Meteor Lake Boosts Graphics

Author: Bryon Moyer

Meteor Lake Boosts Graphics

Intel’s Meteor Lake platform, branded Core Ultra, debuts two new CPUs, but they appear to be largely identical to older ones, and performance for some models trails that of older units. Graphics, by contrast, receive a big performance upgrade.

The Redwood Cove CPU replaces the older Golden Cove performance core (P-core), and the new Crestmont CPU replaces Gracemont as the efficiency core (E-core). Both implement low-level improvements over their forebears, but the high-level microarchitectures remain unchanged.

Meteor Lake is also the first processor with the Arc GPU (originally codenamed Alchemist) as integrated graphics. Performance gets a big boost compared with the Iris Xe GPU on prior generations. Performance data is limited, but the various tasks associated with graphics processing increased by almost 3×.

Meteor Lake brings together four chiplets within its package, each of which can employ a different process node. Most CPUs share a chiplet, but two new low-power versions occupy a different chiplet for improved power management. Media and display move off the higher-power graphics chiplet, allowing the latter to shut down and save power more often. This more-complex packaging adds cost to the product, however.

Unfortunately, Redwood Cove lags the prior generation in performance with an apparent slight degradation in instructions-per-cycle (IPC). Crestmont performance does get a nominal boost, however. Only graphics see a dramatic performance increase. Battery life rises on the basis of sleep management and careful placement of engines on the different chiplets, allowing the higher-power ones to sleep more often while ongoing functions execute on lower-power chiplets.

For graphics-oriented laptops, Meteor Lake provides a sizeable improvement over the prior generation. For users desiring faster computation, hopes may need to move to the Arrow Lake generation due out at the end of the year.

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