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Here's PCIe 4.0 Actually Working on Intel Rocket Lake-S Platform

NVMe connector
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

For a long time we had expected Intel's new Comet Lake-S CPUs to support PCI-Express 4.0, but then Intel nixed those plans. Then, we started hoping that its successor, Rocket Lake-S would get PCI-Express 4.0 support, and there appears to be hope. The chips at least are expected to feature PCIe 4.0, and motherboard vendors have also prepped their boards to support the interface.

But up until now, there hasn't been any concrete proof that it will actually happen, and there is still a chance that Intel will nix PCIe 4.0 on Rocket Lake-S, too. But for now, a SiSoftware entry has been spotted by Gonzalo (known on twitter as @Tum_Apisak) where a Rocket Lake-S system can be spotted running on a PCI-Express 4.0 interface.

(Image credit: SiSoftware)

So there it is. These entries aren't easy to fabricate, and this seems to be the proof we've been waiting for. It doesn't show a graphics card running over PCIe 4.0 yet, but as the storage system, it's quite a solid start. 

Of course, we have to note that it's still very possible that the plans will get nixed, just like on Comet Lake-S. Just because something works early on in development doesn't mean that it will stay this way for the final consumer end-product. However, given that there are a ton of pointers to PCIe 4.0 working on Rocket Lake-S, we're gaining confidence that Intel won't get cold feet this time around. 

The Rocket Lake-S platform is set to drop into the same Z490 motherboards as Comet Lake-S chips do, but will come with a whole new architecture. This is the same Willow Cove architecture Intel is using on Tiger Lake, but then backported to 14nm. This will limit the maximum core count, as Rocket Lake-S is expected to max out at eight cores, but they've been spotted boosting to 5 GHz, which paired with a new architecture would mean incredibly solid single-core performance, and that's what games are after anyway.

Meanwhile, we still don't know when Rocket Lake will land, but we can count on it being quite a while. 

  • Tom_nerd
    Admin said:
    Will Intel get cold feet again?
    I think that Intel`s feet have been cold for so long that they have now fell off.
    Reply
  • JayNor
    I don't recall ever seeing a roadmap for Comet Lake that included PCIE4 on it. What is the source of this claim that Intel had it in the design, then removed it?
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    JayNor said:
    I don't recall ever seeing a roadmap for Comet Lake that included PCIE4 on it. What is the source of this claim that Intel had it in the design, then removed it?
    The most obvious tell-tale sign that PCIe4 was planned for Comet Lake is that LGA1200 motherboards have PCIe4 re-drivers on them across a good subset of the product stack. Had PCIe4 never been planned for Comet Lake, most motherboard manufacturers wouldn't have bothered with the unnecessary added expense on anything besides premium SKUs until Rocket Lake boards.

    It was planned and cut too late for motherboard manufacturers to remove support from completed designs.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    JayNor said:
    I don't recall ever seeing a roadmap for Comet Lake that included PCIE4 on it. What is the source of this claim that Intel had it in the design, then removed it?
    Comet Lake was never supposed to support PCIE4, but the 1200 motherboards were supposed to support it for Rocket Lake. So you could buy Comet Lake now and if you upgraded to RL later you would get PCIE4. Now, despite Z490 boards supporting RL, it looks like if you want PCIE4 support with your RL CPU, you're going to need a Z590 board or whatever the next series will be called. Makes Z490 boards less attractive.
    Reply
  • thisisaname
    Hard to read an Intel roadmap without thinking how long is this going to be delayed.
    Reply