Intel announced a major expansion of its 14th generation Core processors, code named Raptor Lake, at CES 2023. The new chips bring higher clock speeds, more cores, and improved performance to laptops, desktops, and low-power mobile devices.
New Flagship Mobile Chips Target Gamers and Creators
The headline announcement was the launch of the HX series, Intel’s new flagship chips for high-end gaming laptops and mobile workstations. The HX processors can reach up to 24 cores and speeds of 5.8 GHz, providing what Intel claims is the world’s fastest laptop performance.
Key specs of the Core i9-13950HX:
- 24 cores / 32 threads
- Up to 5.8 GHz turbo speed
- 68MB L3 cache
- Support for up to 128GB DDR5 RAM
Intel says the 24-core i9-13950HX offers over 30% better multithreaded performance than last year’s flagship i9-12950HX. Combined with optimizations for games and creative apps, this makes the new HX series ideal for immersive AAA gaming, video editing, 3D modeling, and programming.
The HX chips also introduce support for cutting-edge I/O connections like Thunderbolt 5 and Wi-Fi 6E. Thunderbolt 5 doubles the bandwidth for external storage and displays compared to Thunderbolt 4, while Wi-Fi 6E offers lower latency and reduced interference with its 6GHz radio band.
More Entry-Level Options for Thin and Light Laptops
In addition to the high-end HX series, Intel announced more affordable 15W U-series and 9W chips for mainstream laptops. Known as the Core Series 1, these processors bring Raptor Lake performance to thin, fanless ultraportables.
The Core i7-1560U, for example, gains an extra two Performance-cores for 10 cores total. With clock speeds reaching 5.2 GHz, it should deliver a nice uptick in both single and multi-threaded tasks. There are also Core i5 and i3 members for more budget-focused devices.
By boosting performance while retaining a low 15W or 9W ceiling, these chips allow OEMs more flexibility when designing thin and light systems. More headroom for the CPU leaves room for a discrete GPU, higher resolution display, or larger battery.
Desktop Lineup Now Extends to 65W and 35W Offerings
On the desktop side, Intel revealed over a dozen new 65W, 35W, and sub-10W models spanning from Core i9 to Pentium Gold. This represents the biggest Raptor Lake desktop launch to date.
Previously, Intel had only released premium K-series chips focused on overclocking enthusiasts. The new lineup includes more attainable options like the Core i5-13600, which gains an extra two Efficient-cores over its Alder Lake equivalent. There are also 35W processors designed for compact, power-efficient machines.
Here is a comparison of Intel’s old and new 65W desktop processors:
With double-digit percentage gen-on-gen gains reported in Intel’s benchmarks, these new 65W and 35W models help deliver enhanced Raptor Lake performance to the vital mid-range desktop market.
Analysis: Intel Responds to AMD Competition, Xeon Roadmap
The expanded Raptor lake lineup sees Intel firing on all fronts to compete with a resurgent AMD. While Intel still holds the gaming crown for now, AMD’s Ryzen 7000 and upcoming 3D V-Cache chips threaten Intel’s dominance in desktops. The wide range of updated Raptor Lake products makes sure Intel has improved options across mobile, desktop, budget, and high-end segments.
There are also clues about Intel’s Xeon server roadmap in the high core count mobile HX parts. The fact Intel can deliver 24 big cores in a laptop CPU is a strong signal for next-gen Xeon Sapphire Rapids chips destined for data centers. Those will likely scale up to 56 or more cores based on Intel’s 7nm manufacturing technology.
By launching its most advanced architecture on mobile first, Intel may be optimizing yields and volumes ahead of those essential Xeon launches. Those server chips have much bigger margins and are strategically vital for Intel to keep AMD’s EPYC data center momentum in check.
Outlook: Hybrid CPUs Come to Desktop, More Refreshes Ahead
With Hybrid CPUs now spanning 9W ultraportables up to 125W desktops, Intel’s big little approach is becoming ubiquitous across all PC segments. These combinations of Performance and Efficient cores show real-world benefits, dynamically adapting to workloads in ways monolithic designs can’t match.
The expanded Raptor Lake lineup also continues Intel’s tick-tock like cadence, keeping silicon improvements rolling while engineers work towards next-gen Meteor Lake. That chip will utilize tiled packaging to mix CPU, GPU, and AI accelerators from Intel 4, Intel 18A, and TSMC N3 processes.
Until then, further 14th Gen Core refreshes into 2024 look likely. The fact Raptor Lake can still hit 5.8 GHz on refined 10nm implies extra frequency headroom remains. So we may eventually see speeds nudging 6GHz, especially if AMD’s own refresh rumors materialize. The CPU wars continue to run hot in 2023, and both Intel and AMD are keeping the pedal pressed firmly to the metal.
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