Intel 14th gen Meteor Lake: Release date, AI features, laptops and more

Intel Meteor Lake unveil moment from the Intel AI Everywhere livestream
(Image credit: Intel)

Update: If you're interested in the "AI laptop" future everyone's talking about, check out our Intel Meteor Lake event recap for hands-on impressions plus a full rundown of all the major news about Intel's new AI-focused Meteor Lake chips and the laptops they'll power in 2024. Plus, don't miss our Acer Swift Go 14 Meteor Lake hands-on: The AI laptop has arrived!

Intel gave us a sneak peek at its upcoming 14th Gen Meteor Lake CPUs to the world at Computex 2023 in Taiwan, and as you might expect, generative AI like ChatGPT is the buzzword everyone's talking about.

These new 4-nanometer Meteor Lake chips are smaller and more capable than predecessors like the 7-nanometer Raptor Lake 13th Gen CPUs Intel launched late in 2022. They also have a new component, called a NPU (Neural Processing Unit), which Intel claims helps Meteor Lake chips excel at AI workloads. 

Intel is betting this all-new CPU/NPU/GPU design will help its 14th Gen Meteor Lake CPUs stand out from the pack by delivering top-tier performance and power efficiency in some of the best laptops on the market. More importantly, it's taking a big swing at relevancy by hyping up Meteor Lake's capacity to chew through AI workloads by offloading them to the NPU, freeing up the rest of the chip for improved performance.

It's an ambitious, complicated pitch, one we won't be able to verify until we start testing Meteor Lake laptops for ourselves. But until that day arrives, here's what we know so far about Intel's new 14th Gen Meteor Lake CPUs, how they work and what they portend for the future of computing.

Intel Meteor Lake: Release date & price speculation

The first Intel Meteor Lake laptops debuted on December 14, with more to follow. New Meteor Lake laptops from Samsung, HP and more could arrive the same week, with even more debuting at CES 2024 in January.

While those chips will be priced at whatever it costs to buy the laptop, it's also possible we may see Meteor Lake desktop CPUs roll out at some point afterwards. If that comes to pass, it's hard to guess what they might cost apiece. But with pricing for Intel's cutting-edge desktop CPUs typically stretching between $300-$600 (for the entry-level and top-tier CPUs, respectively), it's likely these newer, smaller Meteor Lake chips won't be cheap.

Intel Meteor Lake: Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Meteor Lake Intel Core Ultra chips
Header Cell - Column 0 CPU coresGPU Xe coresNeural Compute engines
Intel Core Ultra 5 125U12 (2 performance, 8 efficiency)42x Gen3
Intel Core Ultra 5 134U (coming 2024)12 (2 performance, 8 efficiency)42x Gen3
Intel Core Ultra 5 135U12 (2 performance, 8 efficiency)42x Gen3
Intel Core Ultra 7 155U12 (2 performance, 8 efficiency)42x Gen3
Intel Core Ultra 7 164U (coming 202412 (2 performance, 8 efficiency)42x Gen3
Intel Core Ultra 7 165U12 (2 performance, 8 efficiency)42x Gen3
Intel Core Ultra 5 125H14 (4 performance, 8 efficiency)72x Gen3
Intel Core Ultra 5 135H14 (4 performance, 8 efficiency)72x Gen3
Intel Core Ultra 7 155H16 (6 performance, 8 efficiency)82x Gen3
Intel Core Ultra 7 165H16 (6 performance, 8 efficiency)82x Gen3
Intel Core Ultra 9 185H (coming 2024)16 (6 performance, 8 efficiency)82x Gen3

Intel Meteor Lake: New features

New NPU for AI workloads

Everyone's talking about AI these days, and Intel is hopping on the bandwagon with Meteor Lake and its new NPU. In a press presentation attended by Tom's Guide, Intel representatives claimed that the amount of compute power required to do things like dynamic noise suppression in video calls has increased significantly in recent years. 

Intel claims PC users should expect more and more AI workloads to be done locally on your PC, rather than online by remote servers. This makes sense when you consider that in addition to the current CPU demands of machine learning tricks like blurring your background on video calls, Microsoft's new Windows Copilot adds a ChatGPT-like assistant to Windows 11, and Intel is betting we'll see lots more similar apps showing up on our PCs in the years ahead.

This is where the NPU comes in. New to Meteor Lake CPUs, Intel's NPU sits alongside the CPU and GPU on the Meteor Lake SoC (System on Chip) and specializes in handling sustained AI workloads at low power. As you might expect, Intel pitches this as a unique strength that makes Meteor Lake chips more effective and efficient at doing things like dynamic noise suppression on calls because the NPU can handle these tasks more efficiently than the CPU while freeing up the CPU to do other work. 

In a slide during the press presentation Intel claimed its new VPU tech allows Meteor Lake chips to do more with less power draw. In Windows Studio Effects, for example, the addition of a NPU allows for advanced tricks like gesture recognition and improved fidelity in dynamic blur effects.

Intel has also been working to push the tech forward in apps like Audacity, Gimp, OBS and Unreal Engine. In the latest version of Unreal Engine, for example, Intel claimed that Meteor Lake chips can improve real-time motion capture performance by offloading the AI workload to the NPU and letting the chip's onboard GPU focus on the rendering workload.

Switching to Arc integrated graphics chipsets

Say goodbye to the Iris Xe GPUs that were integrated into earlier editions of Intel's processors. With Meteor Lake Intel is switching things up and equipping its chips with a new Arc integrated graphics chipset.

Intel Arc laptop GPU promo image on blue background

Intel's new Arc GPUs have been available in laptops and desktops for a minute, and now the tech is being integrated into Meteor Lake CPUs. (Image credit: Intel)

Yes, that's Arc as in the new Intel Arc discrete graphics cards that hit the market in 2022. Now that Intel is making its own graphics cards again, it's putting some of that tech into its CPUs, and the result is that Meteor Lake chips will have onboard low-power Arc graphics chiplets with support for DX12 Ultimate, raytracing, supersampling and more.

However, not all Meteor Lake chips get the Arc upgrade. Only the high-end chips will get it, while the lower-end models will have less capable Intel Graphics chipsets. So make sure to read closely before buying if you really want that Arc!

While switching to Arc for onboard graphics likely won't mean Meteor Lake owners can enjoy top-tier gaming performance without a discrete GPU, it may lead to widespread improvement in performance and power efficiency when playing games on the best Windows laptops.

Intel Meteor Lake: Outlook

Intel's new Meteor Lake CPUs look to not only deliver the usual improvements in speed and power efficiency we expect from new chips, but a seismic shift in the way we think about chip design.

That's because Intel is betting its next family of chips on the promise that our current AI craze will be more than a flash in the pan. The company is stepping away from its usual focus on price, performance and power efficiency to promote Meteor Lake as CPUs designed for the AI-centric future of computing.

It's an exciting pitch, albeit one predicated on a lot of buy-in and support from clients and partners designing their apps to take advantage of Meteor Lake's new NPU. We'll have to wait and see whether or not this AI-focused approach to chip design pays off as developers race to push "AI" features into their apps throughout 2024.

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Alex Wawro

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.