Intel Core Ultra CPUs are here – and they all come with dedicated AI silicon

Intel is unveiling the next generation of central processing units (CPUs). During Thursday’s AI Everywhere event, Intel revealed all the details about the Core Ultra processors — no longer Core “i” — that will be part of its Meteor Lake lineup, promising better power efficiency and performance thanks to a new setup that splits tasks across Different segments.

Intel says the Core Ultra 7 165H chip delivers an 11 percent improvement in multi-threaded performance compared to competing laptop processors, such as the AMD Ryzen 7 7840U, Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, and Apple’s in-house M3 chip. It also delivers a 25 percent reduction in power consumption compared to the previous Intel Core i7-1370P and has up to 79 percent less power than AMD’s Ryzen 7 7840U “in the same 28W envelope of ultrathin laptops.”

All of Intel’s new CPUs will also come with an NPU, or neural processing unit, that provides “low-power AI acceleration and CPU/GPU offloading” capable of performing AI-enabled tasks, such as background blur, eye tracking, and portraiture. . Framing. The integration should make running AI models like Stable Diffusion more efficient compared to previous generation Intel chips.

Although Intel has mainly highlighted the strengths of the Core Ultra 7 165H chip, the flagship Intel Core Ultra 9 185H chip is the leader of the pack, with 16 cores and 22 threads. Of those 16 cores, it has six Performance (P) cores and eight Efficiency (E) cores.

There are also two low-power (LP-E) cores that live on the chip’s “low-power island,” a new section that handles less demanding workloads for increased efficiency. The Core Ultra 9 185H has a boost clock of up to 5.1GHz as well as an integrated Arc GPU with eight Xe cores running at up to 2.35GHz. The new Xe LPG architecture allows for increased performance at minimal voltages and adds support for Intel XeSS upscaling and ray tracing.

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The addition of the NPU comes just months after Microsoft shipped the first Intel NPU in a Windows laptop as part of Surface Laptop Studio 2. The software maker did not explain the ways in which this NPU can be leveraged in Windows beyond the usual Windows Studio effects , but Intel is clearly laying the groundwork with the chip here for greater AI features that will likely arrive in the next version of Windows.

While the Intel Core Ultra 9 185H won’t be available until 2024, the majority of other Meteor Lake chips will be launching today. This includes Intel’s second most powerful chip, the Core Ultra 7 165H, which features 16 cores, 22 threads, and a boost clock of up to 5.0 GHz.

There’s also the Core Ultra 7 165U, Core Ultra 5 135H, Core Ultra 5 135U, and several other options that aren’t as powerful as Intel’s flagship processor. It’s worth noting that only Intel’s H-series chipsets come with an integrated Arc GPU, as the company’s U-series CPUs only offer integrated Intel graphics. You can check out all the chips and their full specs list in the chart above.

A host of new laptops have already adopted the new Intel Core Ultra chip. For starters, MSI is launching the high-end Prestige 16 AI Studio laptop, which weighs three and a half pounds but comes with some pretty impressive specs, including an Intel Core Ultra 9 185H processor and an Nvidia 4070 laptop GPU. There’s a 13-inch Prestige AI Evo model inch with Intel Core Ultra 7 155H processor. MSI’s 16-inch Prestige AI Studio laptop starts at $1,899, while the Prestige 13 AI Evo costs $1,049 and up.

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Asus is also giving its laptops a spec boost with Intel Core Ultra technology. She releases a Zenbook 14 OLED is a lightweight laptop Featuring up to an Intel Core Ultra 7 chip with Intel Arc graphics. The laptop starts at $1,299.99, with “additional configurations” — likely including an Intel Core Ultra 9 chip — arriving in early 2024.

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Photography by Antonio G. Di Benedetto/The Verge

Meanwhile, Lenovo unveiled a trio of laptops equipped with the new chip, including the 12th generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon, the 9th generation ThinkPad X1 2-in-1, and the IdeaPad Pro 5i. These three models are quite expensive, with the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon starting at $2,989 in “Limited configurations” and the Lenovo IdeaPad Pro 5i starting at $1,149.99. The ThinkPad X1 2-in-1 starts at $2,639 and will begin availability in March 2024.

As if all that wasn’t enough processing, Acer is also jumping on the Intel Core Ultra bandwagon with the new Swift Go 14 and the gaming-focused Predator Triton Neo 16. The Swift Go 14 laptop comes with up to an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H, offering up to 12.5 hours of battery life and up to 32GB of LPDDR5X RAM, starting at $999.99. Meanwhile, the Predator Triton Neo 16 will release in March 2024 and features an Intel Core Ultra 9 185H chipset along with up to an Nvidia RTX 4070 GPU. Pricing for the Predator Triton Neo 16 starts at $1,499.99.

Although there’s clearly no shortage of laptops using Intel’s redesigned chips, you may want to wait until Intel releases the Core Ultra 9 next year to get the best models.

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