Intel Core

Credit: Intel

Intel is busy prepping its 14th generation Meteor Lake CPUs for launch later this year. Now two versions of it have appeared online, confirming new details about the company’s first tile-based CPUs. In addition to having the traditional hybrid chip design with performance and efficiency cores, a new type of low-power core might be lurking inside as well, marking the first time Intel has combined three different types of cores in one chunk of silicon.

As a quick refresher, Meteor Lake will sport four tiles: compute, GPU, I/O, and SoC. It’s being manufactured on the Intel 4 process, formerly known as 7nm, so this is a node jump from Intel 7 used for Alder and Raptor Lake. We’ve always known Intel would use Redwood Cove performance and Crestmont efficiency cores, but it now appears to have two additional low-power cores stuffed inside the SoC as well, according to Tom’s Hardware. The so-called LP-E cores look like even more efficient “efficiency” cores capable of “Low-power island CPU offload.” This seems to be their ability to complete small tasks while the CPU is in idle/sleep mode, which could be a boon to laptop battery life. This also reinforces the notion that Meteor Lake is a mobile-first design, prioritizing efficiency over maximum horsepower.

Intel Meteor Lake

This mysterious chip has an odd core count, indicating it’s likely Intel’s next-generation silicon. Credit: SiSoftware

The new Intel CPUs that have appeared online feature novel core and cache amounts, indicating they are Meteor Lake CPUs. The first, which notorious hardware hound @momomo_us spotted, is a Dell Inspiron laptop with 14 cores and 28 threads. This indicates it could be a 4P + 8E core design, with the remaining two cores in the equation being the low-power cores mentioned above. This CPU has a clock speed of 3.26GHz as well as 14MB of L2 and 16MB of L3 cache. However, it’s unclear how this core configuration gets us to 28 threads.

The second chip is a 16-core, 32-thread part listed in the SiSoftware database. This chip has a base clock of 3.07GHz and a boost clock of 4.2GHz, with 18MB of L2 and 24MB of L3. This is likely a 6P + 8E chip, with the same two additional cores lurking within.

Neither of these “leaked” chips shows any indication of the now-confirmed L4 cache that will be present in Meteor Lake, so it’s unclear what kind of effect that could have on performance. As we wrote previously, the chip’s tiles will sit on a base that includes this “Adamantine” cache, allowing it to be accessed by them. This could make for a faster boot process and improved GPU performance.

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Intel Meteor Lake CPUs Appear to Have New Low-Power ‘Hidden’ Cores

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