Intel's Meteor Lake chips are coming to desktops after all

 Intel Meteor Lake up-close in assembly.
Intel Meteor Lake up-close in assembly.

The on/off saga of Meteor Lake for desktops has been settled once and for all. It's been confirmed. Meteor Lake will be coming to desktops.

In an interview with PCWorld during Intel's Innovation event, Michelle Johnston Holthaus, the executive vice president and general manager of the client computing group, went on the record and categorically confirmed that Intel's exciting new architecture will be coming to desktops some time in 2024.

Here are the money quotes, from the 6.30-mark of the PC World interview.

Q: Let me ask you, is there going to be a Meteor Lake desktop?
A: Desktop will come in 2024.
Q: So you are confirming Meteor Lake desktop?
A: Yes.

There it is folks,. If anyone would know the answer, it's the big boss of the client computing group, which includes all things desktop.

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The confirmation of desktop Meteor Lake brings more questions and lines of speculation. Firstly, a release date of 2024 is very broad. We know Raptor Lake Refresh models are coming shortly, with a full family of 14th-Gen products to follow in the months ahead. Arrow Lake, the desktop successor to Raptor Lake Refresh, is expected in late 2024.

Unless Intel has well and truly left the leakers bamboozled, my guess is that Meteor Lake for desktops will appear in OEM- or NUC-class systems. I would place a wager that we won't see Meteor Lake K-class CPUs. I can't see why Intel would release a Raptor Lake refresh if it is to be superseded so quickly. Though if you recall, 11th Gen Rocket Lake had a short shelf life, launching in March 2021, just eight months before 12th Gen Alder Lake in October 2021. So, anything is possible.

Another possibility is that we'll get some kind of APU-type chip, with a focus on integrated graphics or AI acceleration. A Meteor Lake system with Xe-LPG graphics, DP 2.1, WiFI 7, AV1 encode support, with lower power consumption and very good IPC sounds pretty good to me, even in a gaming system. Perhaps a handheld gaming PC?

I'm also very curious to see what socket these chips will find their way into. LGA1851 is the obvious answer, though I'd still lean towards a bespoke ecosystem to start with, with OEM boards or embedded solutions. I can't see DIY desktop LGA1851 motherboards launching until a top-to-bottom replacement for 14th Gen—the rumored Arrow Lake, launches in late 2024 at the earliest.

Stay tuned. The on, off, and on again saga of desktop Meteor Lake has some more chapters to be written.