The first laptops powered by Intel’s 14th-gen processors based on Meteor Lake architecture arrive today. And they represent a number of firsts for Intel’s consumer chips.

Meteor Lake processors are the first to feature Intel’s new “Core Ultra” branding. They’re the first to be manufactured on the new Intel 4 process. They’re also the first to feature an integrated neural processing unit (NPU) for hardware-accelerated AI features. Some models are the first to include Intel Arc integrated graphics. And all of the new chips are among Intel’s first hybrid processors to feature three different clusters of CPU cores instead of two.

Intel is announcing 8 Meteor Lake processors at launch, including 4 H-series chips that will be available starting today, and 4 U-series chips that should arrive early in 2024.

The U-series processors are all 12-core, 14-thread processors featuring 2 “Redwood” Performance cores, 8 “Crestmont” Efficiency cores, and 2 Low-Power Efficiency cores that are designed to handle basic functions while keeping power consumption low and extending battery life. These chips have a 15 watt processor base power setting, but can use up to 57 watts for brief periods.

According to Intel, the new Redwood Cove Performance cores bring more bandwidth per core and efficiency improvements for “dramatic performance” improvements, while the Crestmont Efficiency cores also get a performance boost with higher instructions per clock.

Intel’s new H-series chips also all have 8 Efficiency cores and 2 Low-Power Efficiency cores, but the H-Series processors feature either 4 or 6 Performance cores. These chips can all be configured as 28W – 64W chips or 32W – 115W processors.

In other words, Intel is retiring P-series brand and folding it into the H series, while offering PC makers the ability to configure the chips for thin, light, and energy-efficient computers or for gaming or mobile workstation-class computers.

While Intel is promising modest gains in CPU performance over its 13th-gen chips, the company says users can expect bigger gains in efficiency. For example, a new Core 7 Ultra 165H processor should offer up to 8% better CPU performance than a Core i7-1370P chip, but Intel says the new chip also brings up to a 25% reduction in power consumption.

But the bigger performance boost will come in the areas of graphics and AI.

Meteor Lake-H chips all feature Intel ARC integrated graphics with either 7 or 8 Intel Xe-LPG cores for up to twice the performance (and performance per watt) of the Iris Xe graphics in 13th-gen chips based on Raptor Lake architecture.

Graphics features include support for up to four 4K displays, hardware-accelerated decoding and encoding of AV1, H.265, H.264, and VP9 and up to 8K, 10-bit HDR, DirectX 12 Ultimate, and Intel Xe Super Sampling for AI-based upscaling.

U-series chips won’t get quite the same graphics boost. Since they feature only 4 Xe-LPG GPU cores, Intel isn’t putting them under the Intel Arc brand at all.

But all of the company’s Meteor Lake processors feature an NPU featuring two Intel Gen 3 neural compute engines. It’s designed to work in conjunction with the CPU and GPU, and Intel says its “AI Boost” technology allows the Core Ultra 7 165H processor to deliver up to 34 TOPS of AI performance (although less than a third of that is provided by the NPU alone).

Among other things, Intel says the AI features can be applied to image generation, Windows Studio effects for video calls (like background blur or eye tracking), separating vocals from music to create your own karaoke songs, and a variety of audio and video editing tools that let you do things like adjust lighting effects in photos.

