Rocket Lake S: Intel’s last 14 nm desktop CPU reaches over 5 GHz


An era is coming to an end: within the next few months, Intel plans to release Rocket Lake S, the last desktop CPU generation based on its own 14 nm process. It is called Rocket Lake internally and is currently operated as an engineering sample at 5 GHz, as shown by entries in benchmark databases.

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Until the release, the clock rates should continue to rise and then be above 5 GHz, the usually accurate user reports _rogame on Twitter. Rocket Lake S could thus achieve frequencies similar to those of Comet Lake S: The top model, the Core i9-10900K (test), runs with a boost of up to 5.3 GHz on two cores.

However, while Comet Lake S is based on the Skylake microarchitecture that has been used since 2015, Rocket Lake S is supposed to use a more modern technology. Intel summarizes this as a Cove family, which is broken down as follows: Palm Cove is used for Cannon Lake like the Core i3-8121U, Palm Ice for Ice Lake like the Core i7-1065G7, however, and for the Tiger Lake planned for autumn 2020 then Willow Cove. Golden Cove is also on the list for desktop chips instead of ultrabook chips.

Example chip production µArch base Launch
Skylake Core i7-6700K 14 nm Skylake LGA 1151 2015
Kaby Lake Core i7-7700K 14+ nm Kaby Lake LGA 1151 2017
Coffee Lake Core i7-8700K 14+ nm Kaby Lake LGA 1151 v2 2018
Coffee Lake Refresh Core i9-9900K 14 ++ nm Kaby Lake LGA 1151 v2 2019
Comet Lake Core i9-10900K 14 ++ nm Kaby Lake LGA 1200 2020
Rocket Lake (?) 14 ++ nm Cypress Cove LGA 1200 (?)
Alder Lake (?) 10+ nm Golden Cove LGA 1700 2021
Meteor Lake (?) 7 nm (?) LGA 1700 2022

Overview of Intel µArchs for desktop CPUs

For Rocket Lake, on the other hand, a variant called Cypress Cove is to be used, which should have 10 percent more power per cycle (IPC) than the Skylake technology. Intel again specifies 18 percent for Sunny Cove, but this architecture, like Palm Cove and Willow Cove, does not exist for desktop chips, but only for Ultrabook SoCs.

Rocket Lake S is expected to compete with eight cores, which would mean a step backwards compared to the ten-core Comet Lake S. The possibly higher clock rate and the likewise higher IPC are intended to compensate for or overcompensate for this. CML-S and RKL-S both fit in mainboards with LGA 1200 socket, but Intel is planning new chipsets with PCIe Gen4 instead of PCIe Gen3 and x8- instead of x4-Link.

Since Alder Lake S will be the first 10 nm desktop chip in the second half of 2021, Rocket Lake S could not only be the last 14 nm CPU, but, like Broadwell S (Core i7-5775C), it could quickly be one Successor to be replaced.

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