Intel’s Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPUs are the latest generation of mobile processors that offer a breakthrough in performance, efficiency, and AI capabilities. These processors use a novel 3D architecture that combines different chipsets on a single package, enabling higher performance per watt and greater flexibility. With the recent release of a new BIOS update from ASUS, one of the leading laptop manufacturers, the Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPUs have shown even more impressive results in various tests and benchmarks.
Intel’s Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPUs
Overview and Release
Intel launched its first wave of Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPUs on December 14, 2023, with eight models in the H-series and U-series. The H-series processors are designed for high-performance laptops, such as gaming and content-creation machines, while the U-series processors are optimized for thin-and-light laptops, such as ultraportables and convertibles. The Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPUs are the first to use Intel’s Foveros packaging technology, which allows different chipsets to be stacked vertically on a base die, reducing inter-chipset latencies and improving power efficiency. The chipsets include a performance core (P), an efficiency core (E), and a low-power efficiency core (LP-E), each fabricated on a different node that suits its characteristics. The P core is based on the 10nm Golden Cove architecture, the E core is based on the 7nm Gracemont architecture and the LP-E core is based on the 7nm Tremont architecture. The Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPUs also feature a dedicated AI engine, called the Neural Processing Unit (NPU), which can accelerate various AI tasks, such as image recognition, natural language processing, and voice assistants.
Performance and Efficiency Improvements with Updated BIOS
The Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPUs have shown impressive performance and efficiency improvements with the updated BIOS from ASUS, which is available for download from the ASUS Download Center. The updated BIOS enhances the stability and compatibility of the Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPUs, as well as optimizes the power management and thermal control. According to ASUS, the updated BIOS can boost the performance of the Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPUs by up to 15% in some scenarios, such as gaming and video editing, while also extending the battery life by up to 20% in some cases, such as web browsing and video playback. The updated BIOS also improves the AI performance of the Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPUs, by enabling the NPU to run at higher frequencies and utilize more power.
ASUS BIOS Update
Impact on Intel Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPUs
ASUS is one of the first laptop manufacturers to support the Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPUs, with several models in its product lines, such as the ROG Zephyrus, the ZenBook Pro, and the VivoBook S. ASUS has also released a BIOS update for these models, which can enhance the performance and efficiency of the Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPUs, as well as improve the user experience and system stability. The BIOS update can be downloaded from the ASUS Download Center, or installed via the EZ Update utility in the AI Suite 3 app. The BIOS update is compatible with all the Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPUs, regardless of the model or generation.
Improvements in Performance and Efficiency
The BIOS update from ASUS can improve the performance and efficiency of the Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPUs in several ways. First, the BIOS update can increase the maximum turbo frequency of the P core, the E core, and the NPU, allowing them to run faster and deliver higher performance in demanding tasks, such as gaming, content creation, and AI applications. Second, the BIOS update can optimize the power management and thermal control of the Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPUs, enabling them to run cooler and quieter, and consume less power in idle and low-load scenarios, such as web browsing, video playback, and office work. Third, the BIOS update can enhance the compatibility and stability of the Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPUs, by fixing some bugs and issues that may cause system crashes, freezes, or errors.
Initial Tests and Results
Benchmarks and Surprises
Several tech websites and reviewers have tested the Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPUs with the updated BIOS from ASUS, and have reported positive results and surprises. For example, PCMag tested the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16, which features the Core Ultra 9 185H processor, and found that it outperformed the previous generation Core i9-11980HK processor in several benchmarks, such as Cinebench R23, PCMark 10, and Handbrake. The Core Ultra 9 185H processor also showed a significant improvement in battery life, lasting for 11 hours and 15 minutes in the PCMag battery rundown test, compared to 7 hours and 48 minutes for the Core i9-11980HK processor. Another example is HotHardware, which tested the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED, which features the Core Ultra 7 165H processor, and found that it surpassed the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor in some benchmarks, such as Geekbench 5, 3DMark Time Spy, and SPECviewperf 13. The Core Ultra 7 165H processor also demonstrated a remarkable efficiency, consuming only 45 watts of power under full load, compared to 65 watts for the Ryzen 9 5900HX processor.
AI Performance and NPU Capabilities
One of the most notable features of the Core Ultra “Meteor Lake” CPUs is the NPU, which can accelerate various AI tasks, such as image recognition, natural language processing, and voice assistants. The NPU is a specialized hardware unit that can perform matrix multiplications and convolutions, which are the basic operations of neural networks, at a much faster rate and lower power consumption than the general-purpose CPU cores. The NPU can also support different AI frameworks and libraries, such as TensorFlow, PyTorch, and OpenVINO, and can run various AI models, such as ResNet, BERT, and GPT-3. The NPU can also work in conjunction with the CPU cores, the GPU, and the memory, to form a heterogeneous computing system that can handle complex and diverse AI workloads. The NPU can also be accessed and controlled by the user, via the Intel AI Suite app, which can monitor the NPU status, adjust the NPU settings, and run the NPU benchmarks.