Intel Reveals 11th Gen Core Rocket Lake-S CPUs With A Major Throttle-Up In Performance

intel rocket lake press kit opened
Intel today officially announced its complete family of 11th generation Core (Rocket Lake-S) desktop processors. The company is promising a lot with these new desktop CPUs, including a claimed 19 percent IPC lift over its previous-gen Comet Lake-S, the inclusion of 12th generation Xe graphics on the desktop side, and full support for the PCIe 4.0 interface.
intel rocket lake processors
Core i7-11600K (Left), Core i9-11900K on the (Right)

The big IPC lift is attributed to Intel's new Cypress Cove architecture; a 14nm backport of its 10nm Sunny Cove (Ice Lake) microarchitecture. This performance boost could pay dividends in single-threaded performance -- particularly in games -- against AMD's incredibly potent Ryzen 5000 series. Although it's probably not as much of a sticking point for hardcore gamers, this family's integrated Xe GPU also promises up to a 50 percent increase in performance over the IGP in the Comet Lake-S.

rocket lake features
intel 500 series

Rocket Lake-S processors also feature up to 20 PCIe 4.0 lanes, along with support for DDR4-3200 memory, Intel Deep Learning Boost/VNNI, and Resizable BAR for AMD/NVIDIA graphics cards. Although existing 400 Series motherboards are compatible with Rocket Lake-S processors (including PCIe 4.0 support on many Z490 motherboards), Intel says that the best performance and available features will come with 500 Series motherboards (which have already been released).

500 Series motherboards (capped off by the flagship Z590) support USB 3.2 2x2 20 Gbps connectivity, memory overclocking has been extended to H570 and B560 chipsets, and discrete Wi-Fi 6E connectivity is now supported, along with Thunderbolt 4. In addition, there's continued optional support for Optane Memory and Intel's 2.5GbE.

Intel Rocket Lake-S Performance Expectations

11900K benchmarks
11600K benchmarks

Put it all together, and Intel is citing some respectable performance gains compared to its previous generation Core CPUs. In a head-to-head match pitting the Core i9-10900K against the Core i9-11900K, the latter delivers a 9 percent to 14 percent boost in performance at 1080p resolution (High Quality) in games like Gears 5 and Microsoft Flight Simulator. Microsoft Fight Simulator is a torture test for modern hardware, so any gains there are notable. It's a similar situation with the Core i5-10600K versus the new Core i5-11600K, with a 7 percent to 16 percent performance improvement in the same crop of games.

11900K vs 5900x benchmarks

While comparing generational differences is fine and dandy, most people want to see what Rocket Lake-S can do against Ryzen 5000. In this case, Intel is claiming that the Core i9-11900K, which is an 8-core/16-thread processor, holds its own against the 12-core/24-thread Ryzen 9 5900X. However, the performance delta only ranges from 3 percent to 11 percent in favor of the Core i9-11900K. We must caution that these are Intel-provided figures, of course, and you'll want to wait until our full review is published to get a complete picture of Rocket Lake-S's performance across gaming, productivity, and content creation benchmarks as well.

Meet The Intel Rocket Lake-S Family

intel rocket lake processors bottom
At the very bottom of the lineup is the Core i5-11400T (35W, 6 cores/12 threads) with a base clock of 1.3GHz, a 3.7GHz Turbo Boost 2.0 clock, and an all-core Turbo clock of 3.3GHz. Conversely, at the top of the stack is the Core i9-11900K, boasting a 125 TDP along with 8 cores and 16 threads (down from 10 cores and 20 threads on the Core i9-10900K). This processor packs a base clock of 3.5GHz, 5.1GHz Turbo Boost 2.0 clock, 5.2GHz Turbo Boost Max clock, 5.3GHz Thermal Velocity Boost clock, and finally an all-core Turbo clock of 4.7GHz. Like previous generations, there will also be a Core i9-11900KF without integrated graphics.
rocket lake pricing 2
rocket lake pricing 1

Prices will range from $182 for the Core i3-11400T (6 cores/12 threads), on up to $539 for the Core i9-11900K ($513 for the Core i9-11900KF). However, the real sweet spot is likely with the 8-core/16-thread Core i7-11700K, which is priced at $399 ($379 for the Core i7-11700KF). We'll be keeping an eye on this particular processor SKU for overclocking potential, to see if it will get within striking distance of the Core i9-11900K but on a budget.

As we previously reported, Intel's Rocket Lake-S family goes on sale on March 30th, and our full review of the processors is on deck, so stay tuned!