Pricing

Here is the official RCP pricing for each CPU.  The i9-11900K will be $539, and therefore by price compares to the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X.  The i7-11700K will be $399 and therefore by price is actually $50 cheaper than the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X.  The i5-11600K will be $262 and therefore by price is also a little less than the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X. 

The i5-11600K and i7-11700K match core count and thread count with the AMD competition.  However, the i9-11900K at 8c/16t does not match the core and thread count with the Ryzen 9 5900X which is 12c/24t.      

Overclocking

Intel made it very clear that Overclocking is on their mind.  In fact, there are new features built-in that allow overclockers to have more control than they’ve ever had in tweaking performance.  First and foremost, memory overclocking is now supported on B560 and H570 chipsets.  You will be able to set the memory frequency in real-time on the new 500 series chipsets.  Due to the new memory controller on Rocket Lake, there is Gear 2 support with wider timings.

There is also a new feature to set AVX2 and AVX-512 voltage offsets with guard-band override.  This means voltage manipulation for AVX.  You will even be able to disable AVX for the most extreme overclockers just wanting the highest frequency period.  There will be new options in Intel’s Extreme Tuning Utility GUI overclocking software in Windows for real-time adjustments.  Intel was, even so, bold to state in its briefing that we may see overclocks as high as 5.2GHz on all cores, if AVX voltage offsets are used.  This should be an achievable goal, and possibly beyond, remember we are talking all-core here. 

Chipset Information

Intel is launching a new 500 series of chipsets to go along with Rocket Lake CPUs.  The chipsets will be manufactured on a 14nm process.  Fear not, the same socket is in play here, LGA 1200 remains the socket that is being used.  This means both Comet Lake and Rocket Lake CPUs will work in 500 series chipset motherboards.  It also means the reverse is true, Rocket Lake CPUs will work on Z490 motherboards as long as the BIOS is updated. 

The new chipsets, starting from the most enthusiast to the least, are the Z590, B560, and H570.  Naturally, the one most gamers are going to want to cling to is the Z590, but the B560 is one you might also want to keep an eye on, there is a new functionality that overclockers might like.  DDR4-3200 is the new standard speed for Rocket Lake.

One of the big things is that there will now be official PCI-Express 4.0 support.  Previously, it was up to motherboard manufacturers to enable PCIe 4.0 specifically on Z490 motherboards, some had it, and others did not.  Now, across the board, 500 series chipsets support PCIe 4.0.  The Z590 itself will have 20 PCIe 4.0 lanes.  PCIe Gen 3 can support up to 24 lanes.

Another big update is that the DMI bus is getting an upgrade.  The chipset now supports DMI Gen 3.0 x8 which brings double the bandwidth between the chipset and the processor on Z590.  However, B560 will only offer DMI x4 speeds.  Rocket Lake CPUs all support DMI x8, the spec relies on the motherboard supporting it.

USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 20Gbps is also now supported for double the USB connectivity speed.  There is also now discrete Wi-Fi 6E support, Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 (CNVio) with Gig+ on all chipsets.  Intel 2.5G Ethernet can also be supported.  There is now discrete support for Intel Thunderbolt 4.

Another big update is that Intel is now enabling memory overclocking on B560 and H570 chipsets.  No longer is it just on the Z platform, B560 and H570 will allow you to overclock your memory for better performance.

Resizable BAR will also be supported on motherboards.  It will be up to the video card manufacturers, like NVIDIA, to enable that support on their cards via drivers.

Brent Justice

Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components for 20+ years, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer oriented...

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6 Comments

  1. It will be interesting to see the performance reviews vs the AMD chips.

    The prices seem to be pretty decent. If it doesn’t end up a paper release.

  2. It will be interesting to see the performance reviews vs the AMD chips.

    Heat is the biggest one on my mind. If larger dies are in play, these should be easier to cool the same way AMD CPUs are easier to cool with their two- and three-die configurations that spread the heat out under the heatspreader itself.

    The prices seem to be pretty decent. If it doesn’t end up a paper release.

    I’ll be focusing on overall platform capability myself, but for strictly gaming purposes or more likely for ‘gaming first’ builds, Intel may have a ringer!

  3. This too has piqued my interests. I love it when there’s true competition between Intel and AMD. We all win when that happens!
  4. 11th Gen I guess is AMD’s FX 9590 — Guess the question becomes will Intel coming roaring back when move to 10nm or 7nm happens like AMD was able to with Ryzen — or have we reached a fork in the road where Intel short of break-through will remain in the passengers seat.

    I’m bit curious though to see how Intel’s 11th Gen does with top end 6900 XT in games at 2560×1440 – single and multi-thread games.

  5. 11th Gen I guess is AMD’s FX 9590

    This is a pretty good analogy in terms of Intel having to ‘crank it’ to produce a product that’s even competitive on paper, as was the issue with the FX / ‘dozers, though there is a bit of a difference in perspective; however far ‘behind’ Intel is, it’s not overall in the way that FX was non-competitive right out of the gate.

    Guess the question becomes will Intel coming roaring back when move to 10nm or 7nm happens like AMD was able to with Ryzen

    All indications point to them having some pretty stellar architectures that… they are unable to manufacture in volume. While the question must remain open, that if Intel cannot make the transition to full-scale production at smaller nodes the stumbling giant might just fall, the chances of that situation coming to pass seem relatively remote. If other companies have been able to ‘crack that nut’, surely Intel can.

    Right?

    or have we reached a fork in the road where Intel short of break-through will remain in the passengers seat.

    This relates to the former point about manufacturability, but it’s worth pointing out that Intel remains in the ‘driver’s’ seat out of sheer production volume at 14nm today. Most estimates I’ve come across put Intel at ten times the volume of CPUs supplied of what AMD is able to supply, and that’s when AMD is being viewed optimistically.

    Yes, there are many reasons one might prefer a Zen-based CPU right now over anything Intel has available, but the truth of the matter is that the Intel CPUs are simply ‘more available’. That’s not as much of an issue for individual enthusiasts, but it is most certainly an issue for large OEMs as well as for enterprises.

    And that doesn’t touch on the platform, driver, and software support differences and even quirks and nuances that might push a particular purchasing decision one way or the other!

    I’m bit curious though to see how Intel’s 11th Gen does with top end 6900 XT in games at 2560×1440 – single and multi-thread games.

    I’m definitely looking forward to in-depth frametime analysis of emerging platforms myself, but to be honest, I don’t see the < 4MP of 2560×1440 as being that big of a challenge for any top-end CPU these days. That’s what I’m running now myself, and with a 5.0GHz 9900K, I can’t say that I’m left wanting for CPU performance when it comes to gaming specifically.

    I’m much, much more concerned about the general market price and availability of GPUs and the price and lack of quality and quality control of ‘gaming’ monitors!

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