Intel’s Meteor Lake, Its First PC Chips With TSMC Tech, Launch This Year
In its Q1 2023 earnings, Intel announced that it is ramping up production wafers for its Meteor Lake processors for launch later this year. These chips will be partially fab on the “Intel 4” process node. This is a significant milestone the company is working to deliver his five nodes in four years. CEO Pat Gelsiner’s reiterated goals are still on track. According to Intel, two of these five nodes of his are nearly complete.
Notably, the Meteor Lake processor is Intel’s first desktop PC chip to also use components manufactured at TSMC’s process node. Intel announced this drastic step two years before him, grappling with the reality that its process node technology was lagging behind his TSMC. For what it’s worth, the company announced in 2021 that these chips would arrive in 2023, apparently still on schedule for their launch. Use this blended chip approach.
Intel also said that Arrow Lake and Lunar Lake products are expected to launch in 2024. Intel will use 3D Foveros packaging technology as the basis for its consumer market Meteor Lake, Arrow Lake, and Lunar Lake processors. This technology allows Intel to vertically stack chiplets on top of his single integrated base die with the Foveros interconnect. Learn more about this technology here.
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Meteor Lake is not only the first chip to feature an Intel 4 process node, it is also an EUV capable node, a significant step for Intel and the first Intel desktop PC chip to use the process. Node technology from TSMC.
As you can see in the table below, Meteor Lake’s new design uses multiple different process nodes in the same chip package. In this case 3 tiles (similar to chiplets) use his TSMC process node (GPU, SOC and IOE tiles).
This approach has a cost advantage as larger older TSMC nodes can be used for less performance sensitive functions. By offloading these functions from the CPU tile, we increase the yield of this critical component and also improve the cost. This also gives Intel the flexibility to swap out new tiles to create faster next-gen chips, like Arrow Lake’s CPU tiles that use the 20A process node. More information on the Intel 4 process can be found here.
Currently, all indications are that Meteor Lake desktop PC chips will be limited to relatively low-end Core i3 and Core i5 models rated at conservative 35W and 65W power envelopes. Intel has yet to make an official announcement.
|Intel Meteor Lake tiles/chiplets||manufacturer/node|
|CPU tile||Intel / “Intel 4”|
|Phoberos Base Die 3D model||Intel/22FFL (Intel 16)|
|GPU Tile (tGPU)||TSMC / N5 (5nm)|
|SoC tiles||TSMC / N6 (6nm)|
|IOE Tile||TSMC / N6 (6nm)|
Intel also made a minor update to its data center roadmap announced last month, reiterating that its Sierra Forest chips will launch in the first half of 2024. Sierra Forest, its first-generation efficiency Xeon, will be equipped with an incredible 144 cores. Hence, it offers better core density than AMD’s competing 128-core EPYC Bergamo chips. Granite Rapids will soon follow.
|row 0 – cell 0||2023||2024||2025|
|Intel P Core||Emerald Rapids – Inter 7 | Sapphire Rapids HBM||Granite Torrent – Intel 3||row 1 – cell 3|
|AMD P-core||5nm Jenova-X||Turin – Zen 5||—|
|Intel E Core||—||FIRST HALF – SIERRA FOREST – INTER 3||Clearwater Forest – Intel 18A|
|AMD E-core||1H – Bergamo – 5nm – 128 cores||—||—|