Intel’s forthcoming Meteor Lake line of laptop CPUs has generated a fair bit of buzz over the last year or so due to its supposed increase in both iGPU performance and efficiency. These two things are of the utmost importance if you’re in the market for a thin-and-light ultrabook or, conversely, are a staunch fan of handheld gaming PCs.
If, however, you’re after sheer horsepower and were hoping for a noticeable uplift in CPU performance, you’ll most likely be disappointed — but more on that down below.
There’s still a whole lot to get excited about, even though Intel no longer seems to have that big of a winner on its hands!
Meteor Lake Performance — Stellar iGPU Gains
Intel’s Meteor Lake line-up — which will now adhere to a stupendously confusing nomenclature — will feature a brand new GPU tile based on the Xe-LPG architecture.
And, after months of waiting, we now finally have a benchmark of some kind to dissect — a Geekbench 6 OpenCL entry, to be more exact. The CPU in question is the Core Ultra 7 155H (16 cores, 22 threads; 8 Xe Cores, 128 EUs) found in the ASUS Zenbook 14 (2024). This one result shouldn’t be taken as gospel, but it does paint a much clearer picture of just how well these novel iGPUs are going to perform.
With a boost clock of 2250 MHz, the Core Ultra 7 scored a very impressive 33948 points. This places it somewhere in between the desktop-class NVIDIA GTX 1060 (6GB) and AMD’s own 780M (running at 60W on a top-of-the-line Ryzen 9 7940HS). This is all mighty impressive, especially considering the fact that the laptop it was benchmarked in doesn’t feature an overly robust cooling solution.
This result, while by no means earth-shattering, is indicative of Intel’s efforts, and it’s only going to get better and better over the coming months as Intel starts shipping out updated drivers and whatnot.
Moreover, the 155H is a 20W—35W chip, which means that the Core Ultra 9 (with its 45W TDP) should easily be able to outperform it in GPU-intensive tasks and deliver an even better gaming experience.
A Noteworthy Improvement from Intel
The best thing about this is that two demographics, in particular, will have a much larger set of options to choose from going forward: modest gamers on a budget (who don’t need the latest and greatest bells and whistles), and those partial to handheld gaming PCs, an incredibly burgeoning segment of the market that keeps on getting more and more competitive with each passing month.
AMD still hasn’t gotten on top of its supply chain issues (for whatever reason), which means that its top-of-the-line APUs are still a scarce commodity. Having a second option (one which is bound to be more readily available) will benefit consumers greatly.
One such handheld PC has already been spotted in the wild, with numerous others surely on the horizon. Companies like AYANEO, ONEXPLAYER, GPD and perhaps even Lenovo and ASUS are all but guaranteed to join the fray and implement Intel’s upcoming APUs into their handheld PCs — devices which could, in theory, deliver better efficiency (and, by proxy, battery life) when compared to AMD’s current offerings. And even if it fails to meet everyone’s expectations, it’s still bound to put up a fight and be competitive which, in the end, is sufficient for it to be deemed as a viable alternative to AMD’s Rembrandt and Phoenix APUs.
Intel’s Meteor Lake is scheduled to debut on December 14th.
Not Impressive Enough, According to Industry Insiders
Now, overall and when compared to what AMD supposedly has in the pipeline, Meteor Lake seems to be somewhat of a dud. Several different OEMs have criticized its lack of innovation and minimal performance gains, which means that, unless you’re after stellar efficiency or iGPU performance — two benefits which can already be attained through AMD’s 6000 and 7000 series APUs — there’s no reason whatsoever for you get excited about this particular product launch.
To learn more about this issue — and why certain high-profile OEMs will most likely go for a 50/50 split between Intel and AMD going forward (supply chains permitting) — make sure to watch the following video from prolific leaker Moore’s Law Is Dead.