In a blog post on Medium today, Intel’s John Bonini has confirmed that the company will be launching its next-generation desktop platform in Q1 2021. This is confirmed as Rocket Lake, presumably under Intel’s 11th Gen Core branding, and will feature PCIe 4.0 support. After several months (and Z490 motherboards) mentioning Rocket Lake and PCIe 4.0 support, this note from Intel is the primary source that confirms it all.

The blog post doesn’t go into any further detail about Rocket Lake. From our side of the fence, we assume this is another 14nm processor, with questions as to whether it is built upon the same Skylake architecture as the previous five generations of 14nm, or is a back-port of Intel’s latest Cove microarchitecture designs. Add in PCIe 4.0 support rather than PCIe 3.0 - there’s no specific indication at this time that there will be an increase in PCIe lane counts from the CPU, although that has been an idea that has been floated. Some motherboards, such as the ASRock Z490 Aqua, seem to have been built with the idea of a PCIe 4.0 specific storage M.2 slot, which when in use makes the PCIe 3.0 slot no longer accessible.

It is notable in the blog that John Bonini (VP/GM for Intel’s Desktop/Workstation/Gaming) cites high processor frequencies as a key metric for high performance in games and popular applications, mentioning Intel’s various Turbo Boost technologies. In the same paragraph, he then cites overclocking Intel’s processors to 7 GHz, failing to mention that this sort of overclocking isn’t done for the sake of gaming or workflow. The blog post also seems to bounce between talking about enthusiast gamers on the bleeding edge and squeezing out every bit of performance at the top-end, to then mentioning casual gamers on mobile graphics; it’s comes across as erratic and a bit bipolar. Note that this blog post is also posted on Medium, rather than Intel’s own website, for whatever reason, and also seems to change font size mid-paragraph in the version we were sent.

The reason why this blog post is being today, in my opinion, is two-fold. Firstly, recent unconfirmed leaks regarding Intel’s roadmap has placed the next generation of desktop processor firmly into that Q1/Q2 crossover in 2021. By coming out and confirming a Q1 launch window, Intel is at least putting those rumors to bed. The second reason is down to what the competition is announcing: AMD has a Zen3 related presentation on October 8th, and so with Intel’s footnote, we at least know what’s going on with both team blue and team red.

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Source: Intel

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  • Mr Perfect - Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - link

    I look forward to Intel offering something newer then Skylake on the desktop. Q1 is a wide window though, such vague launches typically turn out being the end of the window.
  • FunnyRed7 - Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - link

    I wouldn't expect it any sooner than March 31st 11:59pm.
  • qlum - Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - link

    * do note that availability will be good around late August.
  • psychobriggsy - Thursday, October 8, 2020 - link

    Apparently it's week 10, so early March.

    However, launch may not mean availability. Zen 3 'launches' later today, but availability is later this month.
  • Gondalf - Sunday, October 11, 2020 - link

    What do you mean with availability?
    Is AMD capable to supply the OEMs channels? :). No obviously.
    Zen 2 was in real volume ? No, Zen 3 will be in real volume, no.

    To Intel care nothing of this thing. It is irrelevant for the market.
  • Samus - Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - link

    Intel's branding is so fucking confusing right now that I don't even know how OEM channels handle it.

    And quite frankly I don't think AMD has a supply issue on the CPU side. Yes they go out of stock but they are constantly restocked...I've built two Zen 3 systems since August and both cases CPU's were out of stock at the time of order at B&H, but both shipped within a week after ordering. I've accepted in our current world we cannot expect things to happen rapidly like they used too.
  • JKflipflop98 - Monday, October 19, 2020 - link

    It's really not that confusing.

    Would you rather the names be something like "Intel Core i9 without GPU with AVX256 but not AVX512 and also Hyperthreading PCIE 3.0 clock speed 4.2GHz"?
  • Spunjji - Thursday, October 22, 2020 - link

    Using their segmenting bullshit as an excuse for their naming bullshit is a novel concept, I'll give you that!

    Try their Xeon nomenclature on for size, see how charitable you feel after that.
  • eek2121 - Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - link

    Some of this have known about this for quite a while. There are some more hidden gems that indicate Rocket Lake will be a bit of a turd...albeit a necessary one.
  • eek2121 - Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - link

    I can promise you it will be officially launched after 03/01/2021 and before 03/22/2021...official availability though? That's another discussion...

    Note that launch != announced.

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