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TL;DR: Intel gave us a sneak peek at what’s coming down the pipeline during its latest earnings call, and it’s clear the chip giant is going all-in on artificial intelligence for its next major CPU platform. CEO Pat Gelsinger reaffirmed that the company’s upcoming 18A process Panther Lake CPUs are progressing smoothly and on track for launch in mid-2025.

This next-gen chip architecture looks to be the culmination of Intel’s recent focus on AI computing performance. Gelsinger made some bold claims, stating that Panther Lake will deliver up to 2x better AI muscle over the prior Arrow Lake chips coming later this year. If Intel can deliver on those kinds of gen-over-gen gains, we could be in for some amazing AI throughput numbers.

Panther Lake represents the third iteration of Intel’s disaggregated design for its Core Ultra series, following Meteor Lake and Arrow Lake. This modular approach, splitting processing components across multiple tiled chiplets, is a departure from the company’s prior hybrid architecture used for Alder Lake and Raptor Lake.

The shift to chiplets has allowed Intel to go broader and bolder with AI-focused components. Gelsinger said the company’s “execution engine” timeline is firing on all cylinders, with five new process nodes in production over just four years – an incredibly aggressive cadence.

Intel’s 18A Panther Lake CPUs on track to launch in mid-2025, promising significant AI boost

“Intel 20A, which helps pave the way for Intel 18A, begins production ramp in the second half of this year with Arrow Lake […] We expect to release the 1.0 PDK for Intel 18A this quarter. Furthermore, our lead products, Clearwater Forest and Panther Lake are already in fab, and we expect to begin production ramp of Intel 18A in these products in the first half of ’25 for product release in the middle of next year,” Gelsinger stated.

Previously, at the Q4 2023 earnings call, Gelsinger revealed that Intel is working on boosting the AI performance of its x86 processors by as much as six times in the next few generations.

If Intel can indeed stay on schedule, the rapid-fire pace of these AI-accelerating chip upgrades could help it gain crucial ground against rivals like Nvidia and AMD in the white-hot AI arms race.

In the meantime, Intel is pushing hard to drive adoption of its current Core Ultra lineup that was launched in December. The company expects to double CPU shipments this quarter as supply constraints ease. By year’s end, Intel aims to have over 40 million AI-enhanced PCs in the wild across its Meteor Lake, Arrow Lake, and Lunar Lake product stacks.

We’re also about to see Intel’s new server chips roll out, led by the Sierra Forest Xeon 6 family built on Intel 3 and packing a massive 288 cores. The 128-core Granite Rapids will follow on the heels of Sierra Forest for data center deployments.

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