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11th-Gen Intel Rocket Lake-S Processor Benchmarked

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Intel's 10th-Gen Comet Lake-S processors might be in the heat of their launch, but that doesn't stop us from being excited for the chips that succeed it: Rocket Lake. This 11th generation of Intel Core processors is expected to bring an architecture change from Skylake, which we've been stuck on for five years now with nothing more than minor changes. Today, an engineering sample of a Rocket Lake processor has been spotted undergoing 3DMark tests.

The data comes from hardware detective Apisak, who dug up the information from the 3DMark databases. The information details an unknown CPU running at 4.3 GHz with a base clock of 3.2 GHz, packing 8 cores with hyperthreading for sixteen threads. The motherboard (a reference validation platform) gives it away as a Rocket Lake-S processor

The chip has been put through the 3DMark Fire Strike and Time Spy tests, scoring 1746 and 605 points, respectively. These aren't great scores, but again, note that this is a very early engineering sample chip and undoubtedly subject to change.

For now, that's not a lot of information, but it gives us something to go on. Intel is still expected to base its high-performance Rocket Lake-S processors on the 14nm process, so the sub 5 GHz clock speeds might concern you. But, with a new architecture come IPC (Instructions per Clock) improvements, meaning that the chips won't need to run as fast as Intel's Comet Lake-S processors to achieve the same or better performance.

Rocket Lake's new core architecture is also called Willow Cove, which is also expected to be used in the upcoming Tiger Lake CPUs for notebooks, but at 10nm. Once that process matures, we'll could see the 12th-Gen S-series Intel Core chips featuring the new architecture at 10nm, and perhaps even see Intel return to a tick-tock release cycle, where it switches between architecture updates and node shrinks turn-by-turn.

Either way, Intel's Rocket Lake-S chips are rumored to work in the new Z490 motherboards, giving a nice upgrade platform for one hardware generation -- and many Z490 motherboards are already designed to support PCI-Express 4.0 when you install a "next gen" (i.e., Rocket Lake-S) chip in them.

For now, though, we wouldn't read too much into the performance side of these leaks. It's too early to tell anything definitive and ES samples improve over time, so it should all be taken with a pinch of salt.

  • JarredWaltonGPU
    For the curious, I just tested integrated graphics performance on UHD Graphics 630 -- using Core i7-9900K with DDR4-3200 memory, so basically as fast as Gen9.5 Intel GPUs get.

    Fire Strike: 1341
    Time Spy: 532

    Obviously these Rocket Lake results are early and we don't know the GPU configuration, but that would be 30% faster on Fire Strike and 14% faster on Time Spy. Which is about half the performance you'd get from AMD's Vega 11.
    Reply
  • MasterMadBones
    Clocks are pretty much bang on with what I expected, maybe 100-200 MHz more for the final product. I've been saying for a while that in Ice Lake, the architecture was mostly the limiting factor for clock speed, not the node. Sure, 14+++ allows higher clocks than 10+, but the difference isn't huge.
    Reply
  • TerryLaze
    JarredWaltonGPU said:
    For the curious, I just tested integrated graphics performance on UHD Graphics 630 -- using Core i7-9900K with DDR4-3200 memory, so basically as fast as Gen9.5 Intel GPUs get.

    Fire Strike: 1341
    Time Spy: 532

    Obviously these Rocket Lake results are early and we don't know the GPU configuration, but that would be 30% faster on Fire Strike and 14% faster on Time Spy. Which is about half the performance you'd get from AMD's Vega 11.
    Isn't the physics score basically a CPU score? Can you clock your 9900k at the same clocks this was running and tell us the physics score?
    They show it in the link.
    Reply
  • TerryLaze
    MasterMadBones said:
    Clocks are pretty much bang on with what I expected, maybe 100-200 MHz more for the final product. I've been saying for a while that in Ice Lake, the architecture was mostly the limiting factor for clock speed, not the node. Sure, 14+++ allows higher clocks than 10+, but the difference isn't huge.
    While clocks might be production related,it's also a great way to sell a future refresh instead of doing a new arch.
    Reply
  • JarredWaltonGPU
    TerryLaze said:
    Isn't the physics score basically a CPU score? Can you clock your 9900k at the same clocks this was running and tell us the physics score?
    They show it in the link.
    Yeah, sure ... It was actually a 9700K, I was mistaken. But the scores in Fire Strike and Time Spy are here:
    62
    63

