Intel Launches 11th Gen Desktop Processors

Today Intel officially allowed us to reveal details about its 11th generation Core processors, specifically the desktop version. The new processors codenamed Rocket Lake carry a new microarchitecture in both the CPU and the integrated GPU portions of the processors.

As we learned earlier this year Intel is naming their new microarchitectures after coves instead of lakes. All jokes aside, this new architecture is supposed to be a pretty good improvement over the original Skylake Architecture, and Intel is claiming up to a 19% increase in IPC performance. The next part is Intel’s new graphics, the 750 series Gen 12 graphics based on Intel’s Xe series with 32 execution units (EUs).

Here we have the basic core structure of the new 11th gen core series desktop processors. We can see it can expand to up to 8 cores, and feature the new 700-series generation graphics depending on the SKU. It also adds built-in AI support, E2E compression, higher DRAM support, enhanced graphics outputs, new overclocking features, more DMI lanes, and of course PCI-E 4.0 lanes (four for an M.2 slot).

The new processors are compatible with both 400-series chipsets as well as the new 500-series chipsets. Motherboard cost will be a bit high as the new 500-series support PCI-E 4.0, something not all 400-series motherboards do. However the new motherboards offer a slew of new features the 400-series did not. That includes USB 3.2 2×2 (20Gbps), a doubled DMI lane structure (so a x8 connection), x20 PCI-E 4.0 lanes (four for M.2), discrete WIFI 6E support, discrete Thunderbolt 4 support. The new chipsets, be it Z590, H570, or B560 all support memory overclocking. The motherboards are also backwards compatible with 10th generation core processors.

Although the new 8-core 11900K has two fewer cores than the 10900K, it seems to hold its own against its predecessor due to increases from increased IPC performance. So far in games, Intel’s numbers indicated steady performance.

Compared to rival CPUs from AMD, Intel is claiming to hold a lead in gaming. We think this possibly has to do with those IPC increases, but also higher clock speeds.

Here we see the 11600K, Intel’s most bang for the buck high performance gaming CPU. Here we see a lot of increases over its predecessor, which we hope, and expect, will hold true in our own testing.

Intel has once again added overclocking “knobs”, which we really like. The new additions to the overclocking capabilities of the new CPUs look to be focused on memory improvements. We should mention that Intel did state in their briefing that the new 11th generation CPUs carry a brand new memory controller. While they did add memory overclocking support for the lower-end H570 and B560 chipset motherboards, they also added support for gear 2, a wider timing range, and the ability to change memory frequency in real-time. Gear two allows you to cut down memory controller frequency in half while maintaining DRAM frequency. These changes look like they are meant to increase overall top memory frequency, and as we approach, albeit slowly, towards the end of DDR4 and into DDR5 range down the road, we should see many people with memory kits in the 4000MHz-5000MHz range, so these tuning options will be important to tweaking everything to get the most out of memory. We also get some added relief with AVX offset and voltage guard, as most gamers don’t use these instruction sets when gaming, but their overclocking tests and other usage scenarios might engage these ISAs and more voltage and alas power to run to those functional units. We also have selective core frequency, and Intel said that their new XTU program will provide the ability to figure out which cores are best, and that some motherboards might offer this feature in the UEFI.

As we stated earlier the new chipsets will offer many improved overclocking features, and they are not limited to just the Z-series products any longer.

Now we get to the good stuff. Here you can see the lineup, clocks, memory targets, cache, and even price of all the CPUs. The 11900K chimes in at $539, but we aren’t sure how vendors will treat the Intel CPU launch in regards to supply and demand, which obviously will probably take up price points. $539 is an attractive price point.

Here we see Intel’s 11600K, which is supposed to be, or we assume, their top bang for the buck gaming CPU. It chimes in at $262. That is a very attractive price point for a new generation Intel gaming CPU. Hopefully, by the time people get their hands on the CPUs, GPU inventories will increase so people can once again build gaming PCs without hunting for GPUs on the 2nd or even 3rd hand markets.

Finally, we have the rest of the Intel desktop S-series SKUs, and their price points are also attractive. A lot of these CPUs have attractive boost speeds, and while none of these are unlocked K-SKUs, they still offer a lot of value. We will have our review of the new top of the line SKUs coming out when NDA lifts, so stay tuned!

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