Intel Rocket Lake-S CPUs Rumored With PCIe 4.0, Thunderbolt 4, Xe Graphics Coming Late 2020

Intel Rocket
Intel's 10th generation Comet Lake-S desktop processors aren't even here yet, but there's already talk about its successor: Rocket Lake-S. Comet Lake is built on Intel's 14nm CPU architecture, and will reportedly be available in up to 10-core configurations. Rocket Lake-S will also be 14nm based.

According to a new report reportedly based on information from internal Intel sources, Rocket Lake-S will launch late in 2020 alongside new 500-Series motherboards. According to a leaked slide, Rocket Lake-S will feature Willow Cove microarchitecture (also found in upcoming Tiger Lake processors), albeit while being built on the 14nm process node. 

intel core roadmap

We don't know anything about the core configurations of Rocket Lake-S, but given that Comet Lake-S maxes out at 10 cores/20 threads, we'd expect to see at least 10-core chips in this new family. It remains to be seen, however, if Intel will be tempted to embrace a 12-core/24-thread design as seen on AMD's current Ryzen 9 3900X. Rumors claim that Intel is currently having issues with heat output with the Core i9-10900K, which might put the kibosh on those hopes.

One other big thing of note with this leaked information is that Rocket Lake-S and its supporting 500-Series motherboards will support 20 total PCI Express (PCIe) 4.0 lanes. In addition, Thunderbolt 4 and USB 3.2 support will be thrown into the mix, which will make this a rather versatile platform for consumers. There's also a mention that Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX) Security has been removed in this generation.

rocket lake diagram

Finally, there is further confirmation that Rocket Lake-S will be using Intel's Xe-based graphics, which is also expected to make its initial debut in Tiger Lake mobile processors. Xe is Intel's all-new GPU architecture and is expected to be offer significant gains in performance over the current Gen11 IGP found in 10nm Ice Lake processors.

Given that we don't even have a firm launch date set for Comet Lake-S, the official launch timeframe for Rocket Lake-S is unclear other than previous "Late 2020" indicators. And given how COVID-19 has enacted its wrath around the globe, we wouldn't be surprised to see that release pushed until 2021.