Intel Core Ultra Accelerates AI

Accelerated AI is a key feature of Intel’s forthcoming Core Ultra (Meteor Lake) processors.
Joseph Byrne
Joseph Byrne

Intel has coined the term AI PC to describe the forthcoming PC-design generation integrating AI accelerators. Code-named Meteor Lake and to be branded Intel Core Ultra, the company’s first PC processor with such functionality is due to launch in December and incorporates an inference engine based on technology Intel obtained through its Movidius acquisition. Intel expects the accelerator to be 8x more power efficient at AI tasks than Meteor’s CPUs alone.

First disclosed in 2022, Meteor is a chiplet-based processor comprising separate die for the main CPUs, the GPU, I/O, and other SoC functions, including the AI accelerator. This approach enables the company to employ different process technologies for each die, choosing the process with the best transistor characteristics, yield, and other qualities for a given function.

Meteor is Intel’s first product to be fabricated in the Intel 4 process, which the company will employ for the compute die. Although Intel hasn’t yet disclosed specific Meteor models, it states that all will have the same AI acceleration to speed up the technology’s adoption. Contrary to earlier plans, Meteor targets only laptops; Intel is refreshing Raptor Lake for desktop PCs.

Meteor is the second x86 PC processor to incorporate a high-performance AI engine like Apple’s PC processors do. Earlier this year AMD released the Ryzen 7040 laptop processor integrating its XDNA inference engine. Intel has been investing heavily in AI software and plans to launch Meteor with support for Windows ML, DirectML, and Intel’s own OpenVino inference engine, which should speed up AI adoption in PC applications.

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