Intel leak suggests Arrow Lake CPUs may disappoint compared to previous rumors, but don't panic

These performance estimations purportedly direct from Intel could disappoint at first glance, but there are some major caveats to bear in mind.

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Intel's Arrow Lake and Raptor Lake Refresh desktop CPUs are the subject of a new illuminating leak that comes directly from Team Blue.

Whichever way you dice it, Arrow Lake CPUs are still an exciting prospect for 2024 (Image Credit: Intel)

Whichever way you dice it, Arrow Lake CPUs are still an exciting prospect for 2024 (Image Credit: Intel)

At least this is what we're told, with Igor's Lab having got hold of Intel's internal performance projections for its incoming next two generations of processors.

Igor observes that these projections can be considered 'realistic' given that this is material for consumption within Intel, and not a PR release, but we should treat this with a lot of caution (and we'll come back to some notable caveats, too).

Okay, so the projections suggest that over a range of benchmarks Arrow Lake desktop CPUs will be between 7% and 20% faster than Raptor Lake. That's going off the current 13900K flagship compared to the 15900K - or at least the Arrow Lake chip with the same core configuration (8 performance cores and 16 efficiency cores).

The biggest gains (in that 20% ballpark) will be witnessed with multi-core performance as you'd expect.

Here's the interesting bit, though: this figure is a good deal lower than what we've heard on the rumor mill before. Recall that YouTube leaker Moore's Law is Dead (MLID) estimated performance gains more to the tune of 40% for Arrow Lake, although note that this is compared to Meteor Lake using sample chips with 6-cores (and 8 efficiency cores).

These are quite different comparisons then, but even so, the Arrow Lake gains shown in Intel's purported estimation here are a fair bit tamer than MLID's speculation hints at.

Arrow Lake monster CPU still in the wings?

However, let's come back to those caveats. Firstly, these are early estimations of Arrow Lake's performance, and the finished retail chips will perform better. On top of that, the rumor mill is still clinging to the idea that Intel is exploring an 8+32 (performance/efficiency cores) CPU for Arrow Lake (though it might not turn up until 2025).

If the top dog processor for Arrow Lake is indeed a chip carrying a massive 32 efficiency cores, we can expect much more on the multi-core front, naturally. Remember, Intel's comparison here is based on the 8+16 processors from these respective generations.

So, what about Raptor Lake Refresh? We're told to expect this next-generation flagship to be 2-3% faster, which is about in line (on average) with what we'd anticipate from what is, after all, just a minor refresh of the current-gen. (Clock speeds are being tuned up, but that's about all).

These projections are likely more realistic than what we've heard from the rumor mill so far with Arrow Lake, but we already felt that chatter was somewhat on the wild side, so expectations need to be tempered anyway.

There's certainly nothing to indicate that eventually, Arrow Lake won't be a big jump forward for Intel - which remains the broad expectation - especially if there is an 8+32 processor with this generation.

The integrated GPU is also something to get excited about with Arrow Lake, as we're treated to an estimation that performance will be more than double that of Raptor Lake (2.2x as fast, up to as much as 2.4x as fast, in fact). Add seasoning with all of this, naturally.

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Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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