Intel Rocket Lake-S to be available on March 15; Golden Cove cores in 10 nm Enhanced SuperFin Alder Lake-S touted to offer up to 20% IPC increase over Willow Cove
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Intel officially announced the Rocket Lake-S Core i9-11900K at CES last month, though it did not talk about other members of the 11th gen desktop family. However, we reported on a pricing leak that did reveal the entire Rocket Lake-S lineup. Now, we are getting to know some additional info about Rocket Lake-S and also the ensuing 12th gen Alder Lake-S hybrid architecture parts.
According to HKEPC, Intel is likely to fully launch Rocket Lake-S on March 15. The 500-series motherboards that sport the LGA 1200 socket were already announced by OEMs during CES 2021. The new platform brings support for PCIe Gen4, and the CPUs themselves offer 20 PCIe lanes.
HKEPC further indicates that Alder Lake-S will launch some time in September this year. This would be more of a soft launch with the actual availability only expected to happen later in December. While we've been expected Alder Lake-S to be fabbed on the 10 nm SuperFin architecture similar to Tiger Lake, HKEPC reports that Intel would actually employ a 10 nm Enhanced SuperFin process, which should theoretically offer better power efficiency.
Additionally, the Golden Cove cores aka big cores in Alder Lake-S are now being rumored to offer a 20% IPC uplift over Tiger Lake's Willow Cove with the Gracemont cores aka small cores touted to offer a similar IPC as Skylake. Right now, it feels a bit ambiguous as to which Skylake generation is being referred to here. Compared to Rocket Lake, the overall IPC increase is expected to be between 16 to 18%.
That being said, launching two major CPU generations just six months apart seems somewhat of a strange move. Rocket Lake motherboards will not be compatible with Alder Lake processors as the latter use an LGA 1700 socket and come with support for DDR5 memory and possibly PCIe Gen5. That means Alder Lake-S will have to compete with AMD's Zen 4 offerings, which wont come until 2022 when the platform is expected to transition to socket AM5.