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Intel Rocket Lake CPUs Might Max Out at Eight Cores at 125W

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PTTWeb forum user sharkbay, who has a pretty solid track record, has revealed the purported specifications for Intel's upcoming Rocket Lake (RKL) processors. If the information is accurate, Rocket Lake could top out at eight cores.

Details on Rocket Lake are pretty thin before today's leak. We knew that Rocket Lake is Intel's planned successor to Comet Lake. It'll probably be the last processors that feature the aging 14nm manufacturing process before Intel makes the transition to the new 7nm process node. 

According to sharkbay, we can expect both Rocket Lake-U (RKL-U) parts for mobile and Rocket Lake-S (RKL-S) chips for desktops. The first comes with up to six cores inside a 15W envelope, while the latter features up to eight cores with a 125W TDP (thermal design power). This is certainly feels like a regression on Intel's part as Comet Lake-S (CML-S) reportedly sports up to 10 cores at with same TDP. However, Rocket Lake appears to bring other improvements to the table.

Ice LakeComet LakeTiger LakeRocket Lake
Lithography10nm14nm10nm14nm
VRMIMVP9 FIVRIMVP SVIDIMVP9 FIVRIMVP8 SVID
Y-series TDP / Cores9W / 4N/A9W / 4N/A
U-series TDP / Cores15 / 415W / 628W / 415W / 6
H-series TDP / CoresN/A65W / 8N/AN/A
S-series TDP / CoresN/A125W / 10N/A125W / 8
AVX Support512 bits256 bits512 bits512 bits
Intel Turbo Boost TechnologyIntegratedN/AIntegratedN/A
Graphics / EUsGen11 / 64Gen9 LP / 48Gen12 / 96Gen12 / 32
Display SupportHDMI 2.0bHDMI 1.4bHDMI 2.0bHDMI 2.0b
DDR4 Speed / Capacity3,200 MHz / 64GB2,666 MHz / 128GB3,200 MHz / 64GB2,933 MHz / 128GB
LPDDR4x Speed / Capacity3,733 MHz / 32GB2,933 MHz / 32GB4,266 MHz / 32GB3,733 MHz / 32GB
LPDDR5 Speed / CapacityN/AN/A5,400 MHz / 32GBN/A

Specifications in the table are unconfirmed.

Perhaps the most significant upgrades with Rocket Lake are the rumored support for AVX-512 instructions and the implementation of Gen12 graphics. The addition of both features suggests that Rocket Lake could be based on Intel's Sunny Cove or Willow Cove microarchitectures. This doesn't sound implausible considering that there have been murmurs on the streets that Intel might port one of the two aforementioned microarchitectures to its 14nm processors.

There are two ways how this can work out. It's possible that Rocket Lake could utilize a backport of the Sunny Cove or Willow Cove microarchitectures with disabled features. Alternatively, Rocket Lake is actually based on some 14nm microarchitecture glued to the Gen12 chiplet via Intel's Embedded Multi-die Interconnect Bridge (EMIB) interconnect.

On the graphics side, Rocket Lake seemingly checks in with Gen12 graphics with up to 32 Execution Units (EUs) and supports HDMI 2.0b. In terms of memory, Rocket Lake supports for up to 128GB of DDR4-2933 memory or 32GB of LPDDR4x-3733 memory.

The last we've heard is that Intel will launch Rocket Lake in the third quarter of next year.

  • jimmysmitty
    Rumors are rumors. It wouldn't be a horrible idea to move the new uArch to the process that allows for higher clock speeds and more cores right now.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    jimmysmitty said:
    It wouldn't be a horrible idea to move the new uArch to the process that allows for higher clock speeds and more cores right now.
    Do you realize they're in opposition? Higher clock speeds is why Intel is keeping the high-end at 14 nm, while the low/mid-range is moving ahead to 10 nm (i.e. the process where it's most economical to add more cores).
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    bit_user said:
    Do you realize they're in opposition? Higher clock speeds is why Intel is keeping the high-end at 14 nm, while the low/mid-range is moving ahead to 10 nm (i.e. the process where it's most economical to add more cores).

    Low power is pushing to 10nm currently yes. That does not mean the uArch, Sunny Cove, is tied only to 10nm. In fact Intel expressly said they felt a point of failure was tying uArchs and process tech together.

    There is nothing stopping Intel from moving Sunny Cove to 14nm as a stop gap. The uArch itself does show some signs of improvement and even at lower clock and boost speeds tends to outperform Whisky Lake parts. Especially since 14nm has vastly better yields and probably margins than 10nm does at current.

