A picture of an upcoming LGA1851 desktop CPU has made its way onto the internet. Though a picture of a CPU that’s a year or more from release isn’t particularly amazing, what is interesting is that it appears to be a Meteor Lake sample. While Meteor Lake-S was seemingly canceled, the existence of CPUs such as these tells us Intel got a long way down the Meteor Lake-S development path.
The pictured CPU comes from @wxnod (via Videocardz). The CPU is definitely an LGA1851 sample as the notches near the edge of the chip align with schematics we’ve seen previously. What’s interesting is the date of manufacture.
HKEPC shared the same picture but with the manufacturing date part of the Intel FPO code unblurred. In this case, it’s D234. The 234 denotes the year and month of manufacture, so this CPU was manufactured in week 34 of 2022. That’s just under a year ago. The D should refer to the country of manufacture, but I’m not sure what D stands for. Possibly the D1 fabs in Oregon? That’s only a guess.
HKEPC says this is a Meteor Lake-S sample with a six P cores and eight E cores. An August 2022 manufacturing date would be too early for Arrow Lake-S, so if this is a Meteor Lake chip, It would fit with the manufacturing timeline.
If Meteor Lake-S has been canceled, why are there engineering samples about? The most obvious answer would be that these were made before the decision to cancel. Low yields, poor clock speeds or missed performance targets are all possible reasons for the cancellation. The Raptor Lake refresh (itself a refresh of 12th Gen Alder Lake) does feel like a stopgap measure.
Perhaps these chips are being used to assist motherboard manufacturers with the design of their LGA1851 motherboards. Or maybe they’re being used as test vehicles for the Intel 4 process, the tile architecture, or Foveros packaging.
That’s a lot of speculation from just a picture of a CPU. But while it’s one thing to scrap a chip that’s on the drawing board, it’s another to scrap one that has reached the engineering sample stage.