Update: Intel has made the official Rocket Lake launch-day announcement, seemingly confirming the timeline outlined below.
HD Tecnología has obtained an alleged Intel roadmap that provides us all the details on the chipmaker's forthcoming Rocket Lake processors. However, as with all leaks, we recommend you treat the information with caution.
The roadmap, which HD Tecnología claimed to have acquired from a motherboard vendor, shows that Intel could launch Rocket Lake at the end of March 2021. As a quick recap, Rocket Lake is the planned desktop PC successor to the current 10th Generation Comet Lake-S family. Rocket Lake should land with the 12th Generation moniker, but it's not confirmed yet.
Rocket Lake won't arrive alone, though, as the roadmap suggests that the 500-series chipsets, including Z590, H570, B560, and H510 will launch simultaneously. The workstation-oriented W580 chipset, however, will drop in April. On the other hand, the Q-series might not get a successor since the roadmap shows that Q470 will continue to live on.
We confirmed in the past that Intel's 400-series motherboards would support Rocket Lake chips, and HD Tecnología's sources also say that Rocket Lake will be backward compatible with the LGA1200 socket. That means 400-series motherboards will house the new chips without hiccups. We imagine a simple firmware update would do the trick. Likewise, Comet Lake-S will be compatible with the new 500-series motherboards as well.
It's not official, but the biggest novelty with Rocket Lake should be the rumored PCIe 4.0 support. Many of the current 400-series motherboards are PCIe 4.0 ready. Since Comet Lake-S doesn't do PCIe 4.0, it's almost a given that Rocket Lake-S has native PCIe 4.0 support.
In less important news, Intel doesn't have anything planned for the HEDT (High-End Desktop) market. The X299 platform is expected to do the heavy lifting throughout 2021. The roadmap stops in June, so something big might come later in the year.
The timing also gives the current 400 series chips a more normal release timeline. Also would seem to indicate that Big/Little isn’t making it into the end of 2021 either. At least not in desktop form.
The basic abandonment of HEDT though I would seem to be equally product and supply related. Since HEDT has mostly always been clipped Xeons and associated chipsets minus stuff like ECC. My best guess is yields are good enough to not have a lot product to down bin. Given that and tight supply on the data center side they would rather sell them for Xeon prices than compete with AMD with a refreshed HEDT line.
There's no reason Rocket Lake should have any affect on the release date of Alder Lake. It's not the same team working on those 2 CPU's. If anything delays Alder Lake, it's more likely to be PCIE5 or DDR5. AMD is aiming for late 2021 for Zen 4 with those technologies and I would expect Intel wants to meet them head on in the same time frame.
With AMD having a 14-15 months delay between Ryzen launches so far and Zen 3 unlikely to have broad availability before 2021 due to the announcement coming so late in the year already, AMD will probably end up announcing mainstream Zen 4 about in time for the xmas/new-year break.
The Zen 3 announcement is tomorrow, so we'll see soon enough.
Intel has released practically back-to-back generations before with desktop Broadwell which launched in January-June 2015 depending on model getting replaced by Skylake in August-September 2015.
When Intel wants to push and isn't running into a process brick wall, it can move quick.
Intel employee blog post states 21Q1, so no official Rocket Lake LAUNCH-DAY announcement, more like launch year or launch quarter or launch month announcement. Late March might as well be 21Q2, given the certainty of limited supply as has happened only about 100% of the time for Intel amd/or AMD. Hopefully, AMD does something more than a simple blog post tomorrow, something better than a ~five month lead time vaporware announcement.