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Intel Meteor Lake is coming to desktop, but there’s a big catch

The Intel Meteor Lake chip.

It’s been a real roller coaster ride with Intel Meteor Lake. First, it was coming to desktops, then it wasn’t, then it was, and now … it isn’t, but it is. If you’re as confused as we are, don’t worry — Intel has set things straight and we now know that Meteor Lake chips will be available in desktops, but they won’t become some of the best processors for desktop PCs, all because they’re not socketed.

Intel spoke about the future of its 14th-Gen Meteor Lake chips in a statement made to ComputerBase, revealing that, yes, Intel Meteor Lake will come to desktop PCs, but only all-in-one (AIO) computers like the Intel NUC or small form-factor PCs. It won’t be available in socketed form, which means that you won’t be able to install it in a future LGA1851 motherboard. In short, Meteor Lake chips are laptop CPUs, through and through.

Just because the chips were made for laptops doesn’t make them unusable on a desktop, though, which is how we’ll be seeing these chips in premade PCs. The performance remains a mystery, but these computers are often not made to rival top desktop PCs, and their appeal lies in the design and their use cases.

Intel Meteor Lake is going to utilize the Foveros 3D packaging technology, and each chip will feature a four-tile architecture design with a separate compute tile, SOC tile with a neural processing unit (NPU) for AI workloads, a GPU tile, and an IO tile. When Intel announced it on September 19, it only really spoke about laptops, and it’s now perfectly clear why.

The rumors about this lineup have been confusing from the start. Initially, most people expected Intel to launch Meteor Lake for both desktops and laptops, but it was then assumed that it would only appear in notebooks. A recent interview with an Intel executive told us otherwise, though, as she said that the desktop version was coming in 2024. While not entirely false, it also wasn’t true in the way most people assumed because you won’t be able to use Meteor Lake to build a PC.

What about desktops for gaming or workstations, the ones that require a socketed CPU? It appears that Meteor Lake is not happening, but Arrow Lake-S should be coming in the second half of 2024. As expected, the chip will require the new LGA1851 socket, so motherboard upgrades will be in order.

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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…
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