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Intel’s Core rebranding exercise offers a glimpse at Meteor Lake CPU specs

Like Goro Majima, they’re losing an i

A graphic showing the Intel's rebranded logos for its Core and Core Ultra CPUs.
Image credit: Intel

Fresh info on Intel Meteor Lake, the blue team’s upcoming 14th Gen CPU family, has arrived from an unlikely yet still very official source. See, Intel haven’t revealed the chips themselves, but have announced a rebranding for future Core processors – one that will start taking effect with Meteor Lake. And, in doing so, they’ve let slip some details on the new range's design and capabilities.

The rebrand, in short, goes thusly: Intel CPUs will drop the "i" from their names, switching to an AMD Ryzen-style, simply numbered tier system. There’ll also be a new Core Ultra sub-brand for their "most advanced" models, presumably including a fair few gaming CPUs, and the actual word "processor" will be dropped between the tier number and model number. So, say goodbye to the Core i5-13600K and, assuming that CPU gets a direct replacement, hello to the Core (Ultra) 5 processor 14600K. Hmm, yeah, I dunno. Bit unwieldy.

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No specific Meteor Lake processors have been announced yet, I want to stress, and the info I’ve received doesn’t cover what exactly separates a Core Ultra part from a regular Core – I’m still trying to get clarity on the latter. Nonetheless, the whole exercise has confirmed some of the 14th Gen’s long-rumoured specs, including the use of a new 7nm nanometer manufacturing process. Codenamed Intel 4, this design should be much more effective than the relatively old-fashioned 10nm process used by the 13th Gen Raptor Lake family, and could allow for higher clock speeds as a result.

The announcement also reaffirms the inclusion, on all Meteor Lake chips, of a dedicated AI engine: Intel AI Boost. This sounds like a renaming of the Vision Processing Units (VPUs) that Intel were showcasing at Taipei’s Computex conference in May; a select few Raptor Lake processors also had VPUs, but they’ll come as standard on Meteor Lake. While applications of AI can range from the useful to the stupid, Meteor Lake being better able to run AI models is probably a worthwhile upgrade, including for gaming. Unreal Engine, OBS, and xSplit are just a few of the apps that can currently take advantage of AI processing.

It already sounds like Meteor Lake is taking a lankier stride forward than Raptor Lake did. The 13th Gen gang weren’t bad CPUs at all, but they were also so similar to the equivalent 12th Gen Alder Lake parts that they never made a convincing value proposition. If Meteor Lake can translate its hardware upgrades into more significant performance improvements, it would be a welcome return to form.

Although, Intel: losing the i is fine but I don’t think I can bring myself to crowbar in a "processor" every time I write a product name. Apologies in advance.

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