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Intel CPU Roadmap 2024: Lunar Lake & Arrow Lake Pave the Way

Intel is gearing up to launch its next-gen AI processors, Arrow and Lunar Lake this fall. Boasting thrice the AI performance as Meteor Lake, Lunar Lake aims to solidify Intel’s place as the best mobility PC chipmaker. Arrow Lake will do something similar in the desktop space with some caveats. With hyper-threading gone, the multi-core crown will likely pass onto AMD’s Ryzen 9000 processors, but the single-core and gaming segments will be hotly contested.

Initially, we expected Arrow and Lunar Lake to leverage the Intel 20A and 18A process nodes for their CPU tiles, respectively. Boasting next-gen GAA transistors (RibbonFET) and backside power delivery (PowerVia), these would make a strong statement to the competition and doubters alike. However, neither will allegedly make notable use of the Intel nodes, instead relying on TSMC’s 3nm (N3B) process.

Intel CPU Roadmap 2024: Arrow Lake and Lunar Lake

Intel is scheduled to ship its Lunar Lake processors next quarter, with production wafers already running in labs. These chips will power the next generation of AI PCs, with an upgraded CPU, GPU, and NPU on a 3nm-class node (at least for the compute tile).

Lunar Lake (Core Ultra 200V) will feature the Lion Cove P-core and the Skymont E-core architectures. The LPE cores on the SoC tile will either leverage Crestmont or Skymont. On the GPU side, we’re looking at the first incarnation of the Battlemage graphics architecture (Xe2) and an NPU delivering 45 TOPs of AI throughput on its own (100 TOPs+ for the entire SoC).

Specifically targeting high-end notebooks and convertibles, Lunar Lake will be marketed as an always-on PC SoC, with soldered, 3D stacked DRAM modules alongside the CPU and SoC tiles. This saves board space but limits upgradability and repair options. Notebooks featuring Lunar Lake are expected around the holiday season in Q4 2024.

Arrow Lake-S (Core Ultra 200) processors are expected to launch alongside Lunar Lake in the fourth quarter. They’ll be Intel’s first chiplet-based desktop processors, consisting of a CPU, iGPU, I/O, and SoC tiles. The CPU tiles will be fabbed on the Intel 20A and TSMC N3B node, while the iGPU tile be produced using the N3 or N4 process.

Like Lunar Lake, Arrow Lake will feature the Lion Cove and Skymont core architecture. The iGPU will be based on the Xe-LPG architecture, offering modest performance improvements over Meteor Lake. It’ll also feature an NPU block, likely faster than Meteor Lake but slower than Lunar Lake. Arrow Lake will be Intel’s first client processor to drop hyper-threading (in a very long time).

Intel CPU Roadmap 2025-26: Panther Lake and Nova Lake

Panther Lake processors will be fabricated on the Intel 18A node. Like Meteor Lake, it’ll be a mobile-centric design powered by “Cougar Cove” P cores and “Darkmont” E cores. It’ll leverage a new die layout with up to 12 cores, including 4P, 8E, and 4LPE. Panther Lake is expected to land at the end of 2025.

Nova Lake will be Arrow Lake’s true successor with up to 40 cores (16P + 32E). It’ll be fabbed on the Intel 14A node and adopt P-cores capable of leveraging Rentable Units and Arctic Wolf E-cores. These CPUs are expected to feature high-cache variants akin to AMD’s 3D V-Cache chips. A late 2026 launch is planned for Nova Lake.

There will likely be an Arrow Lake-S Refresh before Nova Lake with increasing core counts (and cache?), but the same architecture. It will allegedly feature up to 40 cores (16P + 32E) at the top of the stack with increased core clocks and competitive pricing.

Sources: Intel, Moore’s Law is Dead.

Areej Syed

Processors, PC gaming, and the past. I have written about computer hardware for over seven years with over 5000 published articles. I started during engineering college and haven't stopped since. On the side, I play RPGs like Baldur's Gate, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Divinity, and Fallout. Contact: areejs12@hardwaretimes.com.
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