Intel today debuted its 11th Generation Core "Rocket Lake" desktop processor family. and we have with us the mid-tier Core i5-11600K, which, if combined with the right hardware, could end up being all the CPU you need for maxed out gaming. The new Rocket Lake architecture is Intel's response to a menacingly resurgent AMD and its stunning usurping of the gaming performance crown from Intel last year. The architecture introduces the new "Cypress Cove" CPU core, which Intel claims offers an IPC gain of up to 19% over the previous generation, which should translate into major gaming performance gains.
The sub-$300 desktop processor market has been dominated by 6-core processors since 2018. Intel's first response to the 6-core/12-thread Ryzen 5 series was the Core i5 6-core/6-thread "Coffee Lake" series. As AMD steadily increased IPC with "Zen 2" and the Ryzen 5 3600X, Intel responded with the 6-core/12-thread Core i5-10600K, introducing HyperThreading to this segment. With AMD deciding to hold the 6-core/12-thread configuration for its latest "Zen 3" Ryzen 5 5600X, Intel is sticking with this core count and counting on the increased IPC to clinch the deal in their favor.
The new Cypress Cove CPU core is a back-port of the "Sunny Cove" core from "Ice Lake," to the 14 nm process. Rocket Lake combines up to 8 of these cores with an updated integrated graphics solution based on the Gen12 Xe LP architecture—the same one powering "Tiger Lake" Iris Xe iGPUs. Intel is also introducing its ambitious DLBoost (Deep Learning Boost) feature to the desktop platform with Rocket Lake. DLBoost accelerates AI deep-learning neural net building and training by up to six times compared to native x86 code. Intel sees a future for AI in several client media applications, including image and video manipulation. It's already quite popular on smartphones. The new CPU core also introduces new instruction sets, including AVX-512, or at least a truncated version of it with only those instructions that are relevant to the consumer PC.
With Rocket Lake, Intel is giving its platform I/O a major overhaul, with support for PCI-Express 4.0 x16 discrete graphics, a CPU-attached M.2 NVMe slot with PCIe 4.0 x4, and double the chipset-bus bandwidth compared to the previous generation when paired with a Z590 or H570 chipset motherboard. The company is also introducing a wealth of new overclocking features, which we will detail in the following pages.
The Core i5-11600K is a 6-core/12-thread processor clocked at 3.90 GHz, with a maximum Turbo Boost frequency of 4.90 GHz. The processor features 512 KB of L2 cache per core, and 12 MB of shared L3 cache. Prices of mid-tier 6-core processors are on the boil, with Intel asking $275 for the i5-11600K and its main rival, the Ryzen 5 5600X, priced worse, almost crossing $300. In this review, we take the i5-11600K for a spin to show you if this all you need for maxed out AAA gaming in 2021.
|Price||Cores / |
|Ryzen 3 3300X||$200||4 / 8||3.8 GHz||4.3 GHz||16 MB||65 W||Zen 2||7 nm||AM4|
|Core i3-10300||$180||4 / 8||3.7 GHz||4.4 GHz||8 MB||65 W||Comet Lake||14 nm||LGA 1200|
|Core i5-9400F||$150||6 / 6||2.9 GHz||4.1 GHz||9 MB||65 W||Coffee Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Core i5-10400F||$150||6 / 12||2.9 GHz||4.3 GHz||12 MB||65 W||Comet Lake||14 nm||LGA 1200|
|Core i5-10500||$215||6 / 12||3.1 GHz||4.5 GHz||12 MB||65 W||Comet Lake||14 nm||LGA 1200|
|Ryzen 5 3600||$200||6 / 12||3.6 GHz||4.2 GHz||32 MB||65 W||Zen 2||7 nm||AM4|
|Core i5-9600K||$215||6 / 6||3.7 GHz||4.6 GHz||9 MB||95 W||Coffee Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Core i5-10600K||$230||6 / 12||4.1 GHz||4.8 GHz||12 MB||125 W||Comet Lake||14 nm||LGA 1200|
|Core i5-11600K||$275||6 / 12||3.9 GHz||4.9 GHz||12 MB||125 W||Rocket Lake||14 nm||LGA 1200|
|Ryzen 5 3600X||$250||6 / 12||3.8 GHz||4.4 GHz||32 MB||95 W||Zen 2||7 nm||AM4|
|Ryzen 5 5600X||$350||6 / 12||3.7 GHz||4.6 GHz||32 MB||65 W||Zen 3||7 nm||AM4|
|Core i7-9700K||$290||8 / 8||3.6 GHz||4.9 GHz||12 MB||95 W||Coffee Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Core i7-10700K||$320||8 / 16||3.8 GHz||5.1 GHz||16 MB||125 W||Comet Lake||14 nm||LGA 1200|
|Core i7-11700K||$420||8 / 16||3.6 GHz||5.0 GHz||16 MB||125 W||Rocket Lake||14 nm||LGA 1200|
|Ryzen 7 3700X||$330||8 / 16||3.6 GHz||4.4 GHz||32 MB||65 W||Zen 2||7 nm||AM4|
|Ryzen 7 3800XT||$450||8 / 16||3.9 GHz||4.7 GHz||32 MB||105 W||Zen 2||7 nm||AM4|
|Ryzen 7 5800X||$450||8 / 16||3.8 GHz||4.7 GHz||32 MB||105 W||Zen 3||7 nm||AM4|
|Core i9-10900||$400||10 / 20||2.8 GHz||5.2 GHz||20 MB||65 W||Comet Lake||14 nm||LGA 1200|
|Ryzen 9 3900X||$485||12 / 24||3.8 GHz||4.6 GHz||64 MB||105 W||Zen 2||7 nm||AM4|
|Ryzen 9 5900X||$550||12 / 24||3.7 GHz||4.8 GHz||64 MB||105 W||Zen 3||7 nm||AM4|
|Core i9-9900K||$370||8 / 16||3.6 GHz||5.0 GHz||16 MB||95 W||Coffee Lake||14 nm||LGA 1151|
|Core i9-10900K||$470||10 / 20||3.7 GHz||5.3 GHz||20 MB||125 W||Comet Lake||14 nm||LGA 1200|
|Core i9-11900K||$550||8 / 16||3.5 GHz||5.3 GHz||16 MB||125 W||Rocket Lake||14 nm||LGA 1200|