Intel Rocket Lake to be Limited to Core i5s, i7s and i9s: To Launch in Q1 2021

As per sources, Intel will be launching its Rocket Lake-S desktop processors in Q1 2020, possibly in February for the gaming and enthusiast market. This lineup is going to be the last based on the super-mature 14nm node, but unlike its predecessors, it’ll leverage a new core architecture: Sunny or Willow Cove or perhaps a hybrid between the two.

The Tiger Lake mobile client architecture, built using Intel 10nm SuperFin technology, achieves a greater than generational performance increase in both its CPU and graphics and adds a number of new features — all while increasing power efficiency. At Architecture Day in August 2020, Intel Chief Architect Raja Koduri, Intel fellows and architects provided details on the progress Intel is making. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

Rocket Lake is going to launch on both the desktop and notebook platforms and substitute the Comet Lake-U and Y in the latter. However, from what we’re hearing, it appears that Rocket Lake will be limited to the mid-range and higher-end markets. That means no Core i3s or Celeron/Pentium chips.

Rocket Lake will primarily include three SKU families, namely the Core i5s, Core i7s and Core i9s. The latter will pack up to eight cores and sixteen threads with boost clocks exceeding 5GHz while the Core i5s (hex-core) and i7s (octal-core) will be limited to 12 logical cores.

Then there’s Tiger Lake-H for the high-performance gaming and content creator market. This chips will most likely land in the second half of 2021 with as many as eight cores and sixteen threads. Just like the Tiger Lake-U lineup, these will feature the 10nm SuperFin node and Gen 12 Xe graphics with up to 96 EUs.

Looking at the cramped launch schedule, it looks like Intel likely won’t label Rocket Lake-S as a separate 11th Generation, rather an extension of the 10th Gen family. This would make sense as they are going to support the same socket and chipset. The primary difference is the upgrade to the PCIe standard from Gen 3 to Gen 4 with more lanes. All higher-end Z400 series boards already support this feature and a firmware update (and of course, a compatible processor) is all you need to enable it.

Intel’s CPU core roadmap now includes a new Alder Lake performance hybrid architecture that will combine Golden Cove and Gracemont cores in one highly efficient product arriving in 2021. At Architecture Day in August 2020, Intel Chief Architect Raja Koduri, Intel fellows and architects provided details on the progress Intel is making. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

As for Alder Lake-S which will be like Lakefield in terms if core topography, packing up to eight Gracement (low-power), and eight Golden Cove (hi-perf) cores. These will be the first mainstream desktop lineup from Intel to be fabbed on the 10nm++ SuperFin node. They are slated to arrive in Q3 2021. On the graphics side, they’ll feature the Gen12 Xe iGPU as well but only a fraction of the shaders. The higher-end variant will top out at 32 CUs or 256 shader units, with an operating clock of 1.1-1.2GHz and 512kB of L2 cache.



Computer hardware enthusiast, engineering dropout, and PC gamer. Former co-founder of Techquila (2017-2019), a fairly successful tech outlet. Been working on Hardware Times since 2019, an outlet dedicated to computer hardware and its applications.

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