Intel Core Ultra Meteor Lake CPUs are 13% Faster After this Firmware Update

Intel’s 1st Gen Core Ultra CPUs had a disappointing debut, with AMD’s Ryzen 7000 chips beating them comfortably. Not only is Meteor Lake slower than its year-old Phoenix rivals, but it also draws more power. This is despite new core architectures (It’s a Tic) and the 4nm-class Intel 4 process node. There is some good news. According to UltrabookReview, a new BIOS update improves not only the performance but the power efficiency as well.

Upon updating the Zenbook 14 OLED to BIOS 203, a 12.5% performance uplift was observed in Cinebench. The single and the multi-core scores improved while seeing a reduction in average power consumption. This indicates that future updates may further optimize lightly and heavily threaded workloads, leaving latency-sensitive applications as the weak point.

In Cinebench R23, the CPU starts at 50W and ends up around 35W for the best-effort run. For the 10 min loop, it starts at 50W and then gradually drops and stabilizes at around 28W (after about 5-6 minutes it gets to 28W).

  • 201: CineBench R23: CPU 12357 pts (best run), CPU 11342 pts (10 min loop test), CPU Single Core 1751 pts (best run);
  • 203: CineBench R23: CPU 13873 pts (best run), CPU 12132 pts (10 min loop test), CPU Single Core 1761 pts (best run);

All review units were distributed with pre-release firmware, which, according to multiple testers, suffers from unoptimized power delivery. The latest firmware update fixes a scheduling problem caused by early power measurement, granting nifty gains.

Right now, it’s hard to tell how much improvement we can expect from software and firmware optimizations. From early reviews, it’s clear that the Core Ultra Meteor Lake CPUs have a higher peak power consumption than AMD’s Ryzen 7000 parts. Some OEMs may optimize their designs to leverage this flaw, and we may see better-performing notebooks in the future.

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