A new leak has - in conjunction with previous rumors - all but confirmed that we can expect to see Intel release its first wave of 14th-gen desktop CPUs this year, more specifically in October. Will they deserve to sit among the best processors, though? I don’t think so.
See, these new chips won’t be the hotly-anticipated new ‘Meteor Lake’ processors we’re likely to see arriving in laptops in the not-too-distant future. No, instead Intel is doing a refresh of its Raptor Lake CPU architecture, the same we already saw in the 13th-gen chips, led by the Intel Core i9-13900K.
This part isn’t exactly news, since previous leaks had already suggested that the 14th generation of desktop chips would merely be a Raptor Lake refresh, with the new Meteor Lake architecture reserved only for mobile processors. Instead, the actual next generation of desktop CPUs from Intel will be ‘Arrow Lake’.
The latest news, which comes from reputable leaker Enthusiastic Citizen (ECSM) on Chinese social media, claims that the K-series chips from Intel’s 14th gen will launch in the 42nd week of the year - the week commencing October 16. The non-K CPUs are projected for the first week of 2024. This aligns closely with Intel’s previous release cadence, so while we should still treat it as rumor, it’s likely to be accurate.
I’m not excited - here’s why
At the end of the day, a new generation of CPUs is something that I - as a professional hardware journalist - should be pretty amped about. But I’m not. If the current slew of rumors is to be believed, Intel’s 14000 series likely won’t give us the sort of performance leap I always hope to see from a new generation of tech products, which will be disappointing.
It’s all the more galling that we apparently are getting a true hardware upgrade for Intel’s 14th-gen laptop processors. Team Blue has remained remarkably tight-lipped about its Meteor Lake chips, barring an embarrassing leak from MSI at Computex 2023, but they’ve got huge potential.
Hugely boosted power efficiency and integrated graphics capable of ray tracing are two key areas where Meteor Lake is expected to impress, while the Raptor Lake refresh chips probably won’t enjoy those boons. This is also likely to be the first generation of Intel CPUs to use the company's weird new naming system, and a meager performance jump could undercut the (frankly already unclear) benefits of the rebrand.
There could be some silver linings here, though. Since Intel’s 14th-gen desktop chips will be built on the Raptor Lake architecture, they’ll use the same LGA-1700 chipset, meaning users with existing 12th- and 13th-gen CPUs won’t need to buy a new motherboard to upgrade. As reported by VideoCardz, ECSM also mentions the follow-up Arrow Lake generation, which will require a new motherboard socket.
I’ve long been on the mind that CPU and GPU generations come too fast, with the implicit expectation of consumers to constantly pay to upgrade. The same is true for phones and laptops; I don’t want to buy a new piece of hardware only to find it incrementally outdated in a year’s time.
With ‘refresh’ generations interspersed with standard releases, Intel has a chance to slow its roll a bit; anyone who doesn’t already have a Raptor Lake CPU should probably at least consider the upcoming 14th-gen chips for a potential upgrade, but there won’t be the same forced impetus to upgrade as usual. So put your feet up and relax, folks - Arrow Lake will get here eventually.
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Christian is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing Editor. He came to us from Maximum PC magazine, where he fell in love with computer hardware and building PCs. He was a regular fixture amongst our freelance review team before making the jump to TechRadar, and can usually be found drooling over the latest high-end graphics card or gaming laptop before looking at his bank account balance and crying.
Christian is a keen campaigner for LGBTQ+ rights and the owner of a charming rescue dog named Lucy, having adopted her after he beat cancer in 2021. She keeps him fit and healthy through a combination of face-licking and long walks, and only occasionally barks at him to demand treats when he’s trying to work from home.