Core Ultra 7 165HCore Ultra 7 155HCore Ultra 5 135HCore Ultra 5 125HCore Ultra 7 165UCore Ultra 7 155UCore Ultra 5 135UCore Ultra 5 125U
CPU Cores16 (6 + 8 + 2)16 (6 + 8 + 2)14 (4 + 8 + 2)14 (4 + 8 + 2)12 (2 + 8 + 2)12 (2 + 8 + 2)12 (2 + 8 + 2)12 (2 + 8 + 2)
CPU Threads2222181814141414
Intel Smart Cache24 MB24 MB18 MB18 MB12 MB12 MB12 MB12 MB
P-core max turbo5 GHz4.8 GHz4.6 GHz4.5 GHz4.9 GHz4.8 GHz4.4 GHz4.3 GHz
E-core max turbo3.8 GHz3.8 GHz3.6 GHz3.6 GHz3.8 GHz3.8 GHz3.6 GHz3.6 GHz
GraphicsIntel Arc
8 Xe cores
Up to 2.3 GHz
Intel Arc
8 Xe cores
Up to 2.25 GHz
Intel Arc
7 Xe cores
Up to 2.2 GHz
Intel Arc
7 Xe cores
Up to 2.2GHz
Intel graphics
4 Xe cores
Up to 2 GHz
Intel graphics
4 Xe cores
Up to 1.95 GHz
Intel graphics
4 Xe cores
Up to 1.9 GHz
Intel graphics
4 Xe cores
Up to 1.85 GHz
NPUIntel AI Boost
2 x Intel Gen 3 Neural Compute Engines
PCIe lanes1 x PCIe Gen 5 x8
3 x PCIe Gen 4 x4
8 x PCIe Gen 4 x1, x2, x4 configurable
3 x PCIe Gen 4 x4
8 x PCIe Gen 4 x1, x2, x4 configurable
Max memory speedDDR5-5600
LPDDR5/x-7467
Max memory capacity64GB (LPDDR5) / 96GB (DDR5)
Processor Base Power28 / 32 watts15 watts
Processor Max Turbo power64 watts / 115 watts57 watts

Intel also plans to launch at least three more Meteor Lake processors in 2024… and they make the company’s new naming scheme even more confusing.

The upcoming Intel Core Ultra 9 185H is a 16-core, 22-thread chip like other members of the H series. And with CPU and GPU speeds up to 5.1 GHz and 2.3 GHz, respectively, you might be wondering what makes this processor different from the Core Ultra 7 165H.

It’s the power usage. The first Intel Ultra 9-branded processor will have a PL1 limit of 45 watts, while it will be able hit 115 of max turbo power.

On the other end of the spectrum, the upcoming Intel Core Ultra 5 134U and Intel Core Ultra 7 164U have similar core counts and frequencies to the Core Ultra 5 125U and Core Ultra 7 165U. But these are low-power variants, designed to run at 9W to 30W instead of 15W to 57W.

Other Meteor Lake features include support for technologies including:

  • Thunderbolt 4
  • WiFi 7 or WiFi 6E
  • Bluetooth 5.4 or Bluetooth 5.3
  • HDMI 2.1
  • DisplayPort 2.1

But it will be up to PC makers to decide whether to include the hardware necessary to take advantage of all of those features.

Intel is also updating its Intel Evo platform, which is basically an initiative to certify that Evo-branded laptops from PC makers meet a minimum set of performance metrics set by Intel.

For models with 14th-gen chips, Intel’s Evo requirements include:

  • At least 10 hours of real-world battery life for models with FHD displays
  • Fast booting and resumption from sleep (in as little as 1.5 seconds)
  • Fast charging, with up to 4 hours of battery life from a 30 minute charge
  • WiFi 6E or better
  • Support for Windows Studio Effects

There’s also a new “Cool Quieter Performance” metric that basically involves monitoring the surface temperature and noise generated  by a laptop during a common workload. Intel says right now it’s making measurements, but hasn’t really set a limit. What Intel is seeing, though, is that the Meteor Lake laptops it’s testing for Evo certification typically have surface temperatures under 41 degrees Celsius and noise levels below 19 dB during extended video calling sessions.

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  1. I’ll bet you 10 to 1 that all Intel did was just include AVX512 acceleration in their consumer line of chips, which was previously reserved only for their Xeons.

  2. Two high performance cores for laptops? Is this corporate shrink-flation? Corporations don’t want to spend more so Intel gives them less (smaller die)?

    1. That’s the same number of Performance cores you get with 12th or 13th-gen U-series chips like the Core i7-1255U or Core i7-1355U, which are both 10-core, 12-thread processors.

      So when you factor in the new Low-Power Efficiency cores, Meteor Lake-U actually has more cores (12 cores, 14 threads).

      1. Wow, I have been using Ryzen laptops and 4×4 for the last couple of years and expected that Intel would at least have 4 performance cores in some mobile products. Even Apple’s M1, M2 and M3 have 4 performance cores.

          1. I was going to say things were so much easier when there was just a choice of the 486/33 or 486/100 (and similar AMD), but then I looked it up and Intel made versions of that chip I have never heard of (or at least don’t recall).