Leaked benchmarks for a six-core twelve-thread Rocket Lake S part paint a depressing picture for Team Blue: The Rocket Lake CPU in question scored 8 percent lower than Intel’s budget i5-10400. It’s important to note here that the Rocket Lake-S part in question is an engineering sample, coming in at a much lower clock frequency than it’ll likely ship with. The engineering sample features a 4.2 GHz boost clock, which is 100 MHz lower than the i5-10400.
Even if the shipping Rocket Lake S chip is clocked 10 percent higher, at 4.6 GHz, it wouldn’t be significantly faster than the Comet Lake i5-10400. Now, if Rocket Lake was just another case of putting moldy, leftover Skylake in the oven and hoping no one gets food poisoning, these results wouldn’t be a problem. However, Rocket Lake S purportedly uses cores based on Intel’s new Willow Cove architecture, backported to the 14nm process. Willow Cove is supposed to deliver substantial IPC gains, something we are evidently not seeing right here. If Willow Cove turns out to be a dud on the 14nm process, this casts doubt on Intel performance not just this year or next year, but well into the 2020s.