Intel is in a vicious circle and is preparing to launch the next family of 14nm processors – the desktop Rocket Lake is expected to be presented in January at CES 2021, and will hit the market in March. But someone in China was lucky enough to get an engineering sample of the flagship 65W 8-core 16-thread Core i9-11900 and test it in CPU-Z. And here some problems emerged.
The Core i9-11900 Rocket Lake scored only 582 points in the single-threaded test and 5262 points in the multi-threaded test. The Core i7-10700K – the closest processor in the CPU-Z benchmark results – scored 568 points in single-threaded and 5625 points in multi-threaded tests. The latter figure is about 7% higher than the upcoming Core i9 Rocket Lake.
While the Rocket Lake result looks odd, it’s worth keeping in mind that the engineering sample is likely to run at lower frequencies than we’ll see in retail. This chip boasts a base frequency of just 1.8 GHz, Turbo for all cores up to 3.8 GHz and single-core Turbo mode up to 4.4 GHz.
Informant momomo_us said that according to his information, the frequency of the Core i7-11700 will be 2.5-4.9 GHz, and the Core i5-11400 – 2.6-4.4 GHz. Naturally, you can expect the Core i9 series to offer even higher frequency response, especially in Turbo mode.
And while the lower clock speeds explain the rather poor single-threaded performance, the drop in core count in the Rocket Lake family is partly to blame for the decrease in multi-threaded performance. Recall that the previous generation Comet Lake-S processors included up to 10 cores and 20 threads, while Rocket Lake-S will offer only 8 cores and 16 threads.
The decrease in the number of cores is the result of Intel’s transition to the new Cypress Cove microarchitecture – it was created for the 10nm process technology (in Ice Lake mobile chips it is called Sunny Cove), but the company was forced to “shift” it to 14nm norms. This is bad practice: as a rule, new architectures are not created taking into account old technical processes and are calculated on an increased transistor budget. Leveraging the old regulations meant that Intel had to reduce the number of cores and make other trade-offs.
However, Intel in the case of Rocket Lake is focused on significantly improving the instruction execution rate (IPC). The combination of the increased IPC with the supposedly high frequencies can lead to excellent gaming performance, but it is better not to draw conclusions until the release of real processors. Let’s hope Intel can actually get the Core i9 clocked enough to compete with the Ryzen 5000.
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