    I would also imagine more cores is easier since Intel has yet to push past 4 cores on 10nm yet meaning that either yields are not up to snuff or there is an issue elsewhere.

    But as I said, rumors are rumors. They mean absolutely nothing until it is officially announced. Otherwise we would all have 16 core Ryzen chips clocked at 5GHz on simple air cooling.
    Reply
  • joeblowsmynose
    Something doesn't look right here in this chart ...

    "S" series CPUs with 125wTDP? That makes little sense unless we should expect their "K" series to have 145~165w TDPs - which is probably too high for mainstream desktop.

    EDIT: I wouldn't put too much faith in this rumour (or at least the details) If 10nm is really as broken as it appears (I think maybe it just can't do high clocks at all, or not without sucking too much power), I agree with Jimmy, not the worst idea to backport to the 14nm node in that case. If true though, that seems like an admission that 10nm has even bigger issues than ... already big issues, or, that 10nm will never work for high performance parts at least. Losing a lot of density though going from planned 10nm to 14nm.
    Reply
  • TJ Hooker
    joeblowsmynose said:
    "S" series CPUs with 125wTDP? That makes little sense unless we should expect their "K" series to have 145~165w TDPs - which is probably too high for mainstream desktop.
    The "S" lineup is every desktop CPU for their mainstream socket, including "K" CPUs.
    Reply
  • joeblowsmynose
    TJ Hooker said:
    The "S" lineup is every desktop CPU for their mainstream socket, including "K" CPUs.

    Of course it would be confusing as hell, this is Intel naming conventions we're talking about here ... I guess I was going by old info, where "S" series was a separate line from k/x altogether.

    https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Introduction-to-Intel-S-series-Processors-617/
    Reply
  • TJ Hooker
    joeblowsmynose said:
    Of course it wouldn't be confusing as hell, this is Intel naming conventions we're talking about here ... I guess I was going by old info, where "S" series was a separate line from k/x altogether.

    https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Introduction-to-Intel-S-series-Processors-617/
    Yeah, it looks like it used to be that way but now they refer to their whole mainstream socketed lineup as -S.
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    TJ Hooker said:
    Yeah, it looks like it used to be that way but now they refer to their whole mainstream socketed lineup as -S.

    It still is. Rocket Lake-S is the same as Sky Lake-S. It covers from the lowest end desktop part to the highest end K series. Has not changed for quite a while and -S is still desktops.

    joeblowsmynose said:
    Of course it would be confusing as hell, this is Intel naming conventions we're talking about here ... I guess I was going by old info, where "S" series was a separate line from k/x altogether.

    https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Introduction-to-Intel-S-series-Processors-617/

    You are mixing up models and uArchs. -S is typically after the uArch and has for quite a while, at least since Sky Lake, meant the desktop line of chips from entry level to top end K series. S, notice no dash, after the model number is a lower power version.

    Nothing has changed.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    jimmysmitty said:
    I would also imagine more cores is easier since Intel has yet to push past 4 cores on 10nm yet meaning that either yields are not up to snuff or there is an issue elsewhere.
    Okay, I see your point. You think that because Intel hasn't made a > 5 core (let's not forget about that weird heterogeneous Lakefield CPU, I think it's called) @ 10 nm, it's because they can't.

    The way I see it, it's just market segmentation. Right now, 10 nm seems good only for mid-range laptop CPUs, and they didn't want to make a 6-core because that would compete too much with their high-end Comet Lake CPUs. I mean, if 10 nm were so area-limited, why the heck does Ice Lake have AVX-512 and (more to the point) up to 64 EU iGPUs? Such a large iGPU would make no sense, if their yields were too poor to manage even a 6-core part.

    Anyway, their roadmap shows 10 nm, 26-core Ice Lake server CPUs in Q1 2020. So, we'll know soon enough if their current 10 nm (which I guess is technically 10 nm+) can deliver the goods.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    joeblowsmynose said:
    If 10nm is really as broken as it appears (I think maybe it just can't do high clocks at all, or not without sucking too much power), I agree with Jimmy, not the worst idea to backport to the 14nm node in that case. If true though, that seems like an admission that 10nm has even bigger issues than ... already big issues, or, that 10nm will never work for high performance parts at least.
    This is not news. Leaked roadmaps (from 7 months ago) have shown Intel will skip 10 nm for the mainstream desktop segment. It'll stay on 14 nm through the end of 2021.


    Source: https://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-roadmap-comet-lake-client,39185.html
    Actually, that's the client commercial roadmap, but I recall it's the same story for the client consumer roadmap - just maybe not Q4 2021, since new products tend to launch first in the consumer channel.
    Reply