Will Intel strike back with ‘Rocket Lake’?
Today, Intel is introducing its eleventh generation Core processors for desktops, known until now by the codename Rocket Lake. After years of forced muddling through with the Skylake architecture, the company is taking a big step with this series, because for the first time in six years, a new microarchitecture is brought into use again.
The last major achievement in the desktop CPU world was AMD’s introduction of the Ryzen 5000 processors . In November we concluded that AMD also took the lead in games with that series. Until then, this typically latency-sensitive workload was the last bastion in which Intel took the lead. Although they had higher prices than their predecessors, the Ryzen 5000 processors proved to be very popular. AMD is still unable to meet the demand for the fastest models in the Ryzen 9 series.
Intel’s tenth generation Core processors had already been on the market for six months and actually saw only one notable improvement: a further increase in the maximum number of cores, from eight to ten. As we detailed in a Plus background article this weekend , Intel was stuck with the Skylake architecture and 14nm process for six years, so adding more and more cores was practically the only option for innovation. After all this time, Intel’s almost obvious lead in IPC and production process had turned into a backlog, which made it difficult to search for scenarios in which a Ryzen 5000 CPU was not the obvious choice.
With the eleventh generation of Core processors, Intel is in the first place after the target group that the CPU designer lost last: gamers. The manufacturer wants to persuade gamers, a demanding target group that also spends above average on hardware, to choose the blue camp again. We will find out in this review whether the company can indeed reclaim the gaming performance crown and whether the Rocket Lake CPUs are a good choice for other purposes.