Intel Raptor Lake CPUs spotted, likely to be Alder Lake’s successor

Intel Core i9-10900K
(Image credit: Future)

Intel’s Raptor Lake processors, which will be 13th-gen models going by what we’ve heard from the rumor mill, have been mentioned in official documentation from the chip giant, indicating that they are indeed in the pipeline.

Raptor Lake-S desktop CPUs were highlighted on Twitter by hardware leaker @momomo_us, spotted in material from Intel which provides technical details on the requirements and spec of the chips. Also provided is compatibility guidance pertaining to Alder Lake, the 12th-gen processors that Raptor Lake will likely succeed.

In theory, then, this is solid evidence that not only is Raptor Lake coming, but that it will take the baton from Alder Lake as rumored, and will be on the same platform (which makes sense given that Alder Lake brings in an entirely new design and socket – LGA 1700 – requiring new motherboards, and Intel would hardly switch after a single generation).

In a way, Raptor Lake looks a little lost among the major upgrades coming to Intel’s future processors. After Rocket Lake, which is about to debut, we then have Alder Lake (10nm) coming later in 2021, bringing huge changes in terms of switching up the whole design (adopting a hybrid model of big cores and small power-efficient cores).

Meteor strike

As previously rumored, it would then seem that Raptor Lake will simply be a refresh of Alder Lake, honing and tweaking still on 10nm, whereas the following 14th-gen chips, Meteor Lake, will make a bigger splash as this is where Intel theoretically changes gear and hits 7nm.

We’ve already heard about Meteor Lake (and lots on Alder Lake too, of course), but Intel thus far hasn’t said anything at all about Raptor Lake; but with it being a more low-profile affair, that makes sense.

The plan is that Alder Lake will arrive late 2021 as mentioned, possibly September according to rumors, and Meteor Lake is planned for a 2023 debut, which obviously leaves a hole in 2022 where Raptor Lake should find a home. Handfuls of salt with all this, of course, but the Intel documentation – assuming it’s genuine – certainly seems to position Raptor Lake as Alder Lake’s successor, as per previous speculation.

While Raptor Lake may ‘only’ turn out to be a refresh of Alder Lake, it should still bring a substantial IPC (instructions per clock) performance boost, and we’ve also heard that it could introduce a nifty bonus for gamers.

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).