Intel's 11th-gen Rocket Lake desktop CPUs will max out at 8 cores

Steve Dent
·Associate Editor
·2-min read

Intel has revealed more information about its 11th-generation Rocket Lake S-Series desktop processors that are expected to arrive in Q1 next year. Unlike the 10th-generation chips with up to 10 cores, the new model will top out at 8 cores, as expected. However, they’ll gain in efficiency via an architecture dubbed Cypress Cove, which combines Ice Lake core and Tiger Lake graphics architecture — but uses a 14-nanometer, rather than 10-nanometer scale.

With up to 8 cores rather than 10 on the 10th-gen Core i9-10900K, the chips should be attractive to gamers that depend more on clock speeds. Cypress Cove will allow for “double digit” gains in IPC performance, Intel said. That in turn will allow for better generation-over-generation performance than we saw in the 10th-gen chips, for example. Intel also expects a 50 percent gain in GPU performance compared to the last gen, thanks to the new Xe graphics architecture.

As Intel already revealed, the next-gen chips will match AMD’s latest CPUs with the addition of PCIe 4.0, with up to 20 PCIe 4.0 lanes. That will allow for support of much faster SSDs and other peripherals. Intel is also boosting the memory controller with support for memory speeds up to DDR4-3200.

Other new features will include support for new media controllers, including HEVC (VP9) at up to 4K60p 12-bit 4:4:4, and AV1 at 4K60 10-bit 4:2:0. System with the chips will also support DP1.4a, HDMI 2.0b, and HBR3, with up to three 4K60p or two 5K60p displays. Finally, Intel has added VNNI for improved AI performance.

Rocket Lake should allow Intel to at least keep up with AMD until its 10-nanometer chips finally arrive. We’ll have to wait for the chips to launch in Q1 of 2021 to learn the price and other details, however.