Despite increasingly fierce competition in recent years, Intel remains the go-to CPU maker for laptop manufacturers and consumers alike.
Data from Mercury Research showed that in the three months to the end of 2020, the company accounted for around 81% of all CPU sales worldwide.
That makes the company’s upcoming release of relevance to a huge amount of people. Unlike many tech companies, chip manufacturers are typically open when it comes to their long term plans. We already know that AMD’s Zen 4 architecture is in the works, while a leaked roadmap reveals details of Intel’s next two generations of CPUs.
Those will be the 12th-gen Alder Lake and 13th-gen Raptor Lake chips, but Intel has already spoken in-depth about its upcoming 7nm processors. Among these is Meteor Lake, 14th-gen processors that are expected to bring about some significant changes to Intel silicon. Here’s everything you need to know at this early stage.
Intel Meteor Lake release date
Intel has taken the unusual decision of confirming a release date already, although it’s nothing more specific than 2023.
Meteor Lake officially reached its ‘tape in’ phase in May 2021, according to Intel’s Gregory Bryant:
Great way to start the week! We are taping in our 7nm Meteor Lake compute tile right now.
A well-deserved celebration by the team on this milestone. #IAmIntel #Innovation pic.twitter.com/oHYhFvo3iF
— Gregory M Bryant (@gregorymbryant)
May 24, 2021
That’s where all the different parts of the chip are brought together for the first time – ‘tape out’ is when a final design is ready for manufacturing.
There’s often many years between ‘tape in’ and final release, so it’s no surprise to see it happen this year. The official announcement also reflects the fact that Intel has been working on 7nm chips for quite a while already.
Intel Meteor Lake pricing
Considering there are still two processor generations between now and the scheduled release of Meteor Lake, it’s almost impossible to predict pricing. For reference, this is how much current-gen Rocket Lake chips cost:
Core i9-11900K – $513-$539
Core i7-11700K – $374-$399
Core i5-11600K – $237-$262
Core i5-11400K – $157-$182
Prices have been gradually increasing generation-on-generation, so the equivalent chips could be significantly more expensive by the time Meteor Lake arrives.
Should Intel also release integrated chips designed for laptops, these will be priced depending on the other hardware and not available to buy as standalone components. Which brings us on to the next section…
Will Intel release Meteor Lake desktop and mobile chips?
Most likely, although their releases may be staggered. Following the release of Meteor Lake, Intel will probably be keen to get 7nm chips on as many PCs as possible. Intel’s huge device portfolio will make that a challenge, but we don’t expect it to wait long before desktop and laptop Meteor Lake CPUs become available.
Intel Meteor Lake spec rumours
As you might expect, concrete rumours about Intel’s 2023 processors are relatively thin on the ground. At Intel’s recent ‘Unleashed: Engineering the Future’ event, CEO Pat Gelsinger explained that the company has ‘rearchitected and simplified our 7nm process flow, increasing our use of EUV by more than 100%’. EUV refers to ultraviolet lithography with an extremely short 13.5nm wavelength. Intel appears to have overcome previous issues with the technology that prevented an earlier rollout.
Meteor Lake is expected to use the same hybrid CPU design that will be introduced in Alder Lake. This includes both high performance and power efficiency cores, although Intel will combine Gracemount with Ocean Cove as opposed to Golden Cove. It’s not yet clear what benefits this will bring.
A May 2021 Wccftech article then suggested that Meteor Lake will use a brand new architecture known as Redwood Cove. This will be the successor to Golden Cove (expected to debut on Alder Lake CPUs), and will supposedly deliver ‘IPC and architectural improvements’.
Other key rumoured specs for Meteor Lake are revealed later in the article. These include the LGA 1700 platform and DDR5 memory, with author Hassan Mujtaba hinting at potential 800-series chips and PCIe Gen 5 support.
Nothing else has been revealed just yet, although there are plenty more changes expected between now and the expected release of Meteor Lake. These include PCIe Gen 5 and up to 48 Platform PCIe Lanes with Alder Lake, alongside DDR5. Then there’s Raptor Lake, which is expected to add DLVR Power Delivery and an improved CPU cache for desktop gaming. That’s also where we’re expecting some core changes similar to those mentioned above.
We’ll update this article once we know more about Meteor Lake. If you’re in the market for new desktop CPUs right now, check out where to buy Intel’s current-gen Rocket Lake chips.