Intel Meteor Lake CPUs On The Desktop In 2024? Sure, But With A Critical Caveat

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The answer to the question of whether Intel's first disaggregated CPUs would be coming to desktop systems has flip-flopped several times. If you pay attention to leaks and rumors, you're probably tired of hearing about it because it's gone back and forth so often. Well, we got a definitive answer from Intel just a few days ago, but a new clarification could change the meaning depending on how you read Intel's response.

To recap, Intel originally announced Meteor Lake for both laptop and desktop, but last year, it came out that Meteor Lake for desktops was canned. And then it wasn't. Then it was again. Most recently, Intel's EVP and GM of Client Computing, Michelle Johnston Holthaus, told PC World unequivocally that "Desktop will come in 2024," specifically referring to Meteor Lake.

Well, fair enough. That's done and settled, right? Sure, in a general sense; Intel will bring Meteor Lake to desktop systems. They're still probably not going to find their way into your enthusiast desktop, though. We say that because of the latest information that comes from a statement made to German site ComputerBase. Check out this quote:

intel meteor lake computerbase quote
Intel quote from

Now, sure, "including desktop form factors such as AIO" doesn't rule out any other desktop form factors. As ComputerBase itself says, "as much scope is possible is left for interpretation." However, if the parts were coming to enthusiast desktops, we think Intel would say so.

Besides, if you read between the lines and snap the pieces together, this all fits like a jigsaw puzzle. Think about it: leakers hear that Meteor Lake-S, the socketed form of the chip, is canceled. They report that Meteor Lake isn't showing up on desktop. But then, it turns out that the BGA-only Meteor Lake is still scheduled to show up in AIOs and small-form-factor systems, like NUCs. Those are desktops, so Meteor Lake is "coming to desktop" after all.

intel meteor lake recap

Given what we know about its core configuration, power limits, and design philosophy, it really doesn't make and never did make any sense that Intel would release Meteor Lake processors for the "classical" desktop platform. Meteor Lake is not likely to beat high-end Raptor Lake processors in terms of raw performance, even allowing for significant architectural improvements. The power limit is just too high; the desktop parts' advantages in clock rates and core counts can't be overcome.

That's why the DIY launch along with Meteor Lake will be Raptor Lake Refresh, not desktop Meteor Lake. Meteor Lake desktop in 2024? No doubt. It's not going to slap into a Z890 motherboard, though.