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December 11, 2023

Intel Meteor Lake Supports 8K60P in Notebooks

Intel has re-configured the architecture of its Meteor Lake processors which have integrated Arc graphics and are intended for notebooks. The processors support a concept of ’tiles’ for different processing functions and they are:

  • IO Tile
  • Compute Tile
  • Graphics Tile
  • SOC Tile

This is a new approach for Intel with the four tiles, which are made separately, on a single substrate with new packaging. Intel calls the new configuration a ‘3D Hybrid Performance Architecture’ and the. chips have been named as ‘Intel Core Ultra’. 

The SoC tile includes new low power E-Cores that can operate without needing the CPU or GPU to be powered up and the firm has demonstrated that the low power cores can used to playback 1080P video. That means the potential for considerable power savings.

However the GPU has also been improved and can offer smooth playback of 8K60P video – a task that required workstation-class hardware with 10 cores just a few years ago. In this video, the firm demonstrated a high quality (120Mbps) HEVC stream running on Meteor Lake using the embedded GPU. The CPU has a new ‘Redwood Cove’ P-core (performance) and also includes E-cores (Efficiency) for processing in a limited power envelope.

The SOC tile has a significant area devoted to media processing as well as E-cores that sit within what Intel calls a ‘Low Power Island’ with processing that includes enough capacity to perform functions without the need to power up the CPU or GPU tiles.

The E-cores on the SOC and CPU tiles and the P cores on the CPU tile are the ‘3D aspect’ of the concept. Of course, the management of the cores is critical and Intel has a new Thread Director to  control the different processors and give information to the OS. The aim is to provide the maximum power available when needed, while optimizing the battery life.

The tile concept is not new, but Intel has adopted a ‘Foveros’ technology that uses a base die to connect the tiles. There is a new Network on Chip (NOC) fabric to connect the SOC to the CPU and GPU while a separate fabric connects for IO. Each is independent.   An advantage is that individual tiles can be developed, for example to boost the processing of AI on the SOC, without the need to change the CPU. Different processors can use different chip-making generations (process nodes). That makes the architecture very scalable and is intended to exploit Intel’s plan for ‘five nodes in four years’. The CPU is reported to be the first to be built by Intel on a 4nm process node. The fabric has also been designed to be scalable.

We expect Intel to announce the chips officially on 14th December, along with notebook makers who will release new systems including the chips. Acer previewed a new Swift notebook at Intel’s event in September. 

New systems from Asus and Xiaomi have also been rumored.

Some analysts have pointed out that the new chip is a change to Intel’s long standing ‘tick tock’ launch timing when it would announe a new architecture in one year, followed by a new process the next, making gains over two years. This time, the new Intel 4 process, which uses extreme UV technology, is being itnroduced at the same time as an architecture change.

Intel is a member of the 8K Assocition, but this article was prepared independently from public sources.

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