Intel had an incredibly rough quarter, unexpectedly losing half a billion dollars due to a PC purchasing slump, and yesterday seemed like more bad news — a report from TrendForce about manufacturing delays sparked rumors that Intel’s next big flagship processor Meteor Lake would be delayed until 2024, which would put it as much as a year behind schedule. (In a February investor meeting, Intel said that Meteor Lake would be “powering on” this summer before shipping in 2023.)
However, Intel is flatly denying those rumors today, with spokesperson Thomas Hannaford clarifying to The Verge that not only are they untrue, but that Meteor Lake will actually ship and launch in 2023. He also initially said that the chips would be available to consumers in 2023, but walked that back as of August 9th, saying that Intel makes that decision alongside its OEM partners.
That’s a good thing for Intel, because Meteor Lake is one of the company’s most important developments in many years. Not only is it the first client processor on the company’s Intel 4 architecture (formerly known as 7nm) and reportedly its first to use extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) in manufacturing, it’s also the first major release from Intel to use a chiplet design where processor components can be combined more like Legos. Intel had already begun moving to hybrid chips with its 12th Gen Alder Lake’s mix of performance and efficiency cores, similar to a smartphone chip, but that’s not the same thing.
The idea that Meteor Lake is still on track won’t be much of a surprise to anyone who listened to Intel’s Q2 2022 earnings call. There, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger straight-up told investors that the company would deliver Meteor Lake in 2023, saying that it was showing “good health in both our and our customers’ labs” and that it had already been “broadly sampled to customers.”
Delivering samples to customers isn’t the same as being ready for a consumer launch, of course — and given that Intel walked back what it told us about shipping to consumers in 2023, we’re now wondering if that might have been delayed after all.
The TrendForce report suggested that Intel wouldn’t even begin mass production of a key Meteor Lake component until the end of 2023, and that “this incident has greatly affected TSMC’s production expansion plan.” TSMC wouldn’t comment on Intel, but denied that its capacity expansion project had been affected in a statement to China’s Economic Daily.
During its Q2 earnings call, Intel said it had already shipped 35 million units of its 12th Gen Alder Lake processors. Raptor Lake, which will likely be known as Intel 13th Gen Core, should be coming later this year.
Update August 9th, 2:01PM ET: Intel’s Hannaford walked back part of his statements to The Verge over the weekend, saying Intel can’t confirm when these chips will actually be available to consumers because that decision is made alongside its OEM partners. He has now clarified that it’s on track to ship to “customers” (i.e. Intel’s partners) and that manufacturing at both Intel and TSMC is on track, but consumer timing will come later.