Intel Launches 14th-Gen Core Desktop CPUs Ahead Of Meteor Lake AI PC Shakeup

Intel has launched its 14th-generation Core desktop processors with up to 24 cores and a 6GHz boost frequency, and they’re landing ahead of the much more anticipated release of a new CPU brand that will bring fresh AI capabilities to laptops.

Aimed at gaming and content creation PCs, the desktop processors, which come out Tuesday via system builders, OEMs and component channels, are a refresh of Intel’s 13th-gen Core CPUs and, as such, carry the code name Raptor Lake Refresh.

[Related: Qualcomm Teases Snapdragon X Chips As AI PC Battle Heats Up With Intel And AMD]

At launch, Intel is making six processors available, from the $589 24-core Core i9-14900K to the $294 14-core Core i5-14600KF that comes without integrated graphics. The company said it plans to expand the lineup early next year with more CPUs for desktops and new CPUs for gaming and creator laptops.

Performance comparisons from Intel indicated mixed results against AMD’s latest Ryzen 7000 chips, although the handpicked results demonstrated more of a clear advantage in content creation.ADVERTISEMENT

The semiconductor giant marked the launch of the 14th-gen Core CPUs as it plans to shake up its client processor brand with the Dec. 14 release of the Core Ultra CPUs for laptops. Code-named Meteor Lake, the CPUs will come with new AI acceleration capabilities thanks to their inclusion of a neural processing unit, which Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said will help the lineup “usher in the age of the AI PC.”

As such, the 14th generation is the last generation to carry the naming and numbering conventions that partners have come to know with Core processors over the past several years. CRN has previously detailed branding changes coming with the impending launch of the Core Ultra CPUs.

14th-Gen Features And Specs

The six 14th-gen Core processors are based on Intel’s hybrid architecture that debuted with the 12th generation in 2021, which means the cores on each CPU are divided between performance cores that handle main applications and efficient cores that take care of background tasks.

The two Core i9 models, for instance, each come with eight performance cores and 16 efficient cores for a total of 32 threads. The two Core i7s each have eight performance cores and 12 efficient cores for a total of 20 threads, a 25 percent higher core count than the last generation. The two Core i5s, on the other hand, each have six performance cores and eight efficient cores for a total of 20 threads.

Only the Core i9s can boost their frequencies up to 6GHz, thanks to Intel Thermal Velocity Boost technology, while running at a 3.2GHz baseline in the performance cores. Meanwhile, the two Core i7s can reach up to 5.6GHz with the Intel Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 while running at a 3.4GHz baseline. The two Core i5s peak at 5.3GHz with a 3.5GHz baseline.

New features in the CPUs include Intel Application Optimization, a new thread scheduling policy that works with Intel Thread Scheduler to boost performance in certain games. Meanwhile, Intel’s Extreme Tuning Utility is getting an upgrade with a new AI model that recommends customized overclocking settings.

The processors also come with “built-in instructions that accelerate the performance of AI workloads,” according to Intel. Developers can take advantage of these instructions using the Intel OpenVINO toolkit, which optimizes AI models for various processor types.

All processors support DDR4 and DDR5 memory, a maximum of 192 GB in memory capacity, up to 16 lanes of PCIe 5.0 connectivity, four lanes of PCIe 4.0, Wi-Fi 6/6E and Bluetooth 5.3. At the chipset level, the CPUs also support discrete solutions for Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.4, Thunderbolt 4 and Thunderbolt 5.

The CPUs are supported by new and existing Intel 600 and 700 chipset-based motherboards, opening opportunities for partners to sell CPUs as upgrades to customers with those chipsets.

Ahead Of AMD In Some Measures, Behind In Others

In its announcement, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company called the 14th-gen Core CPUs the “best desktop experience available on the market today.”

But competitive performance comparisons provided by the chipmaker showed mixed results, with the lineup’s flagship CPU, Core i9-14900K, providing roughly the same or worse performance across more than half of the 25 sampled PC games compared with AMD’s flagship Ryzen 9 7950X3D.

The Core i9-14900K performed 23 percent slower in “Dota 2,” 11 percent slower in “Cyberpunk 2077” and Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and 6 percent slower in “League of Legends” and “Horizon Zero Dawn.” The chip almost closed the performance gap with five other titles, including “Red Dead Redemption 2.”

The CPU was on par or slightly better in five different games, including “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II” and “Grand Theft Auto V.” Nine other games saw performance gains between 7 percent and 23 percent with the Core i9-14900K, including “Starfield,” which saw a 23 percent boost with Intel compared with AMD.

Meanwhile, Intel indicated that the Core i9-14900K had more of a clear advantage against AMD’s Ryzen 9 7950X in content creation benchmarks, with performance gains in the single and low double digits.

Intel’s top CPU, for instance, ran 6 percent faster in the PugetBench for After Effects, Autodesk 3ds Max Toon Shader Arnold Render and Maxon Cinebench 2024 multi-core benchmarks. It was 7 percent faster for the CrossMark and PugetBench for Lightroom Classic tests.

As for other benchmarks, the Core i9-14900K performed 12 percent faster for the Autodesk: Revit Render Model Creation test, 14 percent faster for the Maxon Cinebench 2024 single-core test and 17 percent faster for the AutoCAD Cadalyst C2015 test.

Intel also showed that the Core i7-14700K could outpace AMD’s Ryzen 9 7950X in the single or low double digits in seven of the nine content creation benchmarks.

As for how Intel’s latest CPUs compare with the previous generation, the company showed single-digit boosts for four content creation benchmarks and double-digit improvements across four others.LEARN MORE: CPUs-GPUs 

 Learn About Dylan Martin


Dylan Martin is a senior editor at CRN covering the semiconductor, PC, mobile device, and IoT beats. He has distinguished his coverage of the semiconductor industry thanks to insightful interviews with CEOs and top executives; scoops and exclusives about product, strategy and personnel changes; and analyses that dig into the why behind the news.   He can be reached at [email protected].


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