Intel’s 11th-gen Rocket Lake-S desktop processors offer better speeds but less cores
Intel has finally lifted the curtains on its next generation of desktop processors. The company’s new 11th-Gen Rocket Lake-S desktop chip series is a follow-up from last year’s 10th-gen Comet Lake CPUs. It continues to use the 14nm architecture, though, which is probably the biggest disappointment of Intel’s new CPU range. The second disappointment is that due to the 14nm process node’s limitations, this year, the top-end Core i9 processor will have 8-cores which is a downgrade from the Core i9-10900K that came with 10-cores.
Despite using the same node for almost half a decade, Intel has managed to squeeze out every bit of performance. It claims that it can marginally beat the new Ryzen 5000 series desktop processors, and of course, there are some other upgrades, including support for PCIe 4, USB 3.2 2×2 (20G), an IPC (Instruction per cycle/clock) increase of 19%, and more. Intel has backported two of its technologies for the new Rocket Lake chips. These include the Sunny Cove core from the 10nm Ice Lake mobile chips that have been rebuilt on 14nm and rebranded as Cypress Cove.
The new processors also come with new Intel UHD graphics based on the Iris Xe graphics seen last year with the introduction of the 10nm-based 11th-gen Tiger Lake processors for laptops. The new graphics are claimed to offer 50% better-integrated graphics performance. The Rocket Lake-S processors also come with a new memory controller capable of supporting up to 3200MHz of DDR4 RAM.
Intel is finally opening up on the PCIe front as well by offering 20-lane access to the CPU for increased bandwidth. The new processors will continue to offer high-clock speeds led by the new Core i9-11900K, capable of going up to 5.3GHz. Notably, almost all of the enhancements mentioned above will be applicable to the Core i9, Core i7, and Core i5 models, as the Core i3, Pentium, and Celeron chips will continue to follow the same Comet Lake (Skylake) architecture.
The new 11th-gen desktop processors will also come with new overclocking tools, including real-time memory overclocking, which enables changes to DDR4 frequency in real-time without the need to restart your system. Support for memory overclocking is also being extended to H570 and B560 chipsets for the first time. Intel will also offer support for Resizable BAR, letting users enable all of the GPU memory to be accessed by the CPU at once. The new processors also add support for enhanced media, including 10-bit AV1 and 12-bit high-efficiency video coding (HEVC) decode and end-to-end compression, HDMI 2.0, HRB3, Thunderbolt 4, and Intel Wi-Fi 6E support.
Intel has shared some performance parameters where it claims that the 11th-gen Core i9-11900K is capable of delivering up to 11% better gaming performance than the AMD Ryzen 5900X. Compared to its own 10th-gen Core i9-10900K, the new chipset can offer up to 14% better gaming performance. For the ones who don’t want to spend a lot of money on the high-end chip, the 11th-gen Core i5-11600K also offers a decent bump of up to 16% improvement compared to the 10th-gen Core i5 10600K.
A new series of desktop processors also means new mobos. Intel gave us some insight into the new 500-series motherboards, which have already been out in the market since January. The new Z590 should be your choice if you are looking for all the high-end features, while the H570 and B560 boards will take a back seat but provide equally good options at a lower price. The new 500-series will support the new 11th-gen processors, while the 10th-gen desktop processors will also be compatible thanks to the LGA1200 socket. The new 500-series will offer support for USB 3.2 2×2 for 20Gbps speeds, memory overclocking support on the H570 and B560, 20 PCIe Gen 4 lanes support, and discrete Wi-Fi 6E and Thunderbolt 4.
Pricing starts at $182 for the Core i5-11400T, going all the way up to $539 for the Core i9-11900K. The Core i3 and Pentium processor options will continue to have the 10th-gen moniker with minor upgrades with prices ranging from $84 for the entry-level Pentium Gold G6405T to $154 for the Core i3-10325. Intel’s 11th-gen desktop processors are available today.