    Pretty obvious the performance isn't tuned yet, unless this wasn't an 8-core chip.
    Reply
  • Deicidium369
    https://www.guru3d.com/news-story/integrated-xe-intel-tiger-lake-gpu-outperforms-vega-at-7nm-from-ryzen-4000-for-notebooks.html

    https://wccftech.com/intel-tiger-lake-cpu-xe-gpu-2x-graphics-performance-faster-than-amd-ryzen-4000-renior-7nm-vega/

    BUT

    I think the Rocket Lake S is not a full 96EU like Tiger Lake - more like 24 or 32 EU. - so barely on par with the G7 Ice Lake variants. (~64 Gen11 = ~32 Gen12). This is a desktop flagship - so can't imagine anyone using the iGPU for anything other than curiosity.
    Reply
  • JarredWaltonGPU
    Deicidium369 said:
    https://www.guru3d.com/news-story/integrated-xe-intel-tiger-lake-gpu-outperforms-vega-at-7nm-from-ryzen-4000-for-notebooks.html
    https://wccftech.com/intel-tiger-lake-cpu-xe-gpu-2x-graphics-performance-faster-than-amd-ryzen-4000-renior-7nm-vega/
    BUT

    I think the Rocket Lake S is not a full 96EU like Tiger Lake - more like 24 or 32 EU. - so barely on par with the G7 Ice Lake variants. (~64 Gen11 = ~32 Gen12). This is a desktop flagship - so can't imagine anyone using the iGPU for anything other than curiosity.
    That’s the question, of course: what is the GPU configuration in Rocket Lake S? There are good reasons for it to have at least a 64 EU graphics subsystem, like the fact that a lot of CPUs for desktop also go into notebooks. Given the performance, though, it seems like a 32 EU version. That or the drivers or clocks are very poor right now.

    Anyway, I’ve got an integrated graphics article going up in the morning that digs into this stuff more. Basically, faster integrated graphics only makes sense for mobile solutions. For desktops, a dedicated GPU is easier, upgradable, faster, and doesn’t have the cooling limitations of a socketed CPU.
    Reply
  • PCWarrior
    Well in this particular benchmark we don’t know what the sustained clock speeds had been. For all we know it could have run at just the base speed of 3.2GHz. Also since we are talking about an engineering sample it is not just clock speeds that will improve. Some critical pathways of the CPU will also likely receive some reworking/optimisation.

    Willow cove is expected to offer an increase in IPC of around 30%. But such IPC figures (and that is also applicable to AMD) are average figures. So on things like 7-zip the willow cove microarchitecture can offer an impressive 45-50% increase and in tile-based rendering a 35-40% uplift. Also, things that can leverage AVX 512 might even see a 2-2.2x speedup and who knows what speedups some iGPU-accelerated workloads will see. However, for many tasks, the new architecture will probably offer a modest uplift of less than 20% and closer to 10-15% in most cases. So, Intel can’t afford to lose too much clock speed compared to Comet lake. Intel will need to have a turbo to at least 4.6-4.7GHz across at least 4 cores in order to surpass Comet lake’s flagship on absolutely everything.

    I do expect that they will reach these speeds. For example I expect the i9 11900K to have clock speeds that look something like these (or thereabouts):

    4.7GHz - 2 cores active
    4.6GHz - 4 cores active
    4.5GHz - 6 cores active
    4.4GHz - 8 cores active
    4.3GHz - 10 cores active

    So for things like Cinema4D or Blender (CPU rendering) I expect an overall uplift of around 20% when comparing the i9 11900K against the i9 10900K. For gaming I expect either a minor regression or parity or a minor gain of 1-2%. And any claimed major gains will probably be against a completely stock 10900K as I expect Rocket lake to have 3200MHz official memory support.
    Reply