Intel took us to Malaysia for the Intel Technology Tour, where he revealed many details about the Meteor Lake processors that we will find in the next generation of laptops. During the event the company did not talk about the lineup, therefore we don’t yet know which models will arrive on the market and their characteristics, but yes focused on the architecture of the chips and the different Tiles, as well as the use of packaging Foveros 3D.

In this article we will see what they are main news and features of the elements that characterize Meteor Lake, while in the next few days we will publish in-depth analyzes dedicated to each individual topic.

The biggest architectural leap in 40 years

Intel Meteor Lake is produced with the process Intel 4 and is made up of several elements called Tile, assembled via packaging Foveros 3D, which ensures high density and efficiency, as well as low latency which is essential to avoid too negative an impact on performance. The company believes very much in the project, so much so that it defines it as “the biggest architectural leap in 40 years” and a new “Centrino Moment”.

Intel 4 is the company’s first manufacturing process to take advantage of the EUV technology, which makes it over 20% more efficient, improves production yield and allows you to maximize energy efficiency, creating the basis of what will be Intel 3.

The market has evolved quickly and, today, more than 60% of developers are adding AI to existing applications, inference operations are moving from data centers to client and edge systems and by 2025 more than 50% of enterprise data it will be created and managed outside of data centers. Intel designed Meteor Lake to also meet these needs, doubling graphics performance, focusing on performance per watt and integrating a NPU (Neural Processing Unit) dedicated to artificial intelligence loads light, but long-lasting.

Intel Meteor Lake launch

Intel Meteor Lake launch Intel Meteor Lake launch

The news is obviously not just these: we have two new architectures for the CPU, Redwood Cove for P-Core and Crestmont for E-Core, the use of architecture Xe-LPG in the GPU with features inherited from Xe-HPG (the same as Intel Arc video cards), the integration of PCIe 5.0 he was born in WiFi 7 and much more.

The different Tiles

Meteor Lake is made up of four Tiles: Compute, SoC, Graphics and IO. The Compute Tile integrates the new E-Core and P-Core, produced with the Intel 4 process and characterized by the new microarchitectures mentioned above.

There SoC Tile integrates two LPE-Core, or Low Power E-Core, which allow you to manage some light loads without having to activate the Compute Tile or the Graphics Tile, so as to have an improvement in energy efficiency, NPU for artificial intelligence, the memory controller and DDR,modules Wi-Fi 6E / Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth, the Display Engine with native support for HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 2.1 and the Media Block, moved from Tile graphics to SoC for reduce consumption and improve autonomy and efficiency when playing videos or streaming.

Intel Meteor Lake launch

Intel Meteor Lake launch Intel Meteor Lake launch Intel Meteor Lake launch Intel Meteor Lake launch

There Graphics Tiles use as anticipated architecture Xe-LPG and integrates features of Xe-HPG, the architecture used on Intel Arc discrete GPUs. It offers the double the performance respect to the previous generation (Xe-LP) and has hardware for managing ray tracing. L’I Tile instead intact PCIe Gen 5 and Thunderbolt 4, for connectivity at the highest levels.

During one of the insights, Intel confirmed that not all Tiles are produced internally. The company exploits Intel 4 for Interposer and Compute Tile only, while IO, SoC and Tile graphics are produced externally; the company confirmed that the Graphics Tile is produced with TSMC 5nm, while he did not want to reveal other details regarding the Tile IO and SoC.

The 3D Performance Hybrid Architecture and the new Thread Director

With “3D Performance Hybrid Architecture” Intel defines the set of P-Core, E-Core and LPE-Core. As anticipated when we mentioned the Compute Tile, i P-Core they are based on the new microarchitecture Redwood Covewhich increases bandwidth for core packages and improves efficiencyfeedback to the Intel Thread Director (which therefore becomes faster and more efficient in optimizing loads) and the Performance Monitor Unit, necessary to control the latency between Tiles.

Intel Meteor Lake launch

The new ones E-Core with architecture Crestmont instead they integrate CPI improvements and Branch Prediction, as well as the management of artificial intelligence loads. As with the P-Core, here too we worked on improving the feedback to Thread Director.

The new Intel Thread Director is divided into two “portions”: one is composed of P-Core and E-Core, which offer a continuous classification of running processes, the other of a “feedback table” that is read by the operating system scheduler. This allows it to give improved feedback and suggestions, provide dynamic updates when other IPs draw more power, improve tie-in decisions for greater power efficiency, give updates based on the SoC’s run-time capabilities, and provide recommendations based on hardware characteristics and system operating mode.

Intel Meteor Lake launch

Intel has worked with Microsoft for also improve the Windows scheduler: now the system tries to perform operations on the LPE-Core, sending them to the Compute Tile only when they cannot be performed by the SoC; at this point it uses the E-Core and, only if the workload needs even more power, is it moved to the P-Core. The system is much more efficient than the one present on Raptor Lake, where operations were sorted between E-Core and P-Core based on QoS and, periodically, what was on the E-Core was moved to the P-Core for reclassification and possible reassignment.

The challenges of the Tile structure and energy management

Disaggregating promotes scalability, but it involves some challenges that Intel had to face during the development of Meteor Lake and which were also overcome thanks to the use of Foveros 3D packaging. The company had to insert Clock, Reset and Power Management and Test & Debug management elements into each Tile, creating a slight overhead; power efficiency also suffered, but the company worked with the goal of making Meteor Lake as efficient as a monolithic chip.

To do this he designed the “Low Power Island”, specifically designed to guarantee the maximum energy efficiency. It consists of the memory subsystem, NPU, Media Block, Display Engine, IPU, PUNIT, the two LPE-Core and scalable interconnects.

The system uses Low Power E-Cores to handle light loads, so the Compute Tile activates only when necessary: the majority of background processes run on LPE-Core. Similarly, the NPU deals with managing light but prolonged AI loads, in order to keep Compute Tile and Graphics Tile turned off and save energy. On Meteor Lake processors, i loads of artificial intelligence are managed in this way: the NPU works as described, the CPU takes care of light and low latency single inferences, which need a fast response, finally the GPU handles the AI ​​loads related to rendering, Media and 3D, which require parallelism and throughput.

Intel Meteor Lake launch

Among other measures to improve efficiency, Intel has integrated into the DLVR (Digital Linear Voltage Regulator) for more granular voltage control, a dynamic interconnection frequency that is based on bandwidth and QoS, SoC algorithms defined by load type and improvements to the Windows scheduler via Thread Director, as described above.

Always regarding the energy management, Intel also talked about Intelligent Display: combine latest generation panels with Intel technologies and AI to increase the autonomy of notebooks, improve the user experience and sustainability.

The main innovations in this area are theAutonomous Low Refresh Rate, which allows the panel to change its refresh rate automatically based on the content shown, theUser Based Refresh Rate, which allows the display to adjust refresh rate and backlight according to user interest hey Dynamic Visual Enhancements, which allow the display to improve the viewing experience by dynamically adjusting contrast and brightness based on the content.

Innovations underlying the products of the future

Pat Gelsinger brought a breath of fresh air to Intel, immediately defining the path to take and conveying great trust and security, as told by several members of the company. Since the arrival of the new CEO, the impression is that Intel has changed gear: we cannot know today whether Meteor Lake will really be a new “Centrino Moment” or not, but the team is extremely confident and it is undeniable that all the new features and innovations introduced, starting from the Tile structure and the use of advanced packaging Foveros 3D, they are an excellent base from which to start developing the products of the futurestarting with the upcoming Arrow Lake and Lunar Lake processors, which will be able to count on further optimizations and even better production processes.