TechIntel’s lunar lake processors promise AI boosts and power efficiency

Intel’s lunar lake processors promise AI boosts and power efficiency

Images source: © Unsplash

5:46 PM EDT, May 20, 2024

Intel announces Core Ultra 200 (Lunar Lake) processors, which will be available in upcoming laptops. Although the release is still some time away, we already know what to expect.

The Intel Core Ultra 100 (Meteor Lake) processors were advertised as groundbreaking but did not meet expectations. They failed to significantly increase performance and often underperformed compared to the competition. Their only notable feature was a dedicated NPU accelerator supporting artificial intelligence tasks.

However, Intel is not giving up quickly and is already working on the next generation of mobile processors. The new Intel Core Ultra 200 models are set to appear in the third quarter of this year, and the manufacturer has already revealed the first details.

New Intel processor design

Intel Lunar Lake processors will feature an entirely new design. The company will implement a chiplet configuration (separate silicon cores) produced using various lithographic processes. Previous information pointed to Intel 18A lithography and technology provided by an external foundry.

Construction of the Intel Lunar Lake processor
Construction of the Intel Lunar Lake processor© Press materials

The processors will still employ a hybrid architecture combining two types of cores: new P-Core cores based on the Lion Cove architecture and E-Core cores based on the Skymont architecture. The manufacturer boasts improved IPC (instructions executed per clock cycle) and energy efficiency, but details have not yet been disclosed.

The new integrated graphics based on the Xe2 (Battlemage) architecture will be an additional advantage. This graphics solution will be equipped with Intel XMX (Xe Matrix Extensions) hardware units supporting artificial intelligence tasks.

Intel Lunar Lake with a new graphics system
Intel Lunar Lake with a new graphics system© Press materials
© Press materials

The manufacturer particularly highlights the capabilities of the new processors in applications related to artificial intelligence. The Lunar Lake processors are expected to deliver performance at 100 TOPS. Specifically, the NPU unit is expected to perform 45 TOPS (three times higher than in the Meteor Lake models), while the graphics will add another 60 TOPS.

what do we know about the performance of Intel Lunar Lake processors?

We will have to wait for detailed performance tests, but the manufacturer has given us a glimpse by comparing the capabilities of the new processors to competing models.

Intel Lunar Lake against the competition
Intel Lunar Lake against the competition© Press materials

The new processors are expected to offer better core performance than AMD Ryzen 7 8840U and Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite models. The exact margin of improvement remains unclear. Additionally, the graphics are expected to be 1.5 times more efficient than in previous models, although how they will compare to the competition is unknown.

The new units also promise significant improvements in energy efficiency. For example, the manufacturer claims that a laptop with a Lunar Lake processor during a conference on Microsoft Teams will use 30% less energy than a laptop with a competing AMD Ryzen 7 7840U processor and 20% less than a laptop with a Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 processor. However, we are still waiting for the release of notebooks with Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite processors.

What will the reality be like? We will find out in the third quarter of 2024 when the first laptops with Intel Lunar Lake processors hit the market, and we will be able to assess the final product.

In the next quarter, we will also see the release of Intel Arrow Lake processors for desktop computers.

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