14th Gen Intel chips could support ray tracing – and really bring it to the masses

Intel Meteor Lake processors, the next generation of processors from Intel due out in 2023, are expected to support ray tracing on a tiled GPU architecture, marking a major breakthrough for the technology.

Ray tracing is a rendering process that illuminates a rendered scene by mimicking the way we actually see light. It sounds almost silly (don’t we see all the light?), but making an artificial scene look natural requires calculating the complex physics involved in the behavior of light, and it’s a genuinely arduous task from a computing point of view.

As it stands, ray tracing technology is currently only viable on gaming PCs with the best graphics cards or the best gaming laptops with discrete GPUs, making it a game-changing technology that remains locked into more “elite” applications on high-end hardware.

Intel brings the technology to its “integrated” Intel Xe graphics platform is a major advancement in technology that could, however, make it much more accessible. We put here embedded in quotes since – as Wccftech (opens in a new tab) underline – this is not quite the same as current generation integrated graphics; it’s actually a tiled architecture that looks more like a system-on-chip than a traditional integration into a single CPU chip.

What matters though is that it’s the type of chip that will be built into standard laptops like ultrabooks or even the best Chromebooks that feature more robust specs like the one in our HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook review.

Intel is already working on its own graphics upscaling technology to partner with its somewhat beleaguered Intel Arc desktop graphics cards, and this technology could easily make its way into 14th Gen Intel processors. If so, that could make some of the best cheap laptops into very capable 1080p gaming machines.

Could Intel Meteor Lake bring next-gen graphics to everyday users?

Ray Tracing in Shadowlands

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

While we haven’t even gotten our hands on the Intel Raptor Lake chips yet – those are expected to launch as early as October this year – the first Intel Meteor Lake chips could land as early as late 2023. If so , you could play something like Cyberpunk 2077 on modest settings and some ray tracing on a base Dell XPS 13 at a playable frame rate.

That’s not to say that a single processor will turn even the best Ultrabooks into true gaming laptops. – with proper settings tweaks (and scaling technology) – you won’t be limited to playing light or casual games like Civilization VI on a basic laptop.

As for desktops, it will be less advanced, as most desktops have a spare PCIe slot to insert one of the best cheap ray-tracing capable graphics cards, and those will run in circles around the integrated graphics of the best processors. in Intel’s 14th generation lineup.

So this is primarily an issue for laptops, which is by far the fastest growing segment of the computing market. Traditional laptops tend to be quite light on gaming performance, as this greatly improves power efficiency (aka battery life) and lowers costs.

By integrating a ray-tracing GPU into the standard processor package of these laptops, we’re going to see much more powerful performance across a whole range of graphics-intensive applications, from video streaming to gaming, at a much more expensive price. affordable.

We’ve tasted this kind of performance before, and it’s really impressive

An Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED on a laptop stand

(Image credit: future)

We’ve seen something similar before in our Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED review, which is one of the first laptops to feature an AMD processor with integrated RDNA 2 graphics.

While the gaming performance isn’t mind-blowing in absolute terms, the fact that you can even run Port Royal on an Ultrabook is a major step up. Unfortunately, finding the ZenBook S 13 OLED is a frustrating challenge, which wouldn’t be the case with a laptop running Intel Meteor Lake.

While it will still be a while before we see these laptops, it’s good to know they’re coming, and it could offer consumers a lot more performance without having to make the total sacrifices for affordability like they have to. do it currently. This can only be good for everyday consumers, whether you are a serious gamer or not.

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