Intel’s Lunar Lake to Harness TSMC’s 3nm: 1024 GPU Cores, Ray Tracing, LPDDR5X-8533 Memory

November 24, 2023 by our News Team

Intel's upcoming Lunar Lake processors, set to debut in 2024, will feature 8 CPU cores, Xe2 graphics, a new System Cache, an NPU v4, LPDDR5X memory, and advanced Power Unit technology, offering enhanced performance and power efficiency for low-power notebooks and convertibles.

  • Lunar Lake processors are specifically designed for low-power notebooks and convertibles
  • Leverages TSMC's 3nm-class N3B node for fabrication
  • Features up to 8 CPU cores, divided into 4 P and 4 E-cores

Intel’s Lunar Lake processors are set to make their debut in the second half of 2024, and some exciting details about these chips have recently been leaked. These processors are specifically designed for low-power notebooks and convertibles, distinguishing them from the high-performance PC-focused Arrow Lake family. One of the most significant differences between the two is the power envelope.

What sets Lunar Lake apart is its utilization of TSMC’s 3nm-class N3B node for fabrication, making it the first Intel CPU to leverage an external Foundry for the entire System on a Chip (SoC). This move showcases Intel’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of technology and partnering with industry leaders to deliver products.

Lunar Lake will feature up to 8 CPU cores, divided into 4 P and 4 E-Cores. The graphics architecture will be powered by Xe2, boasting 16-wide Simultaneous Multithreading (SMT) and up to 64 Vector Engines, providing a total of 1,024 shaders. The integrated GPU (iGPU) will also support real-time Ray Tracing and driver optimizations, promising an enhanced gaming and visual experience.

One notable addition to Lunar Lake is the introduction of a new System Cache, which will act as the last level of Static Random-Access Memory (SRAM) before accessing the main memory or Dynamic Random-Access Memory (DRAM). While it remains unclear whether this cache includes the Level 3 (L3) cache or serves as an additional layer, its presence signifies Intel’s focus on optimizing memory performance.

To accelerate AI workloads, Lunar Lake will incorporate a Neural Processing Unit (NPU) v4. This dedicated hardware component will enhance the efficiency and speed of artificial intelligence computations, catering to the growing demand for AI capabilities in various applications.

Memory-wise, Lunar Lake will employ on-die LPDDR5X memory clocked at an impressive 8,533 megatransfers per second (MT/s). The planned variants will offer 16GB and 32GB options, supporting dual-channel memory for improved data throughput. In terms of connectivity, users can expect 4x PCIe Gen 5 and 4x Gen 4 lanes, along with 3x Thunderbolt 4 and 2x USB 3 ports.

Intel has also prioritized power efficiency in Lunar Lake, incorporating an advanced Power Unit on the SoC. This feature aims to optimize battery life and minimize standby power consumption, crucial factors for sub-15W notebooks and Tablets powered by these chips.

The Lunar Lake MX mobile lineup will consist of four SKUs, including two Core 7 and two Core 5 chips. While all four SKUs share the same CPU core count of 8, the memory and system cache configurations will differentiate them. Additionally, the Core 7 CPUs will boast one unit higher in iGPU cores and NPU tiles, offering enhanced performance for those seeking top-tier specifications.

Intel’s Lunar Lake processors will leverage the 2nd Gen Foveros 3D packaging technology. This advanced packaging technique allows for stacking LPDDR5x memory packages onto the base die, with the CPU/iGPU tile placed on the Foveros die. This innovative approach enables efficient use of space and improved thermal management, contributing to overall performance gains.

With Lunar Lake’s anticipated release in the second half of 2024, Intel is poised to deliver a lineup of processors that cater to the needs of low-power notebooks and convertibles. By partnering with TSMC for fabrication and incorporating advanced technologies such as real-time ray tracing and AI acceleration, Intel aims to solidify its position as a leading player in the mobile computing market. As consumers eagerly await the arrival of these processors, it is clear that Lunar Lake represents another significant leap forward in Intel’s ongoing pursuit of technological excellence.

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Background Information

About Intel: Intel Corporation, a global technology leader, is for its semiconductor innovations that power computing and communication devices worldwide. As a pioneer in microprocessor technology, Intel has left an indelible mark on the evolution of computing with its processors that drive everything from PCs to data centers and beyond. With a history of advancements, Intel's relentless pursuit of innovation continues to shape the digital landscape, offering solutions that empower businesses and individuals to achieve new levels of productivity and connectivity.

Intel website  Intel LinkedIn

About TSMC: TSMC, or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, is a semiconductor foundry based in Taiwan. Established in 1987, TSMC is a important player in the global semiconductor industry, specializing in the manufacturing of semiconductor wafers for a wide range of clients, including technology companies and chip designers. The company is known for its semiconductor fabrication processes and plays a critical role in advancing semiconductor technology worldwide.

