This week, Intel announced its 11th-generation S-series desktop CPUs, codenamed Rocket Lake-S. These are gaming-oriented processors optimized for high clock speeds and performance, available in 19 SKUs ranging from i5-11400T to 19-11900K.
The new chips, based on Intel’s Cypress Cove architecture, claim a 19 percent increase in instructions per clock cycle — a very well-known figure, given that it’s the same number AMD claimed for gene-on-gen IPC uplift between the Zen 2 and Zen 3 architectures. We’ll be doing some practical benchmarking in the near future to determine how important the ‘to’ hedging of that claim matters.
Meanwhile, we are cautiously optimistic about the “up to 19 percent IPC” and “up to 50 percent iGPU” performance Intel claims. As usual, the really big numbers Intel shows for the new generation of processors don’t have much to do with overall CPU performance – they’re pretty directly tied to finding AVX-512 optimized workloads. But the 19 percent isn’t tied to AVX-512, nor has it come at the expense of lower clock speeds or higher-rated TDP.
Intel is also releasing a new Z590 motherboard chipset. Boards built on Z590 offer 20 PCI Express 4.0 lanes, USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 20Gbps ports, Thunderbolt 4, and enhanced Direct Memory Interface. The new boards will also support 10th Gen processors, but those older CPUs don’t have PCIe 4.0 support, so don’t expect a new Z590 board to unlock it.
Rocket Lake-S CPUs are not compatible with H410 or B460 cards and compatibility with Z490 is uncertain at best. If you want a Rocket Lake-S CPU, we highly recommend a new Z590 board.
In another familiar story for Intel, what the new generation does give up is the number of cores, though only at the Core i9 level. The i9-10900K was a 10-core, 125W TDP part with a maximum single-core boost of 5.3GHz; the i9-11900K matches the TDP and frequency, but drops to eight cores. Core i7 and Core i5 CPUs remain 8c/16t and 6c/12t, respectively.
Ars has product samples of the i9-11900K and i5-11600K processors on hand, along with a new Z590 chipset-based motherboard. We will of course offer practical benchmark results later this month.
List image by Intel