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Intel Rocket Lake CPU Appears with 6 Cores and 12 Threads

We have been hearing a lot about Intel's Rocket Lake lineup of processors. They are supposed to be a backport of Willow Cove 10 nm core, adapted to work on a 14 nm process for better yielding. Meant to launch sometime around late 2020 or the beginning of 2021, Rocket Lake is designed to work on the now existing LGA1200 socket motherboards, which were launched just a few days ago along with Intel Comet Lake CPUs. Rocket Lake is there to supply the desktop segment and satisfy user demand, in light of lacking 10 nm offers for desktop users. The 10 nm node is going to present only on mobile/laptop and server solutions before it comes to the desktop.

In the latest report on 3D Mark, the hardware leaker TUM APISAK has found a Rocket Lake CPU running the benchmark and we get to see first specifications of the Rocket Lake-S platform. The benchmark ran on 6 core model with 12 threads, that had a base clock of 3,5 GHz. The CPU managed to boost up to 4,09 GHz, however, we are sure that these are not final clocks and the actual product should have even higher frequencies. Paired with Gen12 Xe graphics, the Rocket Lake platform could offer a very nice alternative to AMD offerings if the backport of Willow Cove goes well. Even though it is still using a 14 nm node, performance would be good. The only things that would be sacrificed (from backporting) are die space and efficiency/heat.
Intel Rocket Lake Benchmark Report

Intel "Alder Lake" LGA1700 to Feature DDR5; "Rocket Lake" Thermal Specs Leaked

PTT leaked some juicy details of the upcoming Intel "Rocket Lake" and "Alder Lake" processor generations. "Rocket Lake" will power Intel's 11th generation Core processor series in the LGA1200 package, and are rumored to be a "back port" of Intel's advanced "Willow Cove" CPU cores to a 14 nm-class silicon fabrication node, with core-counts ranging up to 8. The idea for Intel is to sell high IPC, high clock-speed desktop processors for gaming.

According to the PTT report, there will be three kinds of SKUs for "Rocket Lake" based on TDP: 8-core parts with 95 W TDP rating; and 8-core, 6-core, and 4-core parts in 80 W TDP and 65 W TDP variants. For the 95 W (PL1) parts, the power-levels PL2, and PL4 are reportedly set at 173 W and 251 W, respectively, and a 56-second Tau (a timing variable that dictates how long a processor can stick around at an elevated power-state before retreating to PL1, which is interchangeable with the TDP value on the box). The 80 W TDP parts feature 146 W PL2, 191 W PL3, and 251 W PL4, but a lower Tau value of 28 seconds. For the 65 W parts, the PL2 is 128 W, PL3 is 177 W, and PL4 251 W, and the Tau value 28 seconds.

Gigabyte Says Intel Z490 Chipset Motherboards Will Support 11th Gen "Rocket Lake-S"

Maybe it's hard to fathom an Intel chipset that actually supports more than a single generation of CPU designs; and if so, you're forgiven, because it seems the blue giant has mostly forgotten of thinking about platform longevity and upgradeability. However, we might be in for a rare treat, if the words from a Gigabyte representative are to be taken seriously. In a Q&A regarding Gigabyte's latest generation Z490 motherboards, a user questioned the Gigabyte representatives whether their Z490-based platforms would support upcoming Rocket Lake designs. The answer, which came with a caveat of "I don't know if this should be made public", was that yes: Z490 will support Rocket Lake-S.

If true, this may shed some light on why motherboard manufacturers have given so much importance to PCIe 4.0 marketing on their Z490 motherboards... Whose chipset doesn't support PCIe 4.0 from the get-go. However, with next-generation Rocket Lake-S expectedly sporting the same 14 nm fabrication process albeit with a new microarchitecture, a wider DMI 3.0 8x band, Intel's high-performance Xe graphics architecture design and PCIe 4.0 support on a platform level, it does begin to make sense that manufacturers would mention PCIe 4.0 support on the current Z490. Because if CPU compatibility is maintained, that means that users looking to drop-in a Rocket Lake-S CPU will at the very least be able to enjoy 20 lanes of PCIe 4.0 in these ready-made motherboards.

Intel i225 "Foxville" 2.5GbE PHY Has a Flaw Affecting Performance, "Rocket Lake-S" 2H-2020 Production Confirmed

Intel's i225 "Foxville" family of 2.5 Gbps wired Ethernet controllers have a design flaw that affects performance, according to an official advisory sent by Intel out to its motherboard- and OEM PC partners (notebook- and pre-built desktop manufacturers). There are no security implications of this advisory. The i225 family of 2.5 GbE chips are being extensively implemented in upcoming motherboard, desktop and notebook designs. The i225 "Foxville" family consists of the i225-V targeted at motherboards and notebooks with Intel chipsets that have integrated MAC; while the slightly pricier i225-LM has an embedded MAC, and targeted at other platforms (extensively found in high-end and upcoming AMD motherboards).

