Intel announced its latest lineup of mobile and desktop processors today at CES 2024, and they’re probably not the chips you were expecting to follow up the Intel Meteor Lake launch back on December 14.
Rather than a new slew of next-gen AI chips like the new Core and Core Ultra processors, Intel is releasing one last tranche of chips from its 14th-gen Raptor Lake Refresh series, including new enthusiast-grade HX-series processors for laptops and new 65W and 35W 14th-gen desktop chips designed to cater to a wide array of computing needs.
Finally, Intel is also expanding its portfolio with the Intel Core mobile processor Series 1 family, led by the Intel Core 7 processor 150U, targeting the best thin and light laptop systems coming to market in 2024.
The Intel 14th-gen processor family is positioned to deliver high-end performance and platform features for both enthusiast and mainstream PC users, with the HX-series processors, specifically are engineered for mobile users who demand top-tier performance on the go.
These are the chips you can expect to see in the best gaming laptop and best mobile workstation models to drop throughout 2024, and rather than incorporate a new neural processor unit for AI applications like you’ll find with Intel Meteor Lake, the 14th-gen HX chips are all about squeezing the last bit of performance out of Intel’s hybrid core architecture first introduced with Intel Alder Lake back in 2021.
One of the stars of the HX-series is the Intel Core i9-14900HX, featuring eight performance-cores (P-cores) and 16 efficient-cores (E-cores), for a total of 32 processing threads, promising not just superior connectivity but also significant improvements in single and multi-thread performance. This is further emphasized by the up to 5.8 GHz turbo frequency, and the Intel Core i7-14700HX’s 50% increase in E-cores. The HX-series processors also support up to 192 GB of DDR5-5600 memory and come with overclocking capabilities, including Intel Extreme Utility (XTU) and Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) support.
In terms of connectivity, the new processors offer Thunderbolt 5 support with up to 80 Gbps of bi-directional bandwidth and enhanced wireless features like integrated Intel Wi-Fi 6E and the new discrete Intel Wi-Fi 7 support for reliable, high-speed connections.
On the desktop side of things, the new release includes 18 new processors, which Intel says will offer up to 5.8 GHz turbo frequency, up to 37% faster multi-thread performance, and improved Microsoft Office performance compared to previous generations. These processors also provide backward compatibility with Intel 600- and 700-series-based motherboards and support for up to 192 GB of DDR5-5600/DDR4-3200 MT/S memory.
The Intel Core 14th Gen processors not only aim to enhance gaming and creative workloads but also cater to various vertical markets. They are designed to handle AI and compute-intensive tasks efficiently, enabling innovation in fields such as education, healthcare, and industrial automation, though this shouldn’t be confused with the AI capabilities of Intel’s Meteor Lake processors, which as of now aren’t expected to launch as socket chips, but rather remain laptop and all-in-one desktop processors only.
For a socketable Intel chip with dedicated AI processing via an NPU, enthusiasts will probably have to wait until Intel Arrow Lake drops later in 2024.
In addition to the 14th-gen announcement, Intel also announced its new Core U Processor Series 1, including the Intel Core 7 processor 150U, which offers up to 5.4 GHz turbo frequency, up to 96 GB of DDR5-5200/DDR4-3200 memory, and robust connectivity options. This series is tailored for mobile systems that require a balance of performance and efficiency.
Overall, Intel’s launch at CES 2024 provides ample contenders for our best processor list, though the most exciting chips will likely be the new mobile HX series, which should give high-end laptops for work and play a jolt of additional performance before Intel fully pivots itself away from the 14th-gen hybrid architecture entirely.
Once more with feeling for Intel’s 14th-gen processors
Intel is definitely in a stage of transition, and its CES announcement is really a reflection of this pivot point in the company’s processor development. With all attention on Meteor Lake, Intel’s new 14th-gen chips on both desktop and mobile is something of a clearing of the deck for Team Blue. For the rest of 2024, all eyes are going to be on Meteor Lake, Arrow Lake, and possibly even Lunar Lake chips, assuming Intel can stick to it’s plans of five processor generations by 2025 (whether Intel’s plans are inclusive of 2025 is being left deliberately vague, it seems; the “by” in “by 2025” is doing some very heavy lifting there).
As we start to see Intel move past the hybrid core architecture that propelled Team Blue back on top of the chipmaker heap after AMD’s resurgence with its Ryzen processors, the next couple of processor generations featuring a multi-chiplet module design architecture is going to be both new for Intel and likely a bit buggy to start.
Intel Meteor Lake is exciting, but it’s also probably going to have some notable growing pains as we move into 2024 that Arrow Lake and Lunar Lake should hopefully iron out as the new architecture matures through iteration. Until then, however, enthusiasts will have to look to the final Raptor Lake Refresh chips for high performance silicon from Intel.
Check out our CES 2024 hub for all the latest news from the show as it happens. We’ll be covering everything from 8K TVs and foldable displays to new phones, laptops, smart home gadgets, and the latest in AI, so stick with us for the big stories. And don’t forget to follow us on TikTok for the latest from the CES show floor!