Intel yesterday revealed some intriguing details about its 14th generation CPUs, codenamed Meteor Lake. The main event addressed a change in the way Intel names its production processes, aligning them more with TSMC and Samsung, and revealed that Amazon and Qualcomm will be its first foundry customers.
Meteor Lake emerged as an example of a client CPU to be built using the recently named Intel 4 production process, formerly known simply as its 7 nm process.
It wasn’t the surprising revelation of Meteor Lake, but it’s the fact that it’s made up of three different tiles: a computing dice, a SOC-LP dice, and a GPU dice. This is comparable to the chip designs that AMD has had with its Zen architecture, with great effect.
Essentially, it will allow Intel to use different manufacturing processes for different chips in the final package. It’s a more efficient way to work and it’s not as affected by bugs as the individual chips are smaller, which means you can take more advantage of the wafer. All this is joined by Intel's Foveros packaging technology, which manages how these dies are joined.
Not content to show that Meteor Lake would be its first tile-based CPU, Intel also decided to reveal how many runtime units (UEs) the GPU array can contain: with the rendering specifically showing that it has between 96 and 192 UEs. In comparison, current chips containing Intel Iris Xe graphics reach 96 US, so you are potentially looking for a direct duplication of silicon graphics for high-end Meteor Lake chips.
Meteor Lake will be launched in 2023 and will be its replacement Raptor Lake, which is scheduled for 2022 and is a replacement for Alder Lake. We know Raptor Lake will use the same LGA 1700 socket as Alder Lake, but we don’t know if Meteor Lake will remain the same; there are rumors that it will use a new LGA 1800 socket. If true, that means you will need at least a new motherboard.
Alder Lake will be released before the end of this year, with some rumors appearing in October. It will use the Intel 7 process, formerly known as its enhanced 10 nm SuperFin process. Alder Lake is important because it is Intel's first hybrid design for desktop computers, which includes up to eight traditional "large" cores and up to eight "inefficient" cores.
Intel showed a representation of this CPU during the webcast, where the eight large Golden Cove cores (in dark blue) could be seen next to the much smaller Gracemont cores (in light blue at the end). Viously, obviously this is just a render, but if the chip areas are about the right size, the difference between the kernel sizes is shown.