For a long time in the past, people have speculated about Intel's Meteor Lake processors, and at the Intel ON Technology Innovation Summit held yesterday, the mysterious veil of Meteor Lake was officially lifted.
A few months ago, Intel overturned the previous naming rules and divided future Intel processors into two major series: "Core" and "Core Ultra", which will be subdivided into several smaller series: 3, 5, 7, and 9. for consumers to choose. Meteor Lake processors belong to the Core Ultra series.
Meteor Lake processors use Intel's Intel 4 (7nm) process technology, which is Intel's most energy-efficient client processor to date and provides extensive AI support.
At the internal architecture level, Meteor Lake consists of four modules: CPU Tile (computing module), SoC Tile, GPU Tile (graphics module), and IO Tile.
At Intel's 2022 Investor Conference, Intel CEO Kissinger ambitiously outlined a blueprint of "five process nodes in four years." The CPU Tile uses Intel's new generation Intel 4 process technology, which is also a milestone process node in the blueprint.
Before reaching the end of Intel 18A, Intel 4 process technology not only used extreme ultraviolet lithography EUV technology for the first time, simplifying the manufacturing process, but also improved the energy consumption ratio by 20%.
Such innovative design represents Intel's most significant architectural transformation in 40 years, laying the foundation for PC innovation in the next 10 years.
It is worth mentioning that compared to the past, which integrated all functions into one chip, Meteor Lake adopts a separate modular design, and different processes can be selected according to different needs.
For example, the CPU Tile uses Intel 4 (7nm process), while the SOC Tile uses TSMC's N6 process, which can flexibly optimize performance and power consumption.
In addition, Meteor Lake adopts a 3D high-performance hybrid architecture, adding an ultra-low-power energy efficiency core (LPE) based on the performance core (P core) and energy efficiency core (E core).
Some low-power modules will be concentrated in one area to form a "low-power island". Only the low-power island is normally run, and other high-power modules are turned off, which can significantly reduce power consumption.
TSMC's more advanced N5 process is used to build the Arc GPU system of the Meteor Lake processor. Intel says it delivers twice the performance and performance per watt of its 13th-generation Raptor Lake processors.
In the SoC module, Meteor Lake also integrates Intel's first PC-side AI acceleration engine NPU, which not only processes AI algorithms more efficiently than CPUs and GPUs, but is also compatible with standardized program interfaces such as OpenVINO to facilitate the development and popularization of AI.
Meteor Lake also supports new generation IO interfaces, such as WI-Fi 7, Thunderbolt 4, USB 4, PCIe 5, etc. Unfortunately, Meteor Lake does not support Thunderbolt 5, which was just released last week.
So how are these modules "assembled" together? The new Meteor Lake processor will use Foveros packaging technology to achieve extremely low power consumption and high-density chip connections within the chip.
It can be understood that it is similar to the Lego that is often played in daily life. First, make different small modules, and then stack them up to make a large chip.
At the same time, the modular design can reduce the size of a single wafer, and more chips can be obtained from the same wafer, increasing the number of chips obtained from each wafer, and accelerating customization and market launch. In addition, a more suitable chip process can be selected for each block to achieve better cost and performance.
On the technical level, Meteor Lake naturally has many highlights, but I am more interested in the AI level. It is becoming a reality that all products have to be remade with AI, and Meteor Lake processors are one of Intel's trump cards.
As mentioned before, the NPU part in Meteor Lake is a part specially designed for AI tasks. It is very energy-efficient and can continuously run and process AI tasks.
The CPU part of Meteor Lake has fast response capabilities and is suitable for lightweight AI tasks that require fast decision-making and low latency. The GPU part has performance parallelism and high throughput. It is very good at processing tasks related to media, 3D applications and graphics rendering, and can run and process a large number of AI tasks simultaneously.
In the past, when we talked about AI computing, it was basically cloud computing, but cloud computing + client computing + edge computing is the future.
In fact, although cloud AI provides scalable computing, it also has limitations, such as dependence on connections, high latency, high deployment costs, and privacy concerns. With the help of Meteor Lake processors, AI is introduced to client PCs and will Provides low-latency computing. This kind of low-latency computing is connection-independent and can better protect privacy and security at a lower cost.
At yesterday's Intel ON Technology Innovation Summit, Intel CEO Kissinger said eloquently at the summit: "We are facing a new era of AI PCs."
AI will fundamentally change, reshape and reconstruct the PC experience through the close collaboration between cloud and PC, releasing people's productivity and creativity.
Kissinger said that in the future, developers can use industry-standard AI development kits, and computer software can call on the processor's various AI processing capabilities, and the new processor has more powerful computing capabilities and even supports complex local AI calculations.
At the same time, ordinary users' computers will have various trained and fine-tuned AI models built into them. Users only need to issue instructions, and the computer can complete tedious tasks instead of humans.
In Intel's planning vision, starting with Meteor Lake processors, Intel will widely introduce AI to PCs, leading hundreds of millions of PCs into the AI era. At the same time, the huge x86 ecosystem will also provide a wider range of software models and tools.
The Meteor Lake processor will be released on December 14th, so we can see how it works in action. The king who stood on the top of the mountain in the PC era is full of confidence in the prospects of Meteor Lake processors.
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