Intel is close to launching Rocket Lake next year and is already pumping engineering samples from future Rocket Lake CPUs. As I spotted it HXL, Someone in China managed to get an engineering sample of an eight-core Core i9-11900 from 16 threads and put the processor in their paces in a CPU-Z test. The Rocket Lake chip scored 582 in the single-threaded test and 5262 in the multi-threaded benchmark.
The Core i7-10700K is the closest CPU in the CPUz benchmark, scoring 568 in single-core and 5625 in multi-core benchmarks. This is about 7% faster than Rocket Lake Core i9.
While the result of a Rocket Lake chip is bizarre, bear in mind that the engineering sample operates at much lower frequencies than we will likely see with the final silicon. Currently, the SKU works with 1.8GHz base and 3.8GHz multi-core booster and 4.4GHz turbo single core. This is very normal, however; Engineering samples are not final products and are only used for development purposes. As such, we should expect the end product to have much higher base hours.
For example, as I spotted momomo_us, The rumored core frequencies for Core i7-11700 are 2.5 GHz – 4.9 GHz, while the Core i5-11400 drops at 2.6 GHz – 4.4 GHz. Naturally, we expect the Core i9 models to have much higher boost frequencies.
However, while the slower frequencies explain the lackluster single-threaded performance, the lower core charges at Rocket Lake are partly to blame for the lower multi-core performance.
For Rocket Lake CPUs, Intel has downgraded core numbers to 9th-Gen Coffee Lake levels – now Core i9 models have a maximum of eight cores and 16 threads. This means that the only difference between the 10th Generation Core i7s, 11th Gen Core i7s, and Core i9s is the clock speed alone (along with some minor improvements to the 11th Gen chips).
The lower number of kernels results from Intel’s use of a 10 nm architecture being moved to a less dense 14 nm node. This is not perfect at all. In fact, new infrastructures are not traditionally designed to be transported to larger nodes, as the resulting chip contains fewer transistors within any given region. This gives chip designers a smaller transistor budget to work with, ultimately eliminating some extras, such as cores and GPUs.
But, as with any product, Rocket Lake chips were developed with certain design goals in mind – in the case of Rocket Lake, Intel is clearly putting a lot of emphasis on improving its IPC, and thus gaming performance. The Rocket’s increased IPC pairing with Intel’s stellar 14nm watches could lead to superior gaming performance, but the jury is out on until the silicon hits our test seats. We hope Intel gives Core i9 chips enough bandwidth to keep them up to date against competitors like AMD – the competition is good for everyone.