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Z590 motherboards only have PCIe Gen 4.0 compatibility with 11th generation Intel Rocket Lake Core i9, Core i7, Core i5 processors



In two weeks from now, Intel and its board partners will introduce their brand new Z590 (500 Series) motherboards that will offer full support for 11th generation Rocket Lake Desktop processors. The main feature of these cards apart from next generation CPU support will be advanced I / O features and full support for the PCIe Gen 4.0 protocol.

Intel Z590 motherboards only offer PCIe Gen 4.0 compatibility when running 11th generation Rocket Lake Core i9, Core i7 and Core i5 Desktop processors, not supported by Comet Lake Refresh Core i3 processors

The information comes up on several Z590 chipset-based motherboards that we have started receiving from board partners before the announcement on 11 January. Each motherboard has a sticker on the top PCIe slot that mentions that the Gen 4.0 protocol will be supported by Intel’s Rocket Lake Desktop processors.

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According to the previously leaked information that covered all Intel Rocket Lake SKUs, the lineup will consist of Core i9, Core i7 and Core i5 chips. The rest of the series, which includes the Core i3, Pentium & Celeron series, does not offer PCIe Gen 4.0 support and will retain Gen 3.0 compliance as they are part of the Comet Lake family. Only Intel Rocket Lake processors have the architectural upgrades needed to support PCIe Gen 4.0.

The PCIe Gen 4.0 protocol has not been as big a deal-breaker on the GPUs as it has been for PCIe-based storage devices. Next-generation PCIe 4.0 SSDs have shown tremendous performance, and with technologies such as NVIDIA’s RTX IO and Microsoft’s DirectStorage for desktops, will definitely use the pairing protocol to provide even faster performance and access times.

Here’s all we know about 11th generation Rocket Lake Desktop processors

Intel’s Rocket Lake-S desktop CPU platform will support the LGA 1200 connector, which debuted with 10th generation Comet Lake-S processors, but on 400 series motherboards. Intel Rocket Lake-S processors will primarily be launched for the 500 Series motherboards, but it has been confirmed that the LGA 1200 motherboards will offer support for Rocket Lake-S processors, especially considering that PCIe Gen 4.0 is a prominent feature by Z490 motherboards that would only be enabled using Rocket Lake-S desktop CPUs.

Motherboard manufacturers, especially ASUS, will pay extra attention to incorporating the hardware level of PCIe Gen 4 on the Z590 series with motherboards compared to the Z490 series that we pointed out here.

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Key features of Intel Rocket Lake Desktop processors include:

  • Increased performance with new Cypress Cove core architecture
  • Up to 8 cores and 16 threads (double-digit IPC gain over skylake)
  • New Xe graphics architecture (up to 50% higher performance than Gen9)
  • Increased DDR4 3200 MHz memory support
  • CPU PCIe 4.0 lanes (available on Z490 and Z590 motherboards)
  • Enhanced display (integrated HDMI 2.0b, DP1.4a, HBR3)
  • Added x4 CPU PCIe lanes = 20 total CPU PCIe 4.0 lanes
  • Enhanced media (12 bit AV1 / HVEC, E2E compression)
  • CPU-supplied storage or Intel Optane memory
  • New features and options for overclocking
  • USB audio relief
  • Integrated CNVi & Wireless-AX
  • Integrated USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20G)
  • 2.5 GB Ethernet discrete LAN
  • Discreet Intel Thunderbolt 4 (compatible with USB4)

The following are the most important Rocket Lake Desktop processors we can expect in the 11th generation family:

  • Core i9-11900K
  • Core i9-11900
  • Core i9-11900T
  • Core i7-11700K
  • Core i7-11700
  • Core i7-11700T
  • Core i5-11600K
  • Core i5-11600
  • Core i5-11600T
  • Core i5-11500
  • Core i5-11500T
  • Core i5-11400
  • Core i5-11400T

