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Intel Rocket Lake (11th-gen) Release Date, Price & Spec Rumours

Intel was once the undisputed champ when it came to PC processors, but the competition has caught up in recent years. That includes AMD, whose recently-released Ryzen 5000 series sets a new standard for desktop performance. 

Unlike its big rival, Intel tends to release laptop chips ahead of the desktop equivalent. That’s why we saw the 11th-gen ‘Tiger Lake’ processors released in September but aren’t expecting Rocket Lake to arrive until next year. Here’s everything we know so far. 

Intel Rocket Lake release date

In a post on Medium, Intel has confirmed that its next desktop processors will arrive in ‘Q1 2021‘. That’s any time during the first three months of the year. 

A more concrete release date was first reported just a few days later, with Spanish site HD Tecnología suggesting a March 2021 unveiling. While we couldn’t verify those claims at the time, a subsequent Wccftech article also points to the same month, so we’d be surprised to see Intel deviate from this. 

Videocardz is going one better, suggesting Intel has recently changed the launch window to Week 10 of 2021 – that’s 8-14 March. Nothing has been confirmed just yet, but it doesn’t seem far wide of the mark. 

Intel Rocket Lake price

While Tiger Lake processors are only available within particular laptops, it’s a different story for the desktop chips. Expect pricing to be roughly in line with how much you pay for current-gen Comet Lake:

  • Core i9-10900K – US$488
  • Core i7-10700K – US$374
  • Core i5-10600K – US$262

However, AMD bumped up the price of all its Ryzen 5000 series processors by US$50, and it may be a similar story if they deliver significant improvements.

Intel Rocket Lake spec rumours

It’s month’s before Intel’s desktop chips are expected to be released, so news is relatively thin on the ground. The only feature that was confirmed in the official Medium post was support for PCIe 4.0, the latest generation of motherboard interface for SSDs, graphics cards and more. However, it was also described as “another fantastic processor for gaming”, and we wouldn’t expect Intel to rest on its laurels when you consider the strength of the competition.

In a subsequent Intel Newsroom post, the company shed more light on the upgrades we can expect with Rocket Lake. The new processors will be based on the same Cypress Cove architecture as the current Ice Lake chips, albeit with the new Intel Xe integrated graphics. This contradicts earlier reports from Wccftech, which suggested a brand new architecture might be launched alongside Rocket Lake.

Elsewhere, Rocket Lake is also set to support improved DDR4 memory speeds, increased max display resolutions and more CPU PCIe lanes. See full details in the infographic below:

Image: Intel

Unfortunately, it’s widely expected that Intel will stick with the 10nm manufacturing process on its desktop chips, despite the AMD Ryzen 5000 series already sporting 7nm.

The same Videocardz article mentioned above suggests the new chips will still be compatible with 400-series motherboards, so most people with recent hardware won’t have to upgrade. Specifically, Wccftech says Rocket Lake will be compatible with Z490 motherboards, but these will max out at PCIe 3.0 and not the new 4.0 standard. As such, we’re expecting Intel to launch 500-series motherboards alongside the new chips. 

As The Verge reports, we’re also expecting the Rocket Lake-S processors to come with the new built-in Xe graphics and Thunderbolt 4 support. However, Intel may release two generations of desktop processors in 2021, with the more ‘Alder Lake’ expected to provide the high-end performance to challenge AMD. 

However, the latest benchmarks show encouraging signs for Rocket Lake’s performance capabilities. Twitter user @TUM_APISAK is becoming a regular at unearthing benchmark performance, although we can’t be 100% sure of the accuracy of these figures. 

The 8-core i7-10700K in the current generation scored 148 for single-core performance, suggesting the new processor provides a boost of around 21% over its predecessor. However, that’s expected to be the highest number of cores available while Rocket Lake, while there’s an additional 10-core option with Comet Lake.

We’ll update this article as soon as we know more. In the meantime, get the full lowdown on Intel’s Tiger Lake laptop processors. 

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