The rumor mill is spinning up with info about Intel’s Lunar Lake processors – chips that may not debut until 2025 (or maybe very late in 2024) – and those revelations have been met with some disappointment.
There are reasons we shouldn’t get carried away here, though, and the first one is that anything heard on the grapevine, early in the development of any given product, must be regarded with a great deal of caution.
At any rate, let’s outline these rumors around Lunar Lake before we dissect and criticize them – although a crucial point to remember is that these CPUs are power-efficient efforts targeted at laptops (and will be kind of like Intel’s Ice Lake, we’re told). They’ll arrive after Arrow Lake processors which will be Intel’s new Core CPUs for next year, due later in 2024.
As divulged in a recent video from YouTube leaker Moore’s Law is Dead (MLID), Lunar Lake chips could run with a top configuration of four performance cores (Lion Cove) and four efficiency cores (Skymont) only.
Further to that, PC Gamer spotted that Twitter-based hardware leaker Bionic Squash reckons that Lunar Lake silicon will top out at 64 Xe2 (Battlemage) Execution Units (EUs) for integrated graphics, which is fewer than some folks expected.
LNL IGPU gets 64 Xe² EU'sJuly 31, 2023
Analysis: It’s all about the efficiency
Those rumored specs have caused a stirring of disappointment online, as we noted at the outset. 4+4 performance and efficiency cores sounds rather underwhelming, and more EUs were expected for the integrated graphics (as you can see in the replies to the above tweet).
But hold your proverbial horses here. Remember, Lunar Lake is supposedly all about power-efficiency for laptops, not raw performance. (In 2025, Arrow Lake Refresh may be what Intel has planned for the latter department in the notebook arena – again according to the most recent whispers from MLID). Lunar Lake will be ultra-low-power (15W) chips to go in thin-and-light laptops, and should pack a good deal of performance for their size and spec.
Don’t forget that Lunar Lake will offer considerable architectural advancements from where we are now. And, of course, even if the top-end Battlemage integrated GPU only has 64 EUs, that’ll still compare very favorably with current-gen Alchemist graphics with more EUs, as again it’ll have made architectural strides forward.
Overall, then, Lunar Lake is likely to mean some sterling performance chops for lightweight laptops, and hopefully affordable gaming notebooks too. And besides, any specs floated here may end up being more powerful by the time 2025 rolls around, the most likely blast-off date for Lunar Lake (though as mentioned, there is a chance of a very late 2024 debut).
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).