Intel claims its 3nm CPUs are not delayed, will land in 2024

Graphic of Intel N-series CPU shown at CES 2023
(Image credit: Intel)

Following the circulation of rumors claiming that Intel’s upcoming 3nm CPU products would be hit with delays, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger has fired back with confirmation that the new chips are in fact on track for their planned 2024 releases.

The in-development CPUs, which will be built on either the Intel 3 or TSMC N3 - both new 3nm processes - include product lines codenamed ‘Arrow Lake’, ‘Granite Rapids’, and ‘Sierra Forest’. Arrow Lake is ostensibly the one we’re most interested in here; that’s the current codename for Intel’s 15th-gen consumer desktop processors.

We’ll try not to get ahead of ourselves here, since we’re currently only on Intel’s 13th generation of Core CPUs (headlined by the mighty Intel Core i9-13900K), but the 3nm process is intriguing. Intel’s incoming 14th-gen ‘Meteor Lake’ chips will still be built on the current 4nm process.

In Intel’s Capital Allocation Update conference call, Gelsinger described the rumors as “patently false” and offered reassurance that “the 3nm programs are on track, both that with TSMC as well as our internal Intel 3 programs”. The Granite Rapids program, which will be server-grade CPUs for commercial use, could prove worrying for Google - the search engine giant has its own plans to start producing chips for datacenters.

Analysis: Meteor Lake might be lackluster, but Arrow Lake won’t be

Last year, we learned that Intel did actually delay the 14th-gen Meteor Lake chips, which were set to be produced on TSMC’s 3nm process. Despite the ‘Raptor Lake’ 13th generation producing some of the best processors we’ve ever seen, there are concerns that Meteor Lake will see smaller generational improvements.

That certainly shouldn’t be the case for Arrow Lake in 2024, though - since Intel isn’t using its own Intel 3 process to produce these consumer CPUs, TSMC will have plenty of time to refine its N3 process. The Taiwanese manufacturer will be very experienced with 3nm by the time it comes to put Arrow Lake into production, so we should be getting the optimal version of Intel’s 3nm designs.

Meteor Lake is still expected to launch this year, though we likely have a few more 13th-gen chips to go before a new flagship arrives. Intel has been keeping up a seriously fast release cadence for its CPUs, something we don’t entirely support - the speed at which these new chips arrives means that while some immediately outclass their predecessors, others are a bit harder to justify.

Naturally, all of this will probably be quite troubling for AMD’s execs, who were most likely hoping the rumors of an Arrow Lake delay were true. While Team Red has had some success in measuring up against Intel’s current-gen offerings (and is often still the better-value option), Intel is steamrolling ahead with increasingly powerful CPUs and threatening to leave its competitors in the dust.

Christian Guyton
Editor, Computing

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.