Intel: Meteor Lake Chiplet SoC up and running

In addition to Intel’s general earnings report yesterday, the company also provided brief information on the state of one of their most important upcoming products, Meteor Lake. Intel’s first chiplet / tile-based SoC, which completed initial development last year, has now completed power-on tests and more. The news is not unexpected, but for Intel, it still marks a remarkable milestone and is an important proof that both Meteor Lake and the Intel 4 process remain on track.

Meteor Lake, which is supposed to be the foundation of Intel’s 14th generation Core processors in 2023, is an important chip for the company at several levels. In terms of design, it’s the first chiplet-based (or as Intel likes to say, “disaggregated”) mass-market client SoC from the company. Intel’s roadmap for the Core lineup has the company using chiplet-style SoCs on a permanent basis in the future, so Meteor Lake is very important to Intel’s design and architecture teams, as it will be their first crack at client chipsets – and proof that if they can successfully do it.

Meanwhile, Meteor Lake is also the first client part to be built on the Intel 4 process, formerly known as Intel’s 7nm process. Intel 4 will mark Intel’s long-awaited (and delayed) transition to using EUV in patterns, making it one of the most significant changes to Intel’s fab technology since the company added FinFETs a decade ago. Given Intel’s amazing problems over the last few years, the company is understandably eager to show any evidence that its amazing development cycle is back on track and that they will reach their previously stated production milestones.

As for this week’s launch announcement, this is in line with Intel’s previous expectations. At the company’s investor meeting in 2022 back in February, Intel indicated in the client roadmap presentation that they were aiming for a Q2’22 power-on.

In fact, it seems that Intel has exceeded their own goals a bit. While the recently appointed EVP and GM for Intel’s Client Computing Group in a tweet posted today by Michelle Johnston Holthaus announced that Meteor Lake had been turned on, comments from CEO Pat Gelsinger indicate that Meteor Lake is doing even better than that. According to Gelsinger’s comments on yesterday’s earnings call, Meteor Lake has also been able to launch Windows, Chrome and Linux. So even though there are many months of missions left, it looks like Meteor Lake’s development is progressing.

But it will be a story for 2023. Intel will only get Raptor Lake out the door later this year. The Alder Lake successor is built on the same Intel 7 process as the Alder Lake itself and will feature an enhanced version of the Alder Lake architecture.