TSMC website  TSMC LinkedIn

Technology Explained

CPU: The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the brain of a computer, responsible for executing instructions and performing calculations. It is the most important component of a computer system, as it is responsible for controlling all other components. CPUs are used in a wide range of applications, from desktop computers to mobile devices, gaming consoles, and even supercomputers. CPUs are used to process data, execute instructions, and control the flow of information within a computer system. They are also used to control the input and output of data, as well as to store and retrieve data from memory. CPUs are essential for the functioning of any computer system, and their applications in the computer industry are vast.

E-Cores: E-Cores (Efficiency Cores) are a type of technology used in the computer industry to provide a more efficient and reliable way of powering and cooling computer components. They are made up of a combination of copper and aluminum, and are designed to be more efficient than traditional copper cores. E-Cores are used in a variety of applications, such as in CPUs, GPUs, and other computer components. They are also used in servers, laptops, and other electronic devices. The technology is designed to reduce heat and power consumption, while also providing a more reliable and efficient way of powering and cooling computer components.

Foundry: A foundry is a dedicated manufacturing facility focused on producing semiconductor components like integrated circuits (ICs) for external clients. These foundries are pivotal in the semiconductor industry, providing diverse manufacturing processes and technologies to create chips based on designs from fabless semiconductor firms or other customers. This setup empowers companies to concentrate on innovative design without needing substantial investments in manufacturing infrastructure. Some well-known foundries include TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company), Samsung Foundry, GlobalFoundries, and UMC (United Microelectronics Corporation).

GPU: GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit and is a specialized type of processor designed to handle graphics-intensive tasks. It is used in the computer industry to render images, videos, and 3D graphics. GPUs are used in gaming consoles, PCs, and mobile devices to provide a smooth and immersive gaming experience. They are also used in the medical field to create 3D models of organs and tissues, and in the automotive industry to create virtual prototypes of cars. GPUs are also used in the field of artificial intelligence to process large amounts of data and create complex models. GPUs are becoming increasingly important in the computer industry as they are able to process large amounts of data quickly and efficiently.

iGPU: An integrated Graphics Processing Unit (iGPU) is a component built into a computer's central processing unit (CPU) or system-on-chip (SoC) that handles graphical tasks. Unlike dedicated graphics cards, which are separate components, an iGPU shares system resources with the CPU, allowing for basic graphics capabilities without the need for an additional card. While typically less powerful than dedicated GPUs, iGPUs are energy-efficient and well-suited for everyday computing tasks

LPDDR5X: LPDDR5X is a type of computer memory technology that is used in many modern computers. It stands for Low Power Double Data Rate 5X and is a type of Random Access Memory (RAM). It is designed to be more efficient than its predecessors, allowing for faster data transfer speeds and lower power consumption. This makes it ideal for use in laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices. It is also used in gaming consoles and other high-end computers. LPDDR5X is capable of transferring data at up to 8400 megabits per second, making it one of the fastest types of RAM available. This makes it ideal for applications that require high performance, such as gaming, video editing, and 3D rendering.

PCIe: PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) is a high-speed serial computer expansion bus standard for connecting components such as graphics cards, sound cards, and network cards to a motherboard. It is the most widely used interface in the computer industry today, and is used in both desktop and laptop computers. PCIe is capable of providing up to 16 times the bandwidth of the older PCI standard, allowing for faster data transfer speeds and improved performance. It is also used in a variety of other applications, such as storage, networking, and communications. PCIe is an essential component of modern computing, and its applications are only expected to grow in the future.

Ray Tracing: Ray tracing is an advanced rendering technique used in computer graphics to simulate the way light interacts with objects in a virtual environment. It traces the path of light rays as they travel through a scene, calculating how they interact with surfaces, materials, and lighting sources. By simulating the complex behaviors of light, ray tracing produces highly realistic and accurate visual effects, including lifelike reflections, shadows, and refractions. This technology enhances the overall visual quality of images and animations by accurately replicating how light behaves in the real world, resulting in a more immersive and visually stunning digital experience.

Ray Tracing Website:

SMT: Simultaneous multithreading (SMT) is a technology that allows a CPU core to process two tasks (threads) simultaneously. It is crucial to the swift operation of modern-day CPUs. SMT is AMD’s brand of multithreading, while Hyperthreading is Intel’s

SoC: A System-on-Chip (SoC) is a highly integrated semiconductor device that encapsulates various electronic components, including processors, memory, input/output interfaces, and often specialized hardware components, all on a single chip. SoCs are designed to provide a complete computing system or subsystem within a single chip package, offering enhanced performance, power efficiency, and compactness. They are commonly used in a wide range of devices, from smartphones and tablets to embedded systems and IoT devices, streamlining hardware complexity and facilitating efficient integration of multiple functions onto a single chip.

Thunderbolt 4: Thunderbolt 4 is a high-speed connection interface that enables data transfer between computers and peripherals. Thunderbolt 4 is the fastest version of Thunderbolt yet, with speeds up to 40 Gbps, and it is also the most versatile, with support for up to four 4K displays, dual 4K video, and up to 100W of power delivery. Thunderbolt 4 is ideal for connecting high-performance peripherals such as external storage drives, docks, and displays. It is also ideal for connecting multiple computers together for high-speed data transfer and collaboration.

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