People might have scoffed at AMD’s “stapled-together” processors once upon a time, but it has become clear since then that chiplet-based processor designs are the way forward. There are still benefits to making monolithic CPUs, but they can be costly and inefficient, compared to “disaggregated” designs.
However, the difference with Meteor Lake is that it’s also disaggregated, which in this case means that multiple tiles are needed to function as a single processor design. With Sapphire Rapids, each tile is a fully-functioning Xeon processor. It’s more similar to the old-school “multi-chip module” (MCM) designs than to the 14th-gen designs. With Meteor Lake, graphics, CPU cores, and I/O are on separate dice, similar to how AMD’s Ryzen processors are put together.
Intel released more specific detail along with its Q1 earnings report yesterday, where CEO Pat Gelsinger stated that “Meteor Lake has now successfully booted Windows, Chrome, and Linux.” He goes on to comment that this is notable not only for the future of Intel’s future processors but also for the health of its “Intel 4” chip fab process technology, although he didn’t make any remarks about the performance of Meteor Lake on Intel 4.
Of course, we still haven’t seen first-hand how Alchemist performs, so it’s impossible to even hazard a guess at the capabilities of Battlemage, but Intel says that Meteor Lake will offer real discrete-class graphics firepower. Likewise, it remains to be seen how Intel’s first truly chiplet-based CPUs and its Intel 4 process turn out in the end. We’ll probably hear some whispers before they hit the market next year, so keep your eyes on HotHardware.