Intel is still the big name when it comes to CPUs, but it’s no means the only option these days.
Fellow US company AMD is the big rival among Windows laptops and PCs, while Apple Silicon has produced some excellent results on the Mac side. We also shouldn’t count out Qualcomm, which has released several ARM-based laptop chips in recent years.
Despite the success of 13th-gen Raptor Lake CPUs, Intel needs to continue innovating. We’re expecting upgrades from the next generation of processors, which are confirmed as 14th-gen Meteor Lake. Here’s everything you need to know.
When will Intel Meteor Lake be released?
Intel has confirmed a release window for the first 14th-gen CPUs, but it’s nothing more specific than 2023.
Alongside the company’s Q1 2023 earnings report in April 2023, Intel confirmed (via AnandTech) that Meteor Lake has “an expected launch in the second half of 2023”.
Exactly when that’ll be remains to be seen. But if 2022 was anything to go by, they’ll make their debut at Intel’s Innovation event, which usually takes place in September or October. However, the bulk of the CPUs are likely to arrive at CES 2024 next January.
That’s in line with information from leaker ECSM on Chinese social platform Bilibili, who suggested Meteor Lake K-series CPUs would arrive first, before less powerful versions in November or December 2023.
Desktop processors will go on sale shortly after an official announcement (if there is one), but what about Meteor Lake laptops? At Computex in May 2023, it looks like MSI’s Prestige 16 Evo has already been revealed as the first (via Tom’s Hardware). It’s scheduled to arrive in the fourth quarter of the year (October-December), which seems to line up with Intel’s usual schedule.
Back in August 2022, Intel was forced to deny that all consumer-focused chips will be delayed until 2024. As The Verge reported, there were plenty of earlier rumours suggesting Meteor Lake is behind schedule. But Intel insisted that not only will the first Meteor Lake CPUs launch in 2023, they’ll be available to purchase before the end of the year.
Will Intel release Meteor Lake desktop and mobile chips?
Possibly not. Mobile chips for Windows laptops and tablets look to be on the agenda, but they might not be joined by desktop versions this time around.
In December 2022, leaker Raichu reported in a now-private tweet that Meteor Lake-S chips had been cancelled. A subsequent private tweet from the same account suggested the same product would be used to be a Meteor Lake-P laptop processor instead.
At around the same time (February 2023), Jeremy Laird at PC Gamer described 15th-gen Arrow Lake (expected in 2024) as the ‘true desktop replacement’ for Raptor Lake – not Meteor Lake.
But if this turns out to be true, it’s nothing new for Intel. Both Ice Lake (10th-gen) or Tiger Lake (11th-gen) included desktop CPUs, although the the generations since have.
If new desktop processors are announced this year, they may be branded as a Raptor Lake Refresh rather than Meteor Lake. That’s what Videocardz is reporting, suggesting a launch date of October.
How much will Intel Meteor Lake cost?
If Intel decides not to release any Meteor Lake desktop chips, the pricing is irrelevant.
Laptop CPUs are designed to be integrated into the devices you buy, and won’t be available as standalone components. Therefore, the price you pay will depend on what the rest of the hardware is like.
But if the company does end up making desktop versions, a similar price to 13th-gen Raptor Lake is likely.
Intel’s suggested pricing for these varies hugely, but most were somewhere between $300 and $600. Retailers ultimately decide how much you’ll pay, although an easing of the global chip shortages means there shouldn’t be huge hikes.
What will the Intel Meteor Lake specs be?
The first source of Meteor Lake news is Intel itself. At the company’s 2022 Investor Day, it showed off the following roadmap:
The key takeaway here is the move to the Intel 4, which sees the company finally shift to a 7nm process. Intel 20A refers to a 5nm process, but it’s not expected until Arrow Lake in 2024. Another summary screen indicates a move to a new flexible tiled architecture, although it’ll still be a hybrid structure of performance and power efficiency cores:
As Tom’s Hardware reports, we now have our first look at a Meteor Lake chip. MSI’s latest Prestige 16 Evo, announced at Computex in May 2023, is powered by an Intel Core i7 processor with specs that haven’t been announced yet. It features 16 cores and 22 threads, with the article suggesting it could be a successor to the current Core i7-13700H (which has 14 cores and 20 threads).
