Intel’s new 11th-gen Rocket Lake-S CPU: Everything you need to know

Intel’s 11th-gen Rocket Lake-S is the first major rework of the company’s desktop computer cores since the 6th-gen Skylake CPU in 2015, and arguably the biggest step forward in years.

It’s also one of the least-secret chips in recent memory. Unofficial information started trickling out right after it was introduced at virtual CES in January, followed by nearly weekly performance leaks. Most recently, a retailer in Germany accidentally started selling the CPUs a month before its official release, engendering a spate of early, unauthorized reviews and even a delidding to look at the cores. 

There’s a lot to keep up with, so we’ll break down everything you need to know. You can also jump to a topic area using the handy list below:

What is Intel 11th-gen Rocket Lake?

  • Why is Rocket Lake built on the ‘ancient’ 14nm process?
  • Why does the 11th-gen Core i9 have fewer cores?
  • What are the speeds and feeds?

Want to buy Intel 11th-gen Rocket Lake?

  • How much do Rocket Lake CPUs cost?
  • When can I buy Rocket Lake?

How does 11th-gen Rocket Lake perform?

  • Doesn’t having only 8 cores mean it’s slower?
  • What does ‘improved efficiency’ mean?
  • Is 11th-gen Rocket Lake faster than Ryzen 5000?
  • Is Rocket Lake faster than Ryzen only in games?
  • Should I believe those performance numbers?
  • But wasn’t 11th-gen Rocket Lake already reviewed? 

More About Rocket Lake

  • Should I care about AVX512 support?
  • Memory may matter more with Rocket Lake
  • The highest gear is only on Core i9
  • Real-time memory overclocking
  • You can overclock RAM on cheaper motherboards
  • Any Rocket Lake CPU supports memory overclocking
  • Rocket Lake supports PCIe 4.0 on Z490 too
  • Rocket Lake’s 500 chipsets support wider DMI 3.0

What is Intel 11th-gen Rocket Lake?

Rocket Lake is an interesting mashup of different CPUs and technologies Intel has amassed. It’s built on Intel’s 14nm process, using cores Intel calls Cypress Cove. Cypress Cove cores are based on the 10nm Sunny Cove cores from Intel’s 10th-gen Ice Lake laptop chips. For graphics, Intel uses the Xe cores from its 11th-gen Tiger Lake laptop CPUs, as well as Tiger Lake’s more advanced media engine, which can decode next-gen codecs such as AV1. 

Why is Rocket Lake built on the ‘ancient’ 14nm process?

Although based on CPU and GPU architectures that were originally built on the more advanced 10nm and 10nm+ Enhanced Finfet manufacturing processes, Intel still decided to build Rocket Lake on its older 14nm process.

Intel likes to say this was a choice that let it push the design to higher speeds, but that’s probably more spin than reality. More likely the company just doesn’t have the capacity to build every chip on a 10nm process today. Basically, when life gives you lemons, you make Rocket Lake.

Why does the 11th-gen Core i9 have fewer cores?

When you take CPU and GPU cores originally designed for a much denser 10nm process and then blow them up to fit on the less-dense 14nm process, they’re going to take up more space. That’s why the 11th-gen desktop chips simply can’t fit 10 cores onto the die space along with the new graphics cores. That means the 11th-gen Core i9-11900K will max out at 8 cores, while the older 10th-gen Core i9-10900K has 10 cores.

What are the speeds and feeds?

If you doubt 11th-gen Rocket Lake will see widespread adoption, Intel’s launch plan suggests otherwise, with a fairly deep list of 18 different chips. They will range from lower-power 6-core Core i7-11400T with a boost clock of  3.7GHz, to the 8-core Core i9-11900K chip, with a 5.3GHz top clock and all-core clock of 4.8GHz.

Source Article