Intel finally unveils Lunar Lake — here’s why Qualcomm should be scared

MSI Computex 2024
(Image credit: MSI)

Lunar Lake has finally landed. The successor to Intel's Meteor Lake range of chips, this is the new flagship SoC (System on a Chip) set to power a whole range of next-gen AI PCs and AI laptops going forward.

While we’ve known about its existence for a while, this week’s Computex 2024 event is the place Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger officially unveiled Lunar Lake chips. The latest silicon represents a major upgrade over Meteor Lake, which I’ll get to shortly. In the here and now, I can tell you these new chips will feature in over 80+ machines spanning 20 different OEMs that are currently set to launch before the year’s end. 

Lunar Lake’s x86 architecture and massive bump in TOPs (Trillion Operations Per Second) compared to last year’s Meteor range looks like a true generational leap. Part of the reason Intel’s previous processor couldn't quite cut the AI mustard in the computing space is that early units had a mere 11.5 TOPS, which is well short of the minimum 40 TOPs count Microsoft has set for Copilot+ PCs. Thankfully, Lunar Lake offers up to 48 TOPs, which could equate to as much as 4 times the performance over Meteor thanks to Lunar tripling the amount of NPU hardware. 

And when it comes to Lunar Lake graphics, its integrated Xe2 GPU looks like it will blow Meteor out of the water, with a 1.5x uptick in performance that is largely driven by an eye-rubbing 67 TOPS. 

Lunar landing

Intel Lunar Lake chip on a blue background.

(Image credit: Intel)

In terms of more specific GPU features that should make game enthusiasts excited for Lunar, we're excited about the presence of 8 enhanced ray tracing units and enhanced XeSS kernels — Intel’s take on Nvidia’s DLSS Super Sampling. In real-world gaming terms this should allow you to play the likes of the graphically intensive Cyberpunk 2077 on compatible AI machines at high frame rates without need to turn demanding RT features off.

Other Lunar Lake notes worth highlighting that came out of Intel’s Computex briefing? Both Bluetooth and WI-FI 7 are included in the chip, Intel claims Lunar Lake laptops will take 55% less time to wake in wireless mode, while the design of this chip’s onboard memory means it’s almost inevitable compatible motherboards are going to decrease in size going forward.

Lunar Lake is clearly a hugely exciting, potentially game-changing piece of silicon, and as previously mentioned, 80 different AI laptops from 20 major manufacturers should ship before 2024 is out. 

The one major player skipping the Lunar Lake party for the time being? That would be Microsoft, with the iconic Redmond-based giant instead opting for Qualcomm processors in its future Surface laptops.

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Dave Meikleham
UK Computing Editor

Dave is a computing editor at Tom’s Guide and covers everything from cutting edge laptops to ultrawide monitors. When he’s not worrying about dead pixels, Dave enjoys regularly rebuilding his PC for absolutely no reason at all. In a previous life, he worked as a video game journalist for 15 years, with bylines across GamesRadar+, PC Gamer and TechRadar. Despite owning a graphics card that costs roughly the same as your average used car, he still enjoys gaming on the go and is regularly glued to his Switch. Away from tech, most of Dave’s time is taken up by walking his husky, buying new TVs at an embarrassing rate and obsessing over his beloved Arsenal.