivering over 300 ISV features with broad capabilities, open and cross-vendor support, and easy developer support through its OpenVINO ecosystem.

Performance comparisons against the AMD Ryzen 7 7840U show that the Intel Core Ultra 7 165H offers up to 5.4x improvement in GIMP Stable Diffusion, up to 3.2x improvement in Stable Diffusion A1111, up to 1.7X improvement in Adobe Premier Pro (ColorGrade + Scene Edit + Export), up to 1.5x improvement in Adobe Lightroom Classic (AI Photo Edit), up to 1.2x improvement in DaVinci Resolve (Render + AI Mask + Export) and up to 1.1x improvement in Wondershare Filmora (A1FX + Preview + Export).

When compared to the Intel Core i7-1370P, the Core Ultra 7 165H offers 70% faster Generative AI performance while delivering 2.5x the INT8 power efficiency in UL Procyon AI (NPU Offload, Int8). Intel also compares its OpenVINO framework against the WinML Framework in the competition & shows Meteor Lake being performant across the wide set of data types. The blue team states that it’s continually going to work on its AI software stack with new tools and frameworks. They also show a local LLaMa2-7B model running on the Meteor Lake chips using the Whisper Encoder on the NPU.

Intel Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” Power Efficiency – More Performant Than Apple & AMD At the Same Power

Lastly, we wanted to talk about the power efficiency figures provided by Intel. In its chart, Intel is comparing the Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPU across different power slabs and we can see that these new chips scale well as they go past the 25W barrier. Intel shows the chip is faster than Apple’s M3 at the same power and also up to 11% faster than AMD’s Ryzen 7 7840U at the same power within the SPECrate 2017 (Int) benchmark.

Intel also goes into workload-specific power numbers against the AMD Ryzen 7 7840U and here we get to see up to 79% reduction in power on 28W ultrathin devices. The Meteor Lake CPU’s power draw in desktop idle mode is the lowest.

One big advantage over all previous chips comes from the use of LP E-Cores which can be used for video playback, offering up to 25% reduction in power over the previous generation.

The first Intel Core Ultra 7 and Core Ultra 5 “Meteor Lake” CPUs will be available in the coming days but the majority including the high-end Core Ultra 9 variants will be available in January 2024 so look forward to more details at CES 2024.

2024 AI PC Platforms

Brand Name Apple Qualcomm AMD Intel
CPU Name M3 Snapdragon X Elite Ryzen 8040 “Hawk Point” Meteor Lake “Core Ultra”
CPU Architecture ARM ARM x86 x86
CPU Process 3nm 4nm 4nm 7nm
Max CPU Cores 16 Cores (MAX) 12 Cores 8 Cores 16 Cores
NPU Architecture In-House Hexagon NPU XDNA 1 NPU Crestmont E-Core
NPU AI TOPS 18 TOPS 75 TOPS (Peak) 38 TOPS (16 TOPS NPU) 34 TOPS
GPU Architecture In-House Adreno GPU RDNA 3 Alchemist Arc Xe-LPG
Max GPU Cores 40 Cores TBD 12 Compute Units 8 Xe-Cores
GPU TFLOPs TBD 4.6 TFLOPS 8.9 TFLOPS ~4.5 TFLOPS
Memory Support (Max) LPDDR5-6400 LPDDR5X-8533 LPDDR5X-7500 LPDDR5X-8533
Availability Q4 2024 Mid-2024 Q1 2024 Q4 2024

Footnotes

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