While Intel is leaning heavily on AI PCs with its Core Ultra notebook chips, it still has plenty of new products for gamers and speed demons who demand power above all. At CES 2024 in Las Vegas, Intel revealed its complete 14th-generation CPU family, which includes powerful "HX" series chips like the 24-core i9-14900HX, as well as new mainstream desktop CPUs. And for the other end of the power spectrum, Intel also unveiled the Core U Processor Series 1, which balances performance and efficiency in thin and light notebooks.
Sure, it's confusing to see Intel juggle two completely different laptop chip platforms — its Core Ultra chips and 14th-gen hardware — but they each serve a different purpose. (And really, it's not too different from Intel's typical split between ultraportable processors and those meant for beefier rigs.) For most notebook buyers, the Core Ultra chips make the most sense: They're still decently fast, they can offer great gaming performance when paired with external GPUs and they feature all of Intel's latest chip technology, including AI-accelerating NPUs. But, if you just want a speedy machine for extreme gaming and media creation, the raw power of a 14th-gen HX chip may make more sense.
The Core i9-14900HX, Intel's most powerful new laptop chip, features eight P-cores and 16 E-cores and a 5.8GHz turbo frequency. Intel claims it beats AMD's Ryzen 7945X3D in gaming performance by 17 percent, and it's also 51 percent faster than the Ryzen 7945HX for multitasking a virtual production (using Unreal Engine 5's MetaHuman generator and RealityCapture software). The Core i7-14700HX, meanwhile, features 20 total cores, including 4 more E-cores than the previous model. The 14th-gen HX chips will also support Thunderbolt 5 and 4 connections, as well as Wi-Fi 6E and discrete hardware for the new Wi-Fi 7 standard.
Intel is also announcing 18 new 14th-gen desktop chips today, which join the initial unlocked batch from October. These chips also top out with 24 cores in the $549 i9-14900, which can hit up to 5.8GHz. According to Intel's benchmarks, the Core i9-14900 isn't much faster than its 13th-gen predecessor (it's six percent faster in League of Legends). But Intel claims its a step up from AMD's Ryzen 9 7900: The new chip is 15 percent faster than AMD's in the CrossMark benchmark, and it's also 32 percent faster in Premiere Pro's PugetBench.
As for Intel's Core U-Series platform, expect to find them in the slim computers that used to sport its previous U-series chips. They top out with the Intel Core 7 150U, a 10-core chip (2 P-cores and 8 E-cores) that can reach up to 5.4GHz. The mid-range Core 5 120U has the same amount of cores but slightly slower clock speeds, while the Core 3 100U is a 6-core chip that hits 4.7GHz.
We're reporting live from CES 2024 in Las Vegas from January 6-12. Keep up with all the latest news from the show here.