Meteor Lake CPUs splash down in socketed motherboards for edge and embedded workloads

Intel reckons the NPUs that power the 'AI PC' are needed on your lap, on the edge, but not on the desktop

Intel has created versions of its Core Ultra processors – aka Meteor Lake – for use in socketed motherboards employed in embedded and edge applications, the x86 giant announced today at the Embedded World conference in Germany.

Meteor Lake is the architecture that Intel says defines the “AI PC” due to the inclusion of a neural processing unit (NPU) and an Arc GPU. To date, Chipzilla has only used the chips in laptops and mini-PCs.

To confuse matters, Intel’s current generation desktop processors are called “Raptor Lake” and lack NPUs. So even as Intel touts Meteor Lake as the must-have for this year’s key workload – AI – it didn’t offer it in a socketed configuration.

A couple of weeks ago, news of socketed Meteor Lakes leaked. And now Intel has confirmed that Meteor Lake will land in sockets … specifically the LGA 1851 socket.

The new chips, named Core Ultra PS, were “designed to enable generative AI (GenAI) and demanding graphics workloads at the edge for retail, education, smart cities and industrial customers," according to an Intel statement. Naturally, as Meteor Lake has an NPU and Raptor Lake doesn't, the silicon giant boasts Core Ultra has 5.02 times the image AI inference performance of 14th Gen Raptor Lake CPUs.

Though Intel doesn't mention it explicitly, Core Ultra PS should also not require motherboards with a chipset, as it will be included in the processor package similar to laptop Core Ultra processors.

New Atoms chips and a reminder that Agilex 5 FPGAs exist

Intel's Embedded World announcements also include upgraded Atom parts.

The Atom x7000RE series is intended for edge applications and is largely similar to the older x7000E series, but includes two new SKUs with 32 graphics execution units (EUs), up from the 24 EUs offered in the previous x7425E – once Intel’s fastest Atom. Additionally, the now-fastest x7835RE has eight E-cores, whereas the x7425E had just four. We suspect it's based on Alder Lake-N silicon, which has up to eight cores and 32 execution units.

The x7000C series also boasts up to eight cores with its x7809C, but lacks any graphics capabilities, as it's intended mostly for networking workloads.

Intel also wants to remind everyone that it launched its Agilex 5 FPGAs with AI back in February and that devices using the new FPGAs, including developer boards, are widely available.

Intel is also bringing regular non-Ultra Core processors based on Raptor Lake to socketed motherboards for edge computing. These mobile Raptor Lake CPUs are about equal with Meteor Lake on CPU performance but lag behind in AI and GPU prowess.

Compared to 13th and 14th Gen desktop chips, Raptor Lake does have significantly better integrated graphics with more cores. Intel says these regular Core processors should have up to 2.57 times the graphical performance, plausible performance given they have three times more GPU cores than their predecessors. These chips are likely for the LGA 1700 socket, and we've asked Intel for clarification on that point.

Core Ultra PS is expected to be available in the second quarter of the year. Intel hasn’t detailed prices.

Whatever the chips cost, the first person to put a Core Ultra PS chip inside a desktop will have made the first AI-powered desktop, according to Intel's own criteria. ®

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