Intel’s next generation desktop chips have finally been announced. After a brief preview at CES 2021, the company fully unveiled its 11th Generation desktop chips (better known by their codenames Rocket Lake-S).
With eight cores, 16 threads, increased clock speeds up to 5.3GHz, DDR4 RAM support at 3,200MHz, a total of 20 PCIe 4.0 lanes and backward compatibility, Intel’s new flagship chip Core i9-11900K tops the list. This processor is also backward compatible with Intel’s 400 Series chipsets. Careful Intel enthusiasts, the new chip on paper, last year’s top model; They may notice a drop compared to the Core i9-10900K, which offers 10 cores and 20 threads (and a similar increased clock speed like 5.3 GHz).
This is because Intel has released a new desktop core architecture for the first time in more than five years with 11th Gen Rocket Lake-S chips called Cypress Cove. Cypress Cove has finally replaced the Skylake microarchitecture that the company has used since the 6th Generation chips in 2015. However, the Cypress Cove design is not actually a completely new microarchitecture. Willow Cove chip designs and technologies used in Intel’s 11th Gen 10nm Tiger Lake chips also support Intel’s 14nm manufacturing process.
Since these designs are developed for 10nm-based chips, Intel is limited in the number of cores it can fit when scaling them up to 14nm. Therefore, a decrease in the number of seeds occurs every year. Still, Intel says the new chips will offer better performance (at least in some cases) than the 10th Generation, and the core architecture will provide IPC (instruction per cycle) up to 19 percent over the previous generation.
Intel’s argument here is that the number of cores alone is not enough. Frequency speed and performance are also important, and thanks to the maturity of the 14nm manufacturing process, Intel is very good at squeezing every drop of performance from these chips.
Intel’s benchmarks naturally support this argument: We’re seeing head-on results with last year’s Core i9-10900K. i9-11900K; Gears 5 performed between 8 and 14 percent better in games like Grid 2019, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and Total War: Three Kingdoms. Also, Intel says its best chip outperforms AMD’s flagship Ryzen 9 5900X processor for these games (3 to 11 percent better than Intel’s benchmarks). he says, but the differences remain in slightly smaller margins.
However, all of Intel’s tests run at 1080p. For this reason, it is necessary to make a more comprehensive comparison in a wider range of games and especially in 4K resolution. We will see these results in the upcoming reviews.
The new architecture also offers up to 50 percent better integrated graphics performance compared to the Gen9, thanks to the company’s new Xe graphics. Considering these are desktop chips that will almost certainly be paired with a high-quality discrete graphics card, this isn’t the most groundbreaking development. While Intel will offer several F-series models of new GPU-less chips, the overall design still looks the same on these models. This means Intel will not offer any niche models that avoid integrated GPUs to fit more cores, at least for now.
The new chips contain other improvements. 11th Gen chips add Resizable BAR for increased frame rate on compatible Nvidia and AMD graphics cards. There’s also built-in support for Intel’s own Thunderbolt 4, along with both USB 3.2 Gen 2 × 2 at 20Gb / s and DDR4-3200 RAM. Intel added four additional Gen 4 PCIe lanes for a total of 20.
As is the tradition for every major new chip announcement, Intel is launching its 500 series motherboards with new processors. However, Rocket Lake-S CPUs will also be backwards compatible with 400 series motherboards.
Additionally, there are some new overclocking options, along with new chips for users who want to get more power. Specifically, Intel’s Extreme Tuning Utility software is being refreshed with 11th Gen chips as well as a new user interface and some updated features. The new 11th Gen Intel desktop processors have been distributed worldwide as of yesterday.