11th Generation Intel Rocket Lake Desktop CPU Setup Specifications (Preliminary):

CPU name Cores / threads Base Clock Boost Clock (1-core) Boost Clock (All-Core) Cache Graphics TDP (PL1)
Core i9-11900K 8/16 3.50 GHz 5.30 GHz 4.80 GHz 16 MB Intel Xe 32 EU (256 cores) 125W
Core i9-11900 8/16 1.80 GHz 4.50 GHz 4.00 GHz 16 MB Intel Xe 32 EU (256 cores) 65W
Core i9-11900T 8/16 TBC TBC TBC 16 MB Intel Xe 32 EU (256 cores) 35W
Core i7-11700K 8/16 3.60 GHz 5.00 GHz 4.60 GHz 16 MB Intel Xe 32 EU (256 cores) 125W
Core i7-11700 8/16 2.50 GHz 4.90 GHz TBC 16 MB Intel Xe 32 EU (256 cores) 65W
Core i7-11700T 8/16 TBC TBC 16 MB Intel Xe 32 EU (256 cores) 35W
Core i5-11600K 6/12 TBC 4.90 GHz 4.60 GHz 12 MB Intel Xe 32 EU (256 cores) 125W
Core i5-11600 6/12 TBC TBC TBC 12 MB Intel Xe 32 EU (256 cores) 65W
Core i5-11600T 6/12 TBC TBC TBC 12 MB Intel Xe 32 EU (256 cores) 35W
Core i5-11500 6/12 TBC TBC TBC 12 MB Intel Xe 32 EU (256 cores) 65W
Core i5-11500T 6/12 TBC TBC TBC 12 MB Intel Xe 32 EU (256 cores) 35W
Core i5-11400 6/12 2.60 GHz 4,400 GHz 4.20 GHz 12 MB Intel Xe 24 EU (192 cores) 65W
Core i5-11400T 6/12 TBC TBC TBC 12 MB Intel Xe 24 EU (192 cores) 35W

The unlocked SKUs in the K-series have a base PL1 TDP of 125W, while the non-K SKUs have a based TDP of 65W. The variants in the T-series, which are the lower TDP-SKUs, come with a based TDP of 35W. Intel Core i9 and Core i7 CPUs based on Rocket Lake CPU architecture have 8 cores, 16 threads and 16 MB L3 cache. The Core i5 SKUs have 6 cores and 12 threads plus a total of 12 MB L3 cache. All processors will have an Intel Xe integrated GPU with 32 EUs or 256 cores.

By moving on to the Comet Lake Refresh series, Intel looks set to relocate its enhanced Skylake architecture to mainstream and budget level. The lineup will include the following SKUs:

  • Core i3-11100
  • Core i3-11100T
  • Core i3-11300
  • Core i3-11300T
  • Core i3-11320
  • Pentium G6420
  • Pentium G6420T
  • Pentium G6520
  • Pentium G6250T
  • Pentium G6220
  • Celeron G5930
  • Celeron G5930T
  • Celeron G5950

11th Generation Intel Comet Lake Refresh Desktop CPU Setup Specifications (Preliminary):