According to the advisory, there is a variance in the inter-packet gap (IPG), the interval between data packets transmitted on the physical layer. This variance can cause packet loss, resulting in reduced throughput (i.e. a performance loss). Interestingly, the IPG variance is seen only when the PHY is networked with select kinds of 2.5 GbE compliant routers and switches. Specific models of Netgear, Juniper, and AQuantia infrastructure chipsets exhibit this variance, while those by Cisco, Huawei, Buffalo, and Aruba, don't. Intel is continuing to re-evaluate the chip with more 2.5 GbE devices, and will update the list in the slide below as needed. There is no mitigation, besides manually setting the controller to work in 1 GbE mode in Intel Network Connections driver control panel. Intel is working on a new stepping of these chips, but those will come out only in the second half of 2020, aligned with "Rocket Lake-S" entering mass-production. This slide inadvertently confirms that its next-generation Core "Rocket Lake-S" processor will enter production in 2H-2020.

Intel Rocket Lake-S Platform Detailed, Features PCIe 4.0 and Xe Graphics

Intel's upcoming Rocket Lake-S desktop platform is expected to arrive sometime later this year, however, we didn't have any concrete details on what will it bring. Thanks to the exclusive information obtained by VideoCardz'es sources at Intel, there are some more details regarding the RKL-S platform. To start, the RKL-S platform is based on a 500-series chipset. This is an iteration of the upcoming 400-series chipset, and it features many platform improvements. The 500-series chipset based motherboards will supposedly have an LGA 1200 socket, which is an improvement in pin count compared to LGA 1151 socket found on 300 series chipset.

The main improvement is the CPU core itself, which is supposedly a 14 nm adaptation of Tiger Lake-U based on Willow Cove core. This design is representing a backport of IP to an older manufacturing node, which results in bigger die space due to larger node used. When it comes to the platform improvements, it will support the long-awaited PCIe 4.0 connection already present on competing platforms from AMD. It will enable much faster SSD speeds as there are already PCIe 4.0 NVMe devices that run at 7 GB/s speeds. With RKL-S, there will be 20 PCIe 4.0 lanes present, where four would go to the NVMe SSD and 16 would go to the PCIe slots from GPUs. Another interesting feature of the RKL-S is the addition of Xe graphics found on the CPU die, meant as iGPU. Supposedly based on Gen12 graphics, it will bring support for HDMI 2.0b and DisplayPort 1.4a connectors.
Intel Rocket Lake-S Platform

Intel 400-series Chipset Motherboards to Lack PCIe Gen 4.0, Launch Pushed to Q2

Intel's upcoming 400-series desktop chipset will lack support for PCI-Express gen 4.0. The motherboards will stick to gen 3.0 for both the main x16 PEG slots wired to the LGA1200 socket, and general purpose PCIe lanes from the PCH, according to a Tom's Hardware report. It was earlier expected that 400-series chipset motherboards will come with preparation for PCIe gen 4.0, so even if the upcoming 10th gen "Comet Lake" desktop processors lacked gen 4.0 root-complexes, the boards would be fully ready for the new bus standard in 11th gen "Rocket Lake" desktop processors.

10th gen "Comet Lake" desktop processors are built on 14 nm process, and implement Intel's current-gen CPU core design Intel has been implementing since 6th gen "Skylake." It's only with 11th gen "Rocket Lake" that the mainstream desktop platform could see a new CPU core design, with the company reportedly back-porting "Willow Cove" CPU cores to the 14 nm process. "Rocket Lake" is also expected to feature a small Gen12 iGPU with 32 execution units, and a new-gen uncore component that implements PCIe gen 4.0. PCIe gen 4.0 doubles bandwidth over gen 3.0, and while only a handful GPUs support it, the standard is made popular by a new generation of M.2 NVMe SSDs that are able to utilize the added bandwidth to push sequential transfer rates beyond M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 limitations.

Intel CPU Based on New Architecture Leaks

Today Intel's CPU based on yet unannounced architecture got revealed in the SiSoft benchmark database. Featuring six cores and twelve threads running at 3 GHz, it appears like a regular 14 nm CPU that's already available, however, when digging through the details, many things are revealed. The newly submitted CPU has a different L2 cache configuration from previous CPU offerings, with this chip featuring 1.25 MB of L2 cache per core, it is unlike anything else Intel currently offers. Ice Lake mobile chips feature 512 KB, while the highest amount of L2 cache is currently present on i9-10980XE, which features 1 MB of L2.

It is unknown where this CPU fits in the whole 14/10 nm lineup, as we don't know if this is an iteration of 10 nm Tiger Lake or the rumored 14 nm Rocket Lake CPU. All we know is that this CPU features new architecture compared to Skylake iterations that are currently being used, judging by L2 cache bump, which usually happens on new architectures. The platform used for benchmarking this CPU was SuperMicro X12DAi-N SMC X12 dual-socket motherboard, which featured two of these new CPUs for a total of 12 cores and 24 threads.

