Intel Claims Meteor Lake CPUs With Tiled Arc GPUs Will Deliver Discrete Graphics Class Firepower

intel arc alchemist slide
You probably already know this from seeing it in another article here on HotHardware (or perhaps elsewhere), but Intel published its Investor Meeting 2022 session today, and there's all kinds of intriguing information therein. The most interesting thing to this reporter, though, is Raja Koduri's statement that the Intel 14th generation Meteor Lake CPUs will include "a new class of graphics" that is powerful enough that "you can't really call it integrated or discrete."

We take minor issue with that statement; "integrated" and "discrete" describe the physical location of the GPU, not its prowess. It's true that historically "integrated graphics" has meant "slow," at least for 3D applications, and it's also true that the phrase "discrete-class integrated graphics" is clumsy. Koduri was obviously talking about GPU performance, not literally implying confusion between integrated and discrete graphics. There's nevertheless a marked difference between an integrated GPU and a discrete GPU.

That's to say nothing of the fact that integrated GPUs, even if they are quite large and powerful, are still going to suffer compared to a discrete GPU due to the fact that they have to share their memory interface with the CPU. However, Koduri was specifically talking about the multi-tiled nature of Meteor Lake at this moment. It's possible that Intel has a trick up its sleeve—like, say, a large embedded cache, or even an HBM tile—to really maximize the performance of Meteor Lake's integrated GPUs.

intel visual compute roadmap

The other illuminating takeaway from Koduri's statement is that Meteor Lake's integrated Arc GPU may well be based on the second generation Xe architecture, codenamed Battlemage. He didn't say that directly, but in the slide shown alongside him, reproduced above, you can clearly see Arc Alchemist aligned with Alder Lake and Raptor Lake, while Battlemage sits above Meteor Lake and "Next-Gen".

Of course, that's not a conclusive indication of anything, but it's enough to make us hopeful. It would be nice to see integrated graphics remain on the latest GPU architecture, as historically competitor AMD's (arguably "discrete-class") integrated GPUs have lagged behind their discrete GPU designs by a generation or two. For its part, AMD seems to be moving away from that as well, though, so perhaps Intel's Meteor Lake will come with its latest and greatest GPU tech, too.