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Intel's next-gen Raptor Lake PC chip is due for 2022 release

The successor to today's Alder Lake processor is running Windows, the chipmaker says at CES 2022.

Wafer of Meteor Lake test chips
Intel is working on future PC chips, including Raptor Lake due this year and Meteor Lake, shown here in a wafer of test chips, in 2023.
Stephen Shankland/CNET

This story is part of CES, where CNET covers the latest news on the most incredible tech coming soon.

Intel's next-gen PC chip, Raptor Lake, isn't for sale yet, but it's mature enough to boot Windows. That's the word from Gregory Bryant, Intel's PC chip chief, at CES 2022 on Tuesday.

"With our next generation processors, code-named Raptor Lake, on track, already booting Windows, you can expect even more advancements from us in performance and choice coming later in 2022," Bryant said during Intel's online press conference at the electronics show.

It's not a big surprise that Raptor Lake prototypes are working. But given Intel's manufacturing problems in recent years, it is an important milestone that shouldn't be taken for granted. The company needs to deliver steady progress to show that PCs are as vital as smartphones in our digital lives and to prove that Intel, and not just AMD and Apple, is supplying some of that innovation.

Intel's current chip family, the 12th-gen Core products code-named Alder Lake, began shipping in high-end desktops in 2021. At CES, Intel announced that Alder Lake chips are now powering high-end laptops and more desktops, too. It combines two types of processing cores, performance and efficiency, for computing brawn and battery life.

Intel hasn't revealed details on Raptor Lake, but it'll continue with Alder Lake's hybrid design. Rumors indicate Raptor Lake could offer more processing cores, too, at least in high-end configurations.

Intel has suffered a cascade of setbacks thanks to a major problem upgrading its manufacturing years ago. That's helped AMD gain market share and opened the door for Apple to release its own M series of Mac processors. Intel, led by an engineer again with the return of Pat Gelsinger, is trying to make up for lost time with faster processor manufacturing upgrades.

Beyond Raptor Lake, Intel plans to release a successor called Meteor Lake in 2023. It'll be a more significant departure, employing both a new manufacturing process, called Intel 4, and a package of "chiplets" stacked with an Intel technology called Foveros.