The next couple of years are going to be crucial for the CPU market, as both Intel and AMD battle it out for semiconductor supremacy. For the former, it’ll be a battle for process leadership and we’ll finally see how the IDM 2.0 strategy works as promised. AMD, on the other hand, will face the product line it was originally supposed to with its 2nd or 3rd Gen Ryzen CPUs: Intel’s Alder Lake CPUs with the Golden Cove/Gracemont core architectures fabbed on node 7 (originally 10nm ESF):
Intel’s plans are relatively straightforward in the client segment: 10nm Alder Lake across the board in late 2021 and early 2022, first in the form of the LGA1700 desktop chips and later the low-power P, U, and H mobile lineups. This is expected to be the company’s largest overhaul to its client platform since the introduction of the Core lineup two decades back.
Alder Lake is going to be followed by the Raptor Lake refresh in the send half of 2022. This will be the prelude to Meteor Lake, the chipmaker’s first chiplet/tiled design for consumers. We may see a new core architecture, but the process node will be retained and as such, IPC gains will be minimal.
Meteor Lake is slated for launch in early 2023 (or early 2022). It’ll leverage the 4nm node and a series of advanced packaging technologies including separate tiles for compute and integrated graphics, and 2nd Gen Foveros to put it all together: Greater focus on multi-threaded performance with increased core counts and powerful iGPUs.
Finally, Lunar Lake along with the 3nm node will debut in early 2024. Not much is known about it, and the codename/specs may change through 2022-23.
AMD has a more interesting roadmap. As Robert Hallock confirmed a few days back, we’ll see Zen 3D (Warhol?) with 3D V-Cache in the first half of 2022. The microarchitecture and core counts of the Ryzen 5000 lineup will be retained, but the increased L3 cache should bring in some healthy gains for gamers. The 6nm node is also likely to be adopted.
In the first half of 2022, you can also look forward to Rembrandt which is a Cezanne refresh with RDNA 2 graphics instead of Vega 8, and a refined version of the 7nm node. Barcelo, the successor to Lucienne with Zen 3 and Vega 8 graphics and the same old N7 node is expected in the same time frame (Q1-Q3 2022).
Finally, in late 2022, we have got the much-coveted Zen 4 based client range, codenamed Raphael bringing TSMC’s 5nm EUV to the PC space along with an RDNA 2 graphics chipset and DDR5/PCIe 5 standards. You can expect a healthy IPC gain, increased core counts, and significant performance gains on both the single-threaded and multi-threaded fronts. AMD is expected to bring the Zen 4 core to the mobile platform in the first quarter of 2023 (likely around CES 2023) along with the 5nm node.
All in all, it looks like next year is going to be packed with new launches, followed by some relatively stagnant quarters. The end of 2022 will once again be a time of leaks, with the next wave of products from both AMD and Intel lined up for a 2023 launch. Although AMD has the high ground, for the time being, I expect Intel to hit back with Alder Lake and the competition heating up with Warhol/Zen 3D and then Raphael (Zen 4).