Intel Raptor Lake: Features, iGPU, And Possible Release Date

Intel Raptor Lake is already in development. It will be the future microarchitecture that will come to replace Alder Lake (12th Gen), that is, it will be the 13th Generation of processors from the Santa Clara company. In addition, it will also have to compete against AMD’s future microarchitectures, since the green company has woken up, and Intel increasingly has it more difficult to gain an advantage. That, coupled with foundry delays with the new crafting nodes, doesn’t help at all.

But… Will Intel Raptor Lake be a turning point? And, most importantly, will it be positive or negative? The competition is not sitting idly by, and although it can beat all current processors by far, the important thing is that it does so at the time it is put on sale. That’s where AMD Zen 4 would come into play, and it’s not going to make it easy for you.

AMD Zen 4 (Raphael) vs. Intel Raptor Lake

AMD Zen 4 (Raphael) vs. Intel Raptor Lake
AMD Zen 4 (Raphael) vs. Intel Raptor Lake

When Intel Raptor Lake launches you won’t be alone, you will have some stiff competition. AMD Zen 4 (Ryzen 7000 Series codenamed “Raphael”) is also being finalized and promises to put up a fight. For this reason, it’s important to see what’s on the front lines of the battlefield.

What is known about AMD Zen 4?

AMD Zen 4
AMD Zen 4

AMD plans to release its new Zen 4 microarchitecture almost on par with Intel Raptor Lake. The successor to Zen 3 will arrive with interesting news. It has been in development since 2018 since microarchitectures can be between 3-5 years on the “drawing table”. And it’s very likely that Mike Clark, one of Zen’s fathers, along with Jim Keller, is the main architect. A key engineer for the company who has been in the shadow of Jim, but the truth is that Jim was only passing through AMD to put everything to create Zen, but Mike was one of the most prominent architects.

Zen 4 will use TSMC’s 5nm node, so it would have an advantage over Intel again. And not only that but a ton of cores are expected :

  • HPC: AMD EPYC “Genoa” based on Zen 4 is expected to have up to 96 cores and 192 threads.
  • Entry-level, Mainstream, HDET: Ryzen 3, 5, 7, 9 “Warhol” up to 20 cores and 40 threads.
  • Laptops and desktops (+iGPU): Ryzen “Rembrandt” with up to 8 cores and 16 threads.
  • Cloud: “Bergamo” will be smaller, and will likely include up to 128 cores (with 128 threads), sacrificing SMT and AVX-512.

Regarding Zen 3, several improvements are expected for the Zen 4 microarchitecture :

Rumors about a possible jump from 2-way SMT to 4-way SMT don’t seem to happen. Therefore, that rumor that swarmed the networks a long time ago would be denied. This would not make much sense for the mainstream user sector, maybe it would only make sense in the case of the HPC sector, for AMD EPYCs. We have already seen other processors such as SPARC or POWER with a deeper multithreading, so it would not be strange.

  • Scale the number of cores.
  • Scale the number of threads (logical cores).
  • Improve cache loading (less latency) for writes and prefetch to/from logs. Shared L3 memory is maintained as in Zen 3. 3D ICs will be used to stack L3 cache dies to increase core headroom.
  • New iGPU based on Navi2 (RDNA2), although still to be confirmed. At first, such a huge jump in performance didn’t make sense, since DDR4’s bandwidth is limited, so increasing graphics power in this way would be more of a bottleneck than a gain. However, after confirming that they will adopt DDR5, the movement makes all its sense. You already know that the iGPU uses RAM as VRAM since it does not have memory…
  • Using a new socket AM5. Once again, it is committed to a durable platform, so as not to have to change the motherboard if you want to update the CPU. In addition, this socket will be LGA type, like those of Intel, and will have 1718 contact pads.
  • Support for DDR5 memories.
  • Support for PCI Express 5.0.
  • New 600 Series chipset platform.
  • Increased transistor density and switching agility thanks to 5 nm photolithography. The CIOD will be manufactured in 7 or 6 nm. It will continue to be chiplets, but instead of the 7 and 12 nm of the previous generation, it will go to 5 and 6/7 nm respectively.
  • The double capacity of the L2 concerning Zen 3.
  • Ability to work at higher clock frequencies. Most likely above 5 GHz.
  • I/O improvements.
  • Rumored maximum TDP of 120W, although some point to a cap of 30W, which would be amazing.
  • Performance improvements on integers and floating points. 29% IPC improvement is expected over Zen 3.

What is known about Intel Raptor Lake?

Intel Raptor Lake core i7
Intel Raptor Lake core i7

For now, the rumors that are known about Intel Raptor Lake point to a pretty bloody battle with AMD Zen 4. The 13th Gen Intel processors will be manufactured using the Intel 10 nm ESF manufacturing process (that is, with Enhanced SuperFin transistors). , that is, they continue to stretch the gum of this node, so the TDP is likely to be higher than their competition.