CPU name Cores / threads Base Clock Boost Clock (1-core) Boost Clock (All-Core) Cache Graphics TDP
Core i3-11320 4/8 TBC TBC TBC 8 MB UHD 630 24 EU (192 cores) 65W
Core i3-11300 4/8 TBC TBC TBC 8 MB UHD 630 24 EU (192 cores) 65W
Core i3-11300T 4/8 TBC TBC TBC 8 MB UHD 630 24 EU (192 cores) 35W
Core i3-11100 4/8 TBC TBC TBC 6 MB UHD 630 24 EU (192 cores) 65W
Core i3-11100T 4/8 TBC TBC TBC 6 MB UHD 630 24 EU (192 cores) 35W
Pentium G6420 2/4 TBC Not relevant Not relevant 4 MB UHD 630 24 EU (192 cores) 58W
Pentium G6420T 2/4 TBC Not relevant Not relevant 4 MB UHD 630 24 EU (192 cores) 35W
Pentium G6520 2/4 TBC Not relevant Not relevant 4 MB UHD 630 24 EU (192 cores) 58W
Pentium G6250T 2/4 TBC Not relevant Not relevant 4 MB UHD 630 24 EU (192 cores) 35W
Pentium G6220 2/4 TBC Not relevant Not relevant 4 MB UHD 630 24 EU (192 cores) 58W
Celeron G5930 2/2 TBC Not relevant Not relevant 4 MB UHD 610 12 EU (96 cores) 58W
Celeron G5930T 2/2 TBC Not relevant Not relevant 4 MB UHD 610 12 EU (96 cores) 35W
Celeron G5950 2/2 TBC Not relevant Not relevant 4 MB UHD 610 12 EU (96 cores) 58W

The Core i3 models have 4 cores and 8 threads, but all variants except the Core i3-11100 series will have 8 MB L3 cache against 6 MB L3 cache on the mentioned CPUs. The Pentium line processors have 2 cores, 4 threads and 4 MB L3 cache, while the Celeron series only gets 2 cores and no support for multiple threads. However, these chips will also have 4 MB L3 cache. The Core i3 and Pentium models have UHD 630 graphics with 24 EUs, while Celeron SKUs get UHD 610 graphics with 12 EUs.

The architecture for Rocket Lake processors is said to be Cypress Cove, which is reportedly a hybrid between Sunny Cove and Willow Cove designs, but which has Xe Gen 12 GPU architecture. Intel’s Core i9-11900K will be the flagship CPU offering in the lineup and expect more info about it soon. As for the launch, the motherboards will arrive in stores 11-12. January, while Intel’s 11th generation processors are expected to arrive by the end of March.

Intel Desktop CPU Generations Comparison:

Intel CPU family Processor process Processor cores (max.) TDP Platform chipset Platform Memory support PCIe support Start
Sandy Bridge (2nd generation) 32 nm 4/8 35-95W 6 series LGA 1155 DDR3 PCIe Gen 2.0 2011
Ivy Bridge (3rd generation) 22nm 4/8 35-77W 7 series LGA 1155 DDR3 PCIe Gen 3.0 2012
Haswell (4th generation) 22nm 4/8 35-84W 8 series LGA 1150 DDR3 PCIe Gen 3.0 2013-2014
Broadwell (5th generation) 14nm 4/8 65-65W 9 series LGA 1150 DDR3 PCIe Gen 3.0 2015
Skylake (6th generation) 14nm 4/8 35-91W 100 series LGA 1151 DDR4 PCIe Gen 3.0 2015
Kaby Lake (7th generation) 14nm 4/8 35-91W 200 series LGA 1151 DDR4 PCIe Gen 3.0 2017
Coffee Lake (8th generation) 14nm 6/12 35-95W 300 series LGA 1151 DDR4 PCIe Gen 3.0 2017
Coffee Lake (9th generation) 14nm 8/16 35-95W 300 series LGA 1151 DDR4 PCIe Gen 3.0 2018
Comet Lake (10th generation) 14nm 10/20 35-125W 400 series LGA 1200 DDR4 PCIe Gen 3.0 2020
Rocket Lake (11th generation) 14nm 8/16 TBA 500 series LGA 1200 DDR4 PCIe Gen 4.0 2021
Age Lake (12th generation) 10nm? 16/24? TBA 600 series? LGA 1700 DDR5 PCIe Gen 5.0? 2021
Meteor Lake (13th generation) 7nm? TBA TBA 700 series? LGA 1700 DDR5 PCIe Gen 5.0? 2022?
Lunar Lake (14th generation) TBA TBA TBA 800 series? TBA DDR5 PCIe Gen 5.0? 2023?

Which next-generation Intel Desktop CPU platform do you think will make the first major breakthrough against AMD Ryzen?




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