Intel announces new 11th Gen desktop 'Rocket Lake-S' processors on the same 14nm process

Intel 11th Gen Processors
Intel 11th Gen Processors (Image credit: Intel Corporation)

What you need to know

  • Intel announces 11th Gen 'Rocket Lake-S' desktop-class processors.
  • Intel is making use of 10nm designs upscaled to a 14nm manufacturing process.
  • The new 11th Gen Intel processors are available today, starting from $182.

Intel has finally announced its new 11th Gen desktop family of processors, previously known as Rocket Lake-S. What's interesting about this latest generation is not the manufacturing process, as that's still on 14nm, but Intel is debuting Cypress Cove through some very clever backporting.

Now, what does all this mean? Intel is essentially backporting some of the new technology used in Willow Cove and the company's 11th Gen 10nm laptop processors (known as Tiger Lake) to its 14nm desktop line-up. Still following? Good, because this is starting to get real messy and we're only just beginning.

Because the Willow Cove designs are actually meant for 10nm processors, Intel is having to limit the number of physical cores it can cram in when scaling everything up slightly for 14nm. On the flipside, Intel is pretty good at making processors and has been for many decades. The company promises some considerable gains over 10th Gen CPUs with a 19% instructions-per-cycle (IPC) improvement.

That is until you gaze at the new processor list. Let's start with the Core i5.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 i5-115400Ti5-11400Fi5-11400i5-11500Ti5-11500i5-11600Ti5-11600i5-11600KFi5-11600K
Base clock1.3GHz2.6GHz2.6GHz1.5GHz2.7GHz1.7GHz2.8GHz3.9GHz3.9GHz
Turbo clock (all cores)3.3GHz4.2GHz4.2GHz3.4GHz4.2GHz3.5GHz4.3GHZ4.6GHz4.6GHz

The best value entry point to this family is the Core i5-115400 with 6 cores and 12 threads at base and boost clock speeds of 2.6GHz and 4.2GHz, respectively. The best of the bunch is the Core i5-11600K, replacing the Core i5-10600K, coming in with the same cores and threads, but a bump in clocks speeds at 3.9GHz and 4.6GHz for the boost.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Base clock1.4GHz2.5GHz2.5GHz3.6GHz3.6GHz
Turbo clock (all cores)3.6GHz4.4GHz4.4GHz4.6GHz4.6GHz

It's a similar story with the new Core i7 range, starting with the Core i7-11700T with its 8 physical cores and 16 threads. Base and boost clock speeds come in at 1.4GHz and 3.6GHz, respectively. Topping the charts is the Core i7-11700K, which comes with the same threads and cores, but a 3.6GHz base and 4.6GHz boost speeds.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Base clock1.5GHz2.5GHz2.5GHz3.5GHz3.5GHz
Turbo clock (all cores)3.7GHz4.6GHz4.6GHz4.7GHz4.7GHz

Finally, we have the Core i9 hub, which holds the Core i9-11900K with its 8 cores and 16 threads and a base clock speed of 3.5GHz that can hit 4.7GHz. Intel states that the Core i9-11900K outperforms AMD's Ryzen 9 5900X in a variety of titles, but only by a small margin.

This is still a considerable feat given we're still technically talking a 14nm process. Other notable improvements to the 11th Gen range include enhanced overclocking support, additional PCIe 4.0 lanes (totaling 20), DDR4-3200 RAM optimized support, and Thunderbolt 4.

The new 11th Gen processors are available starting today. We'll hopefully get our hands on them soon enough to see if they're among the best processors (CPU) for your custom PC.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.