Intel Core Ultra mobile processors – what you need to know

Let's usher in the new era of AI computing

Intel Core Ultra mobile processors are designed to provide powerful performance in a compact and lightweight form factor. These processors offer exceptional power efficiency, making them an ideal choice for portable devices such as laptops, tablets,

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Intel has marked a significant milestone with its recent release of the Intel Core Ultra mobile processors based on the Meteor Lake architecture. This article delves into the details of the newly released Core Ultra H and Core Ultra U series, providing you with essential information about these groundbreaking chips.

As Intel unveils these processors, the focus shifts to the Core Ultra H series, featuring four SKUs. This series includes two Ultra 7 chips with 16 cores (6P+8E+2LP) and two Ultra 5 chips with 14 cores (4P+8E+2LP). This launch is a leap forward in Intel’s attempt to combine power and portability for the ultra-thin notebook. Keep reading to hear all about Intel’s latest lineup of Core Ultra mobile processors as we usher in the new era of the AI PC.

Intel Core Ultra mobile processors: specs and features

The Intel Core Ultra mobile processors represent a groundbreaking advancement in AI technology for personal computers. These processors are uniquely equipped with dedicated AI acceleration to enhance performance across the CPU, GPU, and NPUs. This breakthrough is tailored for diverse applications, whether that’s for learning, streaming, gaming, or content creation as AI becomes the new mainstream computing technology.

AI PC: a new era of personal computing:

Unveiled on the 14th of December, 2023 at the AI Everywhere event in New York City, these client processors are the most power-efficient ever produced by Intel. They are at the core of over 230 AI PC designs currently entering the market, marking the dawn of the AI PC age.

These processors herald a new era for personal computers, leveraging AI capabilities across various operating systems and applications. The AI PC stands as a testament to Intel’s commitment to innovation, offering unmatched efficiency and intelligence for users on the go, and with the Intel Core Ultra we’re apparently getting the “most AI-capable and power-efficient client processor in Intel’s history”.  

The Intel Core Ultra is the first processor built on Intel’s 4-process technology and incorporating Foveros 3D advanced packaging technology. This processor uses a new Performance-core architecture that improves IPS, a feature needed for every type of use lately. Additionally, its efficient cores and low-power efficient cores (LP E-cores) facilitate efficient multitasking in modern applications.

Here are the SKUs from Intel. The lineup includes four H-series chips, comprising two Core Ultra 7 and two Core Ultra 5 processors.

ProcessorCores (P + E)ThreadsBoost freq.Base power (W)
Intel Core Ultra 9 185H16 (6 + 8)225.1 / 3.845W
Intel Core Ultra 7 165H16 (6 + 8)225.0 / 3.828W
Intel Core Ultra 7 155H16 (6 + 8)184.8 / 3.828W
Intel Core Ultra 5 135H14 (4 + 8)184.6 / 3.628W
Intel Core Ultra 5 125H14(4 + 7)144.5 / 3.628W
Intel Core Ultra 7 165U12 (2 + 8)144.9 / 3.815W
Intel Core Ultra 7 164U12 (2 + 8)144.8 / 3.89W
Intel Core Ultra 7 155U12 (2 + 8)144.8 / 3.815W
Intel Core Ultra 5 135U12 (2 + 8)144.4 / 3.615W
Intel Core Ultra 5 134U12 (2 + 8)144.4 / 3.69W
Intel Core Ultra 5 125U12 (2 + 8)144.3 / 3.515W
Specs table for the lineup of Intel Core Ultra processors

Four U-series processors are also available, with another two each of the Ultra 7 and Ultra 5 models. An Ultra 9 in the H-series is planned for 2024, along with two lower-power U-series models (one Ultra 5 and one Ultra 7).

The top-end Intel Core Ultra 9 185H* boasts 16 cores and 22 threads, with a max turbo frequency of up to 5.1 GHz for P-cores and 3.8 GHz for E-cores. It has a base power of 45W and can turbo up to 115W.

The Intel Core Ultra 7 and 5 series span various capabilities, with core/thread configurations, Smart Cache sizes, and varying max turbo frequencies tailored to different power and performance needs. Furthermore, the U-series processors, like the Intel Core Ultra 7 165U, offer a balance of performance and power efficiency, suitable for ultra-mobile applications.

Intel Core Ultra mobile processors: performance

The Core Ultra 7 165H, showcases an impressive advance in gaming performance. Compared to the 13th Gen Core i7-1370P, the Core Ultra 7 165H is reported to deliver up to 2x the speed. This significant leap in performance is especially noteworthy given the already high standards set by previous generations.

The NPU in these processors is one of three AI engines, alongside the GPU and CPU. This approach to AI processing enables remarkable capabilities. The Core i7-165H, for instance, can deliver up to 34 TeraOPS across the CPU, GPU, and NPU, although a detailed breakdown of TOPS across each component remains unspecified by Intel. This unified processing power is a game-changer in AI-related tasks.

The Ultra 7 165H demonstrates superior capabilities when compared against competitors like the Core i7-1370P and Ryzen 7 7840U with Ryzen AI. Benchmarks show the new chip leading comfortably, indicating Intel’s edge in this nascent arena of AI-enhanced processors. Such performance metrics are particularly intriguing as they represent the early stages of AI integration in consumer processors.

Moreover, Intel’s Core Ultra processors not only excel in raw performance but also energy efficiency. The Ultra series, especially in AI-intensive tasks, shows a 38% reduction in power consumption during Zoom calls, attributed to NPU offloading. With a 2.5x improvement in Int8 power efficiency in UL Procyon AI, again due to the NPU’s capabilities.

What is Intel Core Ultra?

Intel Core Ultra refers to a series of mobile processors developed by Intel, specifically designed for use in portable computing devices like laptops. These processors stand out due to their integration of advanced AI capabilities, making them some of the most AI-capable and power-efficient chips in the market.

Final thoughts

The future looks bright with the anticipated arrival of laptops equipped with Intel’s cutting-edge NPUs, and the upcoming year, 2024, promises to be a game-changer in portable computing. The inclusion of these advanced NPUs in laptops is expected to radically transform how we interact with and utilize these devices.

Introducing AI into the realm of graphics and processors is a pivotal shift in the computing world, and it could be said that we’re on the brink of a major transformation in the way CPUs and GPUs are perceived and valued. Shortly, this will change how we game, work, and even purchase computers. Intel’s Core Ultra mobile processors boast remarkable AI capabilities and are set to establish new benchmarks for performance and efficiency in portable computing devices.

This progression ushers in an era where AI becomes not just an additional feature but a fundamental element that propels the overall performance and capabilities of computing hardware. The integration of AI in laptops is poised to elevate user experiences across various domains, from gaming and content creation to everyday multitasking.

Marla writes across a wide range of topics across PC Guide, including AI, PC hardware, and news on the latest tech releases. She's a passionate writer that's interested in the future of technology.