Intel’s 11th Gen desktop CPUs are being prepped for an early 2021 launch to tackle AMD’s upcoming Zen 3 based processors. The latest Linux kernel patch officially adds the Rocket Lake chips to Intel’s desktop family for verification and testing purposes.
As you can see in the above note, it’s clear that Rocket Lake is being tested internally and we’re likely to see the 11th Gen lineup sooner than later. Rocket Lake-S will succeed Comet Lake-S which failed make an impact on the desktop CPU market. Not surprising considering that it’s essentially a rebrand with the 10-core i9-10900K being the only new SKU. Seeing how Zen 2 (Matisse) closed the gap in gaming workloads, it’s likely that the 4th Gen “Vermeer” parts will make things even harder for Intel in the coming months. Zen 3 is on track for a late 2020 launch so we’re going to see the Ryzen 4000 desktop CPUs ahead of 11th Gen Rocket Lake.
Unlike Coffee Lake and Comet Lake, Rocket Lake-S is going to be an actual new generation of CPUs. Although, it’s expected to retain the 14nm node, we’re getting an entirely new CPU core architecture in the form of Willow Cove along with the Gen12 Xe graphics, same as Tiger Lake.
Rocket Lake is also supposed to debut on the mobile platform, plugging the gaps left by Tiger Lake, possibly even on the 45W segment. In terms of cores, we’ll get the same core counts as the 9th Gen Coffee Lake parts. Quad-core i3s, hex-core i5s, octa-core i7s and hyperthreaded octa-core i9s. In a recent leak, it was speculated that the Rocket Lake-based Core i7s will support HT on only four of the eight cores, while the i9 would support it across all eight cores. This means that the former would come with 12 logical cores and the latter with 16. While this is technically possible, it’s never been done.