Intel 'Meteor Lake' chips will use AI to manage power consumption, brings efficiency and performance gains
Although Intel is not expected to officially unveil its ‘Meteor Lake’ 14th gen Core processors later this year, company execs revealed at Hot Chips 2023 that AI will play a major role in how the chips perform. Like all chip makers, Intel has been constantly chasing improvements in performance-per-watt as this means users can enjoy increased performance while still also enjoying decent efficiency. This is particularly important for mobile devices like laptops which rely on battery power – this is a key reason Apple abandoned Intel chips in its lineup for its own Arm-based Apple silicon.
Intel’s CEO Pat Gelsinger has previously made it clear that he wants to win back Apple’s business by making better chips. While that might be unlikely for the foreseeable future, it is great news for PC laptop fans as it is driving the innovation we have seen in Intel’s Lakefield, Alder Lake, and most recently its Raptor Lake 13th generation designs, and will soon see in Meteor Lake. All of these designs have featured increasingly sophisticated implementations of an architectural approach that features a mix of P-cores (performance) and E-cores (efficiency). If it seems familiar, it is because it is not too far removed from Arm’s big.LITTLE philosophy.
With the P-cores doing the heavy lifting for demanding tasks, but drawing more power, and the E-cores used for less demanding tasks while saving power, the holy grail of high-performance Windows laptops that still deliver good battery life is getting closer all the time. (Of course desktop PC users can still enjoy plenty of benefits from Intel’s latest chips too with lower heat emissions and lower power bills too). Intel aims to take these gains a step further with Meteor Lake, but by employing AI and machine learning algorithms to improve performance further while also improving battery life at the same time.
While Intel’s current chip designs can intelligently transition between high-performance and low-power states, it is not always clear to the system when is the best time to power down to a low-power state. Intel has revealed that the new AI-powered algorithm it is running in its next-generation chips will learn from the way a device is used and, as a result, will deliver an even more optimized implementation of its Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Scaling (DVFS) model. This will enable Meteor Lake devices to be 35 percent more responsive when shifting from a low-power state to a high-power state and vice versa, delivering up to 15 percent greater efficiency.
Intel’s Meteor Lake chips are also the first chips from the company to integrate a dedicated AI engine which it is calling a neural VPU. This dedicated AI engine is integrated into the SoC to efficiently accelerate AI algorithms, not only for its new system architecture dynamic power management, but other AI-powered software features. This including the ChatGPT-powered AI features Microsoft is busily building into its latest software and operating systems along with software from Adobe and others than can benefit from a dedicated onboard neural processor.
It certainly whets the appetite for the official launch of Intel’s Meteor Lake 14th generation chips, which could be unveiled as soon as Intel’s upcoming Innovation Conference in San Jose on September 19.