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Intel unveils final specs and pricing for its new 11th-gen Rocket Lake-S chips

Written by on March 17, 2021

Intel’s 11th-gen Rocket Lake-S chips are finally crossing the finish line as the latest desktop chips finally go on sale starting March 18. This includes the entire lineup of Core i9, Core i7, Core i5, and Core i3 processors, as well as the typical variants, such as overclockable configurations (K-series), those without integrated graphics (F-series), and small form factor options (T-series).

As a reminder, these 11th-gen chips are the company’s very last 14nm chips and mark the end of a long journey for Intel as it moves to 10nm. Confusingly, 11th-gen Tiger Lake laptop chips are already using the newer 10nm node, outside of the higher-TDP chips used in gaming laptops or creator-based models.

The biggest change in Rocket Lake is a lowered core count. The flagship configuration, the Core i9-11900K, now has been reduced to eight cores and 16 threads. Its predecessor, 10th-gen Comet Lake, had finally moved up to 10 cores and 20 threads, but Intel says it’s been forced to reduce the core count to make room for other features and keep frequencies high enough for desktop.

Intel admitted that the lower core count would result in worsened multi-core performance in multithreaded applications like Cinebench. Of course, that’s precisely where processors like the 12-core Ryzen 5900X and 16-core 5950X from rival AMD thrive.

Intel emphasized that the higher frequencies and IPC (instructions per clock) produce better overall performance in most workflows. Intel pointed to 12% faster performance over its previous generation in Microsoft Office tasks, thanks to the increase in frequency.

Speaking of frequencies, Intel also included info on its numerous boosting technologies, which include Turbo Boost 2.0, Turbo Boost Max 3.0, and Thermal Velocity Boost (TVB). TVB is only available on the Core i9 configurations (except for the T-series model), which allow it an extra 0.1GHz in boosted frequency.

There’s also the A.I.-powered DL (Deep Learning) Boost, which can dramatically speed up tasks in specific applications. Intel says Rocket Lake chips can perform 35% faster in video creation than the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X.

Intel spoke to the media at length about the extra overclocking features of these new chips. The Intel Extreme Utility Tuning application has been given a face-lift, and memory overclocking has been greatly improved. The memory controller is all new, and for the first time, Intel has included real-time memory overclocking, which can be toggled on without a reboot.

The 11th-gen Rocket Lake chips will also be available for purchase in prebuilt systems from third-party partners. Dell has already announced support for the upgrade in its G-series and Alienware gaming desktops.

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