Manufacturers Roll Out New Firmware For Next-Gen Intel CPUs

ROG Maximus Z790 Apex
ROG Maximus Z790 Apex (Image credit: Asus)

At least two motherboard manufacturers have started to roll out new firmware to accommodate Intel's next-generation processor. The firmware release aligns with the rumored October release for Intel's Raptor Lake Refresh lineup, which will fight for a spot on the list of best CPUs.

ASRock (via momomo_us) deployed a new firmware for the B760M PG Sonic WiFi motherboard yesterday. The changelog expressly confirms "support for next-generation processors." Asus isn't falling behind, either. The company (via HXL) has also released new firmware for the overclocking-eccentric ROG Maximus Z790 Apex motherboard to "improve system stability and compatibility for the next-gen processors."

The cat has been out of the bag for a while now that Intel had planned to refresh the company's 13th Generation Raptor Lake processors, which came out just last year. Since Meteor Lake stays on mobile only, like Tiger Lake, and Arrow Lake isn't allegedly ready until the fourth quarter of 2024, the only viable candidate for a "next-gen processor" would be Raptor Lake Refresh. It makes sense to have an interim lineup to compete with AMD if the next Intel desktop processor doesn't land until late next year.

As with most of Intel's refreshes, better clock speeds are almost a given. The higher clock speeds contribute to higher power consumption, though. Logically, the power consumption falls in function with how aggressively Intel plans to clock Raptor Lake Refresh. Intel's Raptor Lake processors are already great at supporting high-frequency DDR5 memory. However, the chips struggle with DDR5-8000 and above memory. It's plausible that the refreshed processors may have a more capable integrated memory controller (IMC) as memory vendors start pushing out faster memory kits. It's unknown if Intel has made any more improvements under the hood. We won't find out until Raptor Lake Refresh's launch day.

Raptor Lake Refresh utilizes the same formula as the vanilla counterparts. Therefore, a minor firmware update will enable existing Intel 600-and 700-series motherboards to house the new chips. But we can't discard the probability that motherboard brands will likely take the opportunity to release revamped motherboards with more features. Depending on how much Intel has tuned the clock speeds and the power consumption on the upcoming chips, consumers may or may not be able to recycle their cooling solutions.

After over 15 years, Intel has drastically changed how it brands consumer processors. However, leaked information from China claims that we should still see the current branding on Raptor Lake Refresh. The rebranding with the whole "Core Ultra" shenanigans won't be effective until Meteor Lake, that's set for launch in the fourth quarter of this year.

Despite all the chatter and speculation about the Raptor Lake Refresh, we still haven't seen any leaked benchmarks to see what performance improvement awaits consumers. Assuming that Raptor Lake Refresh is ready for October, it shouldn't be long until we start seeing results emerge from the online benchmark databases that vendors and reviewers like to frequent.

Zhiye Liu
RAM Reviewer and News Editor

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.

  • m1nt24
    Just checked Gigabyte's website as I was looking to update my BIOS, and it looks like a Z690 motherboard is also getting support for 14th gen as well with version F24b, albeit it is the beta version:
    "Supports and powers up Intel next generation processor"