These cores are split into six performance and 10 efficiency, with two of the latter housed with the tile of the main system on a chip (SoC) module. A clock speed of 3.1GHz would be an upgrade compared to the 2.4GHz on the i7-13700H, but this might not be the maximum figure.
In April 2022, AnandTech said that Meteor Lake will be the company’s first to use EUV (extreme ultraviolet lithography) in manufacturing, moving away from the current hybrid architecture. There’ll still be the the mix of performance and efficiency cores, but this new chiplet design will supposedly allow processor components to be combined more easily (according to The Verge).
According to Twitter leaker Raichu in a now-private tweet, the target for Meteor Lake chips is to be around 1.5x the efficiency of the Raptor Lake equivalent. This should, in turn, benefit battery life. A follow-up tweet suggested the new integrated GPU (a successor to the current Iris Xe) will deliver nearly 2x the performance as it currently does – according to clock speeds, anyway.
In a now private tweet (reported by VideoCardz.com), leaker TLC on Twitter revealed some details about what could be Meteor Lake-S desktop chips. This includes a total of 20 PCIe Gen 5 lanes (16 for the GPU, four for storage) and an extra four from the new Z890 motherboard.
Versions with 6 performance/8 efficiency and 6 performance/16 efficiency are thought to exist, with an eight performance core version believed to be in the works too. There’s also mention of Windows 12, adding to the rumours that a major new version could be on the way soon.
An i7-14700K desktop chip is also thought to be in the works, if benchmarks reported by Videocardz are anything to go by. A successor to the i7-13700K, it’ll supposedly feature eight performance cores, but an unknown number of efficiency cores – previous rumours hinted at 12, up from eight currently.
Apparently, this processor will be able to reach a max clock speed of 5.5GHz, up from 5.4GHz on its predecessor.
As Intel has confirmed with its new naming system (details below), at least one Ultra-branded chip is on the way. Tom’s Guide reported in May 2023 on new benchmarks for mobile CPUs with 14 cores and 16 cores respectively. These may end up being the Ultra ones, and be more powerful than anything we’ve seen in Raptor Lake.
Back in 2021, Wccftech suggested that Meteor Lake will use a brand new architecture known as Redwood Cove. This will be the successor to the current version and 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.
A June 2022 YouTube video from ‘Moore’s Law is Dead’ claims to leak several key Meteor Lake specs:
The video suggests we should also expect a new LGA 2551 socket, significant IPC increases compared to Raptor Lake and a new architecture to rival AMD’s Zen 4 for the desktop CPUs. However, some clock speed regressions are claimed, while the video was also unable to reveal any clock speeds.
Plenty more details were revealed in a July 2023 video from the same channel, including key details regarding U-series, P-series and H-series laptop CPUs.
New naming system
Starting with Meteor Lake, Intel has confirmed that it’ll change the way it brands CPUs. The “i” from the names of individual processors is being ditched, and there’ll be no reference to “14th-gen” either.
There will now be three main tiers of chips: Intel, Intel Core and Intel Ultra. The company says it wants to avoid the Intel name being lost, and prevent unnecessary associations with Apple via the “i” branding. However, introducing the ‘Ultra’ name means that’s unlikely to happen.
In theory, to deciding which CPU to go for, you’ll first choose between regular, Core or Ultra. Then, it’ll be between the 3, 5, 7 or 9 from that category.
Here’s how it’ll work for the Intel Core chips:
And for Intel Core Ultra, here’s what you can expect:
Fake examples provided by Intel to The Verge show that not much will change:
Intel Core Ultra 9 processor 1090H
Intel Core Ultra 7 processor 1070K
Intel Core 5 processor 1050U
We’ll update this article once we know more about Meteor Lake. If you’re in the market for new Intel CPUs right now, see our full guide to 13th-gen Raptor Lake chips.