The improvements expected for this generation are:

  • Up to 24 cores and 32 threads (8x P-Cores + 16x E-Cores configurations).
  • Higher CPI or performance. According to estimates, it could offer up to 15% more performance in single-thread and 40% more in multithread.
  • Hybrid cores with P-Cores (Performance-optimized) and E-Cores (Efficiency-optimized). The current Golden Cove (P-Cores) are expected to be replaced by the new Raptor Cove. While the E-Core will continue to be the Gracemont, albeit with some minor improvements.
  • LGA 1700 socket support.
  • Support for DDR5-5200 – DDR5-5600 memory.
  • Support for PCI Express 5.0 up to 20 lanes.
  • Higher clock frequency, up to 5.5 GHz.
  • TDP PL1 depends on the SKU of about 125W on average.
  • Improvements in L2 and L3, probably with a Game Cache to improve performance in games. P cores would have 2 MB of L2 and 3 MB of L3 per core, while E cores would have 4 MB of L2 and 3 MB of L3 for the entire cluster.
  • Celeron, Pentium S-Series, Core i3 S-Series, Core i5 S/K-Series, Core i7 K-Series, and Core i9 K-Series SKUs are planned. Remember that the lowest SKUs are achieved through binning practices.
  • The iGPUs, or integrated GPUs in this Xe 13th generation, will also have changes.

Binning is a practice in the semiconductor industry to “take advantage” of some dies or chips that are not fully functional, either because they have some of their core(s) defective and have to be deactivated, or because they do not can reach the maximum frequency for which they were designed. To take advantage of them, they are rebranded and sold with different SKUs.

Other details that the company itself has confirmed about Intel Raptor Lake are also known, such as the use of 600-Series and 700-Series chipsets, with I/O improvements. In addition, it is estimated that the prices of the Ryzen 7000 will be around $150 and $180 more expensive compared to those of Intel.

Intel Raptor Lake iGPU: disappointment

Although some think that the iGPU is not that important, the truth is that this statement is only partly true. Not important on desktops or laptops with dedicated GPUs. But it is in the increasingly popular AIOs and ultrabooks, that many models simply make use of this integrated GPU. Therefore, designers must take important steps in this regard.

AMD has it easier, as it has a powerful graphics division. Intel has come later, and its GPUs have improved a lot, but not enough. They are still no match for NVIDIA and AMD itself in high-performance graphics.

On top of all this, it looks like the Intel Raptor Lake’s iGPU could be a step backward. According to some SiSoftware benchmarks that are appearing, the GPUs could provide even lower performance than the previous Intel UHD 770 in many tests, which is a bit disappointing. In the video game Hero Wars, for example, the results have been the following:

321.32 Mpix/s (processing)396.16 Mpix/s
34.40 GB/s (bandwidth)24.46GB/s
4.33 GB/s (encrypted)5.35GB/s
224.73 Mpix/s (image processing in normal/single precision)278.63 Mpix/s
296.96 Mpix/s (low/medium precision image processing)365.31 Mpix/s

Judging by this comparison, the Intel UHD 770 achieves very close results with the new iGP of the Intel Raptor Lake and even surpasses it in some cases. And that it uses 256 stream processors or shader units like the other, but the frequency seems to be higher in the 770, it is likely that this is part of the explanation of these data, although not all. Being a more advanced architecture, there should be notable performance increases at the same frequency, and despite this difference, it should not be reflected so clearly in the benchmarks.

On the other hand, keep in mind that, in addition to a more advanced architecture, it also has much faster memory compared to the Intel UHD 770, which should help improve those SifSoft benchmark results, but it has not been confirmed. reflected.

Hopes? On the one hand, we have that Intel is still developing Intel Raptor Lake, but I no longer think it will extract more performance from it, but rather it will be finalizing everything to send it to be manufactured, and it could even already be in the foundry producing it so that it is on the market in the appointed date. Therefore, there is not much hope left in that regard. Although this chip that was sent for testing is likely a sample engineering that was not quite “polished” yet.

The only thing that could turn the story around is that the Intel Raptor Lake iGP performs much better with DDR5 memory for which it was designed, and not so well with DDR4, and therefore those results. Also, more tests would be needed to see if this happens in other benchmarks or not.

Finally, we must not forget a detail, and that is that the Ryzen 7000 based on Zen 4, in theory, would come with a GPU based on the powerful RDNA2, which will bring a lot of performance to be an integrated one. It is an answer from AMD to the improvement of the Xe Gen 12 GPUs of the Intel Alder Lake-S, and not only will they surpass this one, but the results will be promising, and more interesting to the competition when we see the results of both processing titans.

Conclusion about Intel Raptor Lake

AMD has also launched its products based on Zen 4. So if there is a considerable difference in price, and some advantages such as the TDP, or if they achieve performance like the one we have seen in previous generations of Zen, then Intel could get into trouble once again. The Ryzen sales have skyrocketed, and the green company has reached record market share figures, a trend that could continue like this.

On the other hand, we will see how operating systems deal with hybrid kernels, something that Windows has had some problems optimally managing, and this could also be a problem. And to this, we must add that Intel Raptor Lake iGPU does not seem too promising, so AMD would win again in this regard with its APUs. And, beware of the ultrabook segment, which is Intel’s strongest domain and could lose ground with these missteps.

All the success or failure of the Intel Raptor Lake depends on Intel itself. If they can do a good job and the performance is a step ahead of AMD, then many will be worth paying more for them, but the step must be considerable.

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Abram left his e-business studies to devote himself to his entrepreneurial projects. In 2017, he created the company Inbound Media and wrote articles about high-tech products for his Chromebookeur site. In 2019, Chromebookeur was renamed Macbound and became a general purchasing advice site. Today, Abram manages the development and growth of Macbound, surrounded by a young and talented team.

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