Intel "Rocket Lake" an Adaptation of "Willow Cove" CPU Cores on 14nm?

The "Willow Cove" CPU core design succeeds "Sunny Cove," Intel's first truly new CPU core design in close to 5 years. "Sunny Cove" is implemented in the 10 nm "Ice Lake" microarchitecture, and "Willow Cove" cores are expected to debut with the 10 nm+ "Tiger Lake." It turns out that Intel is working to adapt "Willow Cove" CPU cores onto a 14 nm microarchitecture, and "Rocket Lake" could be it.

Twitter user @chiakokhua, a retired VLSI engineer with high hit-rate on CPU microarchitecture news, made sense of technical documents to point out that "Rocket Lake" is essentially a 14 nm adaptation of "Tiger Lake," but with the iGPU shrunk significantly, to make room for the larger CPU cores. The Gen12 iGPU on "Rocket Lake-S" will feature just 32 execution units (EUs), whilst on "Tiger Lake," it has three times the muscle, with 96 EUs. "Rocket Lake" also replaces "Tiger Lake's" FIVR (fully-integrated voltage regulation) with a conventional SVID VRM architecture.

Intel "Rocket Lake-S" Desktop Processor Comes in Core Counts Up to 8, Gen12 iGPU Included

Intel's 11th generation Core "Rocket Lake-S" desktop processor will come in core-counts only up to 8, even as its predecessor, "Comet Lake-S," goes up to 10. Platform descriptors for Intel's next four microarchitectures surfaced on the web, detailing maximum values of their "S" (mainsteam desktop), "H" (mainstream notebook), "U" (ultrabook), and "Y" (low power portable) flavors. Both "Comet Lake-S" and "Rocket Lake-S" are 14 nm chips. "Comet Lake-S" comes with core counts of up to 10, a TDP of up to 125 Watts, Gen 9LP iGPU with 48 execution units, and native support for up to 128 GB of DDR4-2667.

The "Rocket Lake-S" silicon is interesting. Rumored to be yet another derivative of "Skylake," it features up to 8 CPU cores, the same 125 W maximum TDP, but swanky Gen12 iGPU with 32 execution units. The memory controller is also upgraded, which supports DDR4-2933 natively. There is no "Ice Lake-H" or "Ice Lake-S" in sight (no mainstream notebook or mainstream desktop implementations), ditto "Tiger Lake." For the foreseeable future, Intel will only make quad-core designs of the two 10 nm microarchitectures. "Rocket Lake-S" is slated for 2021 when, hopefully, we'll see Intel escape the 14 nm black hole.

Intel Clarifies on 10nm Desktop CPUs: Still on the Table, Likely in 2021

Intel in a quick rebuttal to the earlier reports from Monday, clarified that desktop processors based on the 10 nm silicon fabrication node are still on the company's roadmap. "We continue to make great progress on 10 nm, and our current roadmap of 10 nm products includes desktop," the company said in its one-liner. Monday's reports predicted a horror story where Intel would drag its 14 nm "Skylake" derived microarchitecture through to 2022, at which point it would be 7 years old.

The Tom's Hardware report that posts the statement, however, pins 14 nm to still last till 2021, if not the 2022 date predicted in the HardwareLuxx report. Intel will sell "Comet Lake" through 2020, succeeded by "Rocket Lake," which takes up much of 2021. Towards the end of 2021, Intel will release a desktop processor based on its matured 10 nm++ silicon fabrication node, which will lead the company into 2022, when it finally launches 7 nm EUV-based desktop chips.

Intel Scraps 10nm for Desktop, Brazen it Out with 14nm Skylake Till 2022?

In a shocking piece of news, Intel has reportedly scrapped plans to launch its 10 nm "Ice Lake" microarchitecture on the client desktop platform. The company will confine its 10 nm microarchitectures, "Ice Lake" and "Tiger Lake" to only the mobile platform, while the desktop platform will see derivatives of "Skylake" hold Intel's fort under the year 2022! Intel gambles that with HyperThreading enabled across the board and increased clock-speeds, it can restore competitiveness with AMD's 7 nm "Zen 2" Ryzen processors with its "Comet Lake" silicon that offers core-counts of up to 10.

"Comet Lake" will be succeeded in 2021 by the 14 nm "Rocket Lake" silicon, which somehow combines a Gen12 iGPU with "Skylake" derived CPU cores, and possibly increased core-counts and clock speeds over "Comet Lake." It's only 2022 that Intel will ship out a truly new microarchitecture on the desktop platform, with "Meteor Lake." This chip will be built on Intel's swanky 7 nm EUV silicon fabrication node, and possibly integrate CPU cores more advanced than even "Willow Cove," possibly "Golden Cove."
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