Thought Intel Meteor Lake CPUs were just for laptops? Think again, they’re coming to desktop PCs

An Intel Core i5-13600K
(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

In what is a bit of a bolt out of the blue, Intel just confirmed that there will be Meteor Lake processors for desktop PCs – and not just chips for the best laptops out there.

As VideoCardz spotted, Michelle Johnston Holthaus, VP and General Manager of Intel’s Client Computing Group, made the revelation in an interview with PC World on YouTube.

PC World asked Holthaus directly if there is going to be a desktop version of Meteor Lake, to which the VP replied without missing a beat: “Desktop will come in 2024.”

The tech site asked again, just to confirm Meteor Lake desktop, which Holthaus did, before observing that: “I want one processor family top to bottom for both segments [desktop and laptop], doesn’t everybody?”

So, there you have it. We knew Meteor Lake is coming to laptops in December, as that’s what Intel announced at its recent Innovation event, but there was no mention of Meteor Lake desktop – not until now.

Analysis: Meteor blazing towards desktop

This has been a controversial area for some time. A long time back, the rumor mill floated the idea that Meteor Lake was going to be realized on desktop in some form, and not just come out as laptop processors. Despite samples for that desktop silicon being spotted, the impetus behind those rumors seemed to flag, and our understanding in more recent times was that Intel had scrapped any Meteor Lake desktop plans.

Clearly, this is not the case, but as Holthaus tells us, Meteor Lake desktop is still some way off. While mobile chips will debut this year, desktop will be next year, and we don’t know how far down the line this will be.

On desktop, the immediate next-gen prospect is Raptor Lake Refresh to run alongside Meteor Lake mobile. Then, we could get Meteor Lake desktop, but not until later in 2024 – however, Arrow Lake is coming on desktop next year too.

That leaves a potential prospect of higher-end Arrow Lake CPUs being launched with lower-end Meteor Lake on desktop – the rumors around Meteor Lake desktop have always insisted it’ll be Core i5 (or maybe even lower-end) processors (or whatever naming scheme Intel will run with).

The other possibility is Meteor Lake desktop turning up relatively early in 2024, and filling the gap between Raptor Lake Refresh (which is imminent – supposedly arriving in October) and Arrow Lake late in 2024. That potential launch schedule might all feel rather crowded, mind – unless Intel is mulling pushing Arrow Lake back? But the latter idea is very much contradicted by recent assertions from Team Blue that everything is on-track with its future processor roadmap.

We’ll just have to see how things pan out, and whether Intel might drop some more hints around Meteor Lake desktop, and when it’ll actually arrive – and in what form. It’s pretty certain that it won’t be higher-end silicon, though, that much we can tell you.

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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).