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Intel Core i9-11900K Spotted at 5.3Ghz, Beating Zen 3 in Single-Core Performance

Core i9-11900K Preview
(Image credit: Intel)

Hardware detective APISAK spotted Intel's Rocket Lake Core i9-11900K running full blast at 5.3Ghz (single-core) in Geekbench 5 and PassMark. Surprisingly, the chip manages to beat all of AMD's Zen 3 parts in the single-threaded tests. This somewhat verifies what we saw at CES 2021 where Intel showed its 11900K beating a Ryzen 9 5900X by roughly 5% in pure single-threaded workloads, portending a shakeup to our CPU Benchmarks Hierarchy.

PassMark Single-Threaded Scores:

  • Core i9-11900K - 3764
  • Core i7-11700K - 3548
  • Ryzen 7 5800X - 3511
  • Ryzen 9 5900X - 3500
  • Ryzen 9 5950X - 3493
  • Ryzen 5 5600X - 3386
  • Core i9-10900K - 3173
  • Core i7-10700K - 3083

The i9-11900K scored 3764 points in Passmark, with the closest rival, the i7-11700K, landing at 3548 points. Meanwhile, the Ryzen 7 5800X weighs in with 3511 points. (Strangely, the higher-clocked Ryzen 9 5900X and 5950X scored lower than the 5800X.) 

If we compare the best of Team Blue to Team Red, the 11900K is 6% faster than the 5800X -- and even less if we compare it to the 11700K.

GeekBench 5 Scores:

Single Threaded Scores:

  • Core i9-11900K - 1892
  • Ryzen 9 5950X - 1682
  • Ryzen 7 5800X - 1669
  • Ryzen 9 5900X - 1664

Multi-Threaded Scores:

  • Ryzen 9 5950X - 16726
  • Ryzen 9 5900X - 14061
  • Core i9-11900K - 10934
  • Ryzen 7 5800X - 10427

Moving over to the Geekbench 5 results, the 11900K maintains its single-threaded performance lead, beating the 5950X by 12% (which in Geekbench is on top of the single-threaded chart for AMD). 

But, of course, Rocket Lake's higher frequency and backported cores won't give the 11900K an advantage in the multi-core race, where the 5900X and 5950X easily beat Intel's best. But if we compare just the eight-core models, the 11900K does come out
4% faster than the 5800X.

Conclusion:

If any of these benchmarks are representative of the Core i9-11900K's real-world performance (spoiler alert, these benchmarks generally are not), then Intel will have beaten AMD in the single-threaded race and re-claimed that crown once again. But when it comes to multi-threaded performance, the Core i9-11900K really gets hit hard from being downgraded to eight cores.

We'll have to see how this all plays out once Rocket Lake fully releases and we get our hands on these chips ourselves to benchmark. If the story for Rocket Lake is similar to the story here, Intel will have to price the 11900K aggressively to keep it competitive against AMD's Ryzen 9 parts.

  • Gomez Addams
    "If any of these benchmarks are representative of the Core i9-11900K's real-world performance (spoiler alert, these benchmarks generally are not),..."

    This article should have started with that sentence fragment, although it would have rendered the rest of it moot, it really is. These benchmarks are generally not representative so BFD.
    Reply
  • JamesJones44
    I actually don't trust Geekbench 5 results at all. I get wildly different results per run and per OS. Even if you compare GB 4 to GB 5 you see very different results. PassMark is more stable for comparisons IMO.
    Reply
  • Makaveli
    "(Strangely, the higher-clocked Ryzen 9 5900X and 5950X scored lower than the 5800X.) "
    Single CCD vs Dual CCD design.

    There are other benchmarks that show the 5800X being faster than the higher core count models in certain apps.
    Reply
  • CerianK
    "Strangely, the higher-clocked Ryzen 9 5900X and 5950X scored lower than the 5800X."
    Like Makaveli said, in PassMark, some of the single-thread sub-tests are sensitive to cache latency, and other factors, which degrade when the thread scheduler must span multiple chiplets.
    Reply
  • JayNor
    Intel has plentiful 14nm capacity, although I presume they are busy converting some of it to 10nm. Their q4 er slides state Rocket Lake is already shipping. Maybe this is a mistake, since I believe it was previously stated to arrive in March.

    Intel is ramping several products at TSMC this year ... Mobileye eyeq5, Habana Gaudi, the eASIC 5G chips, Xe-HPG. Perhaps their schedules are contributing to the tight TSMC capacity.
    Reply
  • dtemple
    Takeaway here is that the top-tier LGA1200 11th gen chip outperforms AMD's second-lowest AM4 chip in single-core performance, by 6%. In a synthetic benchmark that Tom's themselves has discounted as being unindicative of real-world performance. Gotcha! So the only leverage Intel has at this point is if they can provide widespread availability before AMD does.
    Reply
  • ingtar33
    Geekbench 5 is a very suspect benchmark, with credible claims of built in hardware bias in the past (largely in favor of intel); and probably should never be quoted as a source of anything. That said I don't doubt Intel has binned their rocket-lake chips to extreme levels to create the 11900k so that they can claim they have the fastest chip, I also don't doubt that chip will be impossible to purchase for any money as it's yields at that binning will be too low to actually sell to the public making it a paper chip that a few thousand people will ever get their hands on.
    Reply
  • GoatGuy
    Sounds to me like Team Red and Team Blue are neck-and-neck. A few points here, a few points there, really it hardly makes a difference in the 'so-called real world.

    However, it is also fair to say, that this really does seem to be a resounding endorsement for unfettered technological competition. Amazing what the boffins of digital madness are doing!!!
    Reply
  • TerryLaze
    JayNor said:
    Their q4 er slides state Rocket Lake is already shipping. Maybe this is a mistake, since I believe it was previously stated to arrive in March.
    If they want to have plenty of product on the shelves in march they would have to start shipping long before that, especially now where there can be huge delays due to covid but even without it you have to build up some supply if you don't want to be a laughing stock like every other companies launch this year.
    Reply
  • TerryLaze
    ingtar33 said:
    That said I don't doubt Intel has binned their rocket-lake chips to extreme levels to create the 11900k so that they can claim they have the fastest chip, I also don't doubt that chip will be impossible to purchase for any money as it's yields at that binning will be too low to actually sell to the public making it a paper chip that a few thousand people will ever get their hands on.
    5.3Ghz is what 14nm can do for years now and on 10core CPUs no less, there will be zero issue to get 5.3 on 8cores.
    Especially since we are always talking about 5.3Ghz on 1 core.
    Reply