Skip to main content

A major era in Intel chip technology may be coming to an end

An Intel processor over a dark blue background.

Intel’s next-generation Arrow Lake chips are said to be coming out later this year, but we don’t know much about them just yet. However, a new leak shows us that two crucial features may be missing from the next-gen CPU lineup: hyperthreading and support for the AVX-512 extension. If Intel is ditching hyperthreading, it’s not entirely unexpected, but it might make it trickier for even its best processors to beat AMD.

Hyperthreading allows physical cores in Intel processors to perform two tasks simultaneously, improving efficiency and performance in multi-threaded applications. Intel first introduced it in 2002, but it hasn’t used the technology in every generation of its CPUs between then and now. The tech was all but gone from client processors for many years following its launch, although it was still present in certain models. Since then, Intel has selectively implemented HT across its product stack. In the last few years, it became a staple, especially in midrange and high-end chips.

No matter its legacy, it sounds like hyperthreading is on its last legs, and we’ve now heard this from a couple of different sources. First, a leaked Intel slide was shared by X (formerly Twitter) user YuuKi_AnS. It was later deleted, but VideoCardz snapped it up before it was gone. The slide mentioned a pre-alpha Arrow Lake-S (desktop) chip with eight cores and eight threads. If it featured hyperthreading, it would have had up to 16 threads.

I spotted a new #ArrowLake-S (CPUID C0660, 24 threads, 3GHz, w/o #AVX512) among the #Intel test machines:

— InstLatX64 (@InstLatX64) February 1, 2024

Now, InstaLaX64 spotted another Arrow Lake CPU with just 24 threads, also suggesting no hyperthreading. The leaker also notes that the CPU lacks support for AVX-512 instructions, although it’s possible that this was just disabled in this early engineering sample. If not, those who need this feature will have to default to AMD’s Ryzen 7000 lineup, which wouldn’t be great news for Intel.

Although its CPUs almost universally include hyperthreading now, Intel has been slowly phasing the feature out since the launch of Alder Lake and the switch to a hybrid core architecture. Since efficient (E) cores don’t support hyperthreading, the tech only applies to performance (P) cores. With the release of Meteor Lake, Intel has also introduced another type of core, the low-power core (LP), which also doesn’t support hyperthreading.

While it’s best to take the above with a healthy dose of skepticism, the leaks we’ve had so far all seem to point to the same thing. Is this because it’s still early days, or is Intel really giving up on hyperthreading — a technology that’s been around in some shape or form for over 20 years? I’m starting to lean toward the latter.

This could give AMD an advantage, seeing as Intel’s typically been better at multi-threaded tasks, and hyperthreading plays a big part in that. We’ll have to see how it pans out when Arrow Lake hits the shelves in the second half of 2024.

Editors' Recommendations

Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
With the arrival of Core Ultra, a new era for Intel has begun
A tray of Intel Core Ultra CPUs.

Intel's Meteor Lake processors represent more than just a new generation. It's a fresh start for Intel -- a cycle it seems to find itself in every few years -- and the birth of the AI PC. Most importantly, it's a sign that Intel can deliver on its road map with a fresh generation of processors built on a new node.

Meteor Lake ushers in the Intel 4 node, which we first heard about nearly three years ago with the launch of 11th-gen CPUs. It also marka the start of the Core Ultra era of CPUs, along with a consolidation of Intel's massive mobile CPU lineup. Now, processors fit into two camps: U-series for thin and light laptops, and H-series for more powerful machines.

Read more
Intel 14th-gen Meteor Lake: architecture, specs, and performance
On-package memory on Intel Meteor Lake processors.

Intel's 14th-gen Meteor Lake processors are here, and they're ready to compete against some of the best processors for laptops. While they don't currently -- and may never -- have desktop counterparts, Meteor Lake chips bring improved graphics performance, AI capabilities, and high core counts to thin and light laptops.

What's new in Meteor Lake, and what will these CPUs excel at? With Intel's announcement, we now know the answers to those questions.
Pricing and release date

Read more
Some surprising details on Intel’s upcoming 14th-gen laptops just leaked
Intel's new Intel Core Ultra badge.

One of the first laptops powered by Intel’s upcoming 14th-gen Meteor Lake CPUs has been spotted online, and based on what we're seeing, the prices look surprisingly affordable.

The information originated on X (formerly Twitter) from @momomo_us, who initially shared details about these new laptops via Newegg US. The post disclosed information about the expected CPUs and key specifications of the laptops. Among MSI's lineup of work laptops featuring Meteor Lake CPUs, the Prestige 13 and 16 are the first ones identified. The leak also mentions the CreatorPro 16 Studio, as well as popular gaming SKUs, the Stealth 14 and 16, although specs for these were not provided.

Read more