Intel leak suggests MacBook-beating laptops could trouble Apple sooner than expected

Intel’s Lunar Lake processors have been somewhat under the radar thus far, so it’s interesting to see a leak pop up around the future CPUs.

As a quick refresher – the various lakes Intel employs are confusingly numerous – the next-gen chips from Intel are Meteor Lake (laptop chips, due in December) and Raptor Lake Refresh (desktop, strongly rumored to be launching this month, but we don’t have official word on that).

Intel’s following launches after those chips are Arrow Lake and Lunar Lake, with the former covering desktop territory (and also laptops), but the latter will be mobile processors for notebooks only. Specifically, Lunar Lake is focused really tightly on obtaining excellent power efficiency to benefit laptops and battery life, sipping power very frugally indeed.

So, with all that in mind, the leaked Lunar Lake CPU was spotted in the SiSoftware Sandra benchmark suite as flagged up by Everest on X (formerly Twitter).

The actual benchmark result at this point doesn’t really tell us much, as this is still very early days, and the spec details aren’t exactly fully clear either – but the latter is where the juicy nuggets lie.

As Tom’s Hardware points out, this processor appears to be a chip with four performance cores and four efficiency cores, and that backs up a previous piece of speculation that the top CPU for Lunar Lake will be a 4+4 configuration here.

In other words, what we’re likely seeing is the flagship for Lunar Lake, albeit an early test version of the processor, of course.

Further specs detailed include boost speeds running up to 3.9GHz, and a base clock of 1GHz (clearly something to do with this being a sample chip). Power usage is shown at 17W, again aligning with expectations from the rumor mill – remember, this is the flagship CPU in theory, too, which will drain the most power.

Analysis: Lunar landing happening sooner than thought?

As we’ve mentioned before, while a 4+4 core count might seem rather disappointing for a contemporary flagship (mobile) CPU, that isn’t really the point with Lunar Lake. These CPUs will seek to carve out relatively peppy performance for their very low power envelope, so they can go in very thin and light laptops, and still be a decent engine for driving everyday computing tasks.

All of that seems to be shaping up to happen, and it’s interesting to see that this leaked benchmark backs up the previous rumor about the 4+4 core count.

What’s also noteworthy here is that seeing sample processors being benchmarked now suggests that we’ll see Lunar Lake arrive perhaps in a quicker timeframe than past rumors have suggested.

We were previously expecting Lunar Lake in late 2024, or maybe early 2025, just after Arrow Lake. But other buzz on the grapevine has hinted that it could arrive alongside Arrow Lake, perhaps – which itself is expected later in 2024. And benchmarks happening already for Lunar Lake seem to back up that theory to some extent.

In other words, in about a year’s time, we could well be able to buy Arrow Lake processors and svelte laptops powered by Lunar Lake chips. Everything we keep hearing from Intel about its CPU roadmap is that all future generations are well on track, and this leak does nothing to suggest otherwise, that’s for sure.

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