Intel’s New Meteor Lake CPU Offers Integrated Neural Processing Unit To Power AI At Home

AI takes center stage as Intel’s latest Meteor Lake processor is set to shake up the landscape with its dedicated neural processing unit (NPU). With the NPU specifically designed to accelerate AI workloads, it promises to deliver significant performance and efficiency gains over previous generations of Intel processors.

Meteor Lake

However, with no concrete numbers being shown during our recent Intel visit to Penang Malaysia in August 2023, it remains to be seen if the new processor is the game-changer that Intel touts.

If the word neural processing unit sounds familiar to you it’s because we do have access to the tech in some form, most commonly, through the mobile phone. Devices such as the Google Pixel phone and its Tensor Chip have led the conversation in the past few years in this field.

While it might come as a surprise for many folks who might wonder how AI might be involved in day-to-day computing tasks, the tech is deployed to help suppress any background noise during calls or help blur one’s background to give a bit more privacy while taking calls from home. Many manufacturers such as Lenovo include custom in-built AI tools to help their devices manage battery levels better and optimize performance as well.

Built on Intel 4 process technology, the 7-nanometer process can pack more transistors onto a single chip than previous generations. This allows for more powerful and efficient chips to be made. Intel’s Meteor Lake chip design features a:

  • Compute tile: Containing the latest-generation E-Cores and P-cores which stand for efficiency cores and performance cores respectively. E-cores are typically smaller and slower than P-cores, but they can handle many tasks while using very little power. This makes them ideal for use in applications where battery life is a concern. P-cores are designed to be very fast and powerful to handle tasks like gaming and video editing.
  • SOC Tile: The new NPU is found here and aims to bring power-efficient AI capabilities to the PC that are compatible with standardized program interfaces such as OpenVINO. The SoC also integrates Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, including Wi-Fi 6E, as well as media, with support for 8K HDR and AV1 codecs and HDMI 2.1 and Display Port 2.1 standards.
  • GPU Tile: Intel has integrated their Arc Graphics architecture here to generate more frames and power efficiency claiming a doubling in generational performance. The coolest bit about this integration is the use of UI to give gamers the ability to play games on higher graphical settings without the need for a separate GPU
  • IO Tile: Thunderbolt 4 and PCIe Gen 5.0 ports are housed here to allow greater expansion and connectivity

The key takeaway from all of this is that Intel is positioning itself to leverage increased AI use and stay at the forefront for the end-user as the tech evolves. As it stands, most AI tasks are powered by the cloud and can be costly to execute at scale. What Intel is looking to achieve is to inculcate the mantra of having the work done locally on your own personal device, allowing for improved privacy as data stays local and responses to requests and tasks should be near instantaneous.

Meteor Lake

The immediate beneficiaries of this move by Intel would be the users of Adobe and Adobe Creative Cloud in leveraging existing AI API libraries such as WinML, DirectML, ONNX RT and OpenVino Interface Engine to power AI tasks without having to possibly connect to the Internet at all with no degradation in performance.


With the new Intel Meteor Lake CPU we’re genuinely impressed how much AI can boost gaming performance! #inteltechtour #inteltechtourmy #gaming #tech #cpu #dyinglight #pcmasterrace #techtok #techtokau #fyp #fypシ

♬ Relaxing Moment – Muspace

Over on the gaming front, we were able to experience demos of Dying Light 2 running solely on the Meteor Lake processor. Given that the game is pretty demanding, especially on higher graphical settings, Intel seems to have learned much via their foray with their Arc Graphics line and AI to help deliver smooth gameplay all without a discrete GPU. From a first impressions standpoint, what Intel was able to deliver on this front was remarkable.

If this initiative for Intel works out, it might very well mark a wave of NPUs being added to CPUs in the months to come. Seeing as the Meteor Lake is largely positioned to be a laptop-centric CPU, the real battle is how it goes up against the competition especially when it comes to performance and battery life. If the Meteor Lake processor is able to match up to the task and still deliver on all fronts, the mobile computing arena just got a lot more exciting in the months to come.