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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  • yeeeeman - Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - link

    Some roadmaps have leaked online and they state it is March.
  • YB1064 - Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - link

    Intel have lost their way. This is sad to see.
  • eek2121 - Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - link

    No, they actually haven't.

    The issue is that Cypress Cove (the backport) has been in the works for quite a while, and you can't just cancel a project that you invest millions into. On top of that, Alder Lake (the true sequel on 10nm) wouldn't be ready until around May/June...So Intel, with it's corporate nonsense, decided that it would extend the gap between Comet Lake and Alder Lake by 8-9 introduction Cypress Cove AKA the 11000 series.

    Unless the bean counters at Intel panic, Alder Lake will launch in March 2022, but it will be ready by June 2021...all because Intel still can't shed their corporate image. If they keep this up, AMD is going to eat them alive.
  • Qasar - Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - link

    " Alder Lake will launch in March 2022, but it will be ready by June 2021 " i will believe that when it actually happens.
  • silencer12 - Thursday, October 8, 2020 - link

    AMD already has pci-e 4.0 because Intel took that sweet slow time again (with new technologies) to implement it. There is absolutely nothing to look forward to with Intel in processors at this time. Maybe graphics cards, ssds.

    (All american rejects - move along)
  • Samus - Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - link

    AMD usually beats Intel when implementing new standards. I can think of a dozen examples in between x86-64 and PCIe 4.0

    And in manufacturing breakthroughs I can think of a dozen examples between copper interconnects (thanks to AMD-IBM-Motorola partnership) and the use of off-process chiplets.
  • JKflipflop98 - Monday, October 19, 2020 - link

    Actually, Intel was the first to market with copper interconnects. "Hey! We made this one transistor in a lab as proof of concept" doesn't really count.
  • Spunjji - Thursday, October 22, 2020 - link

    That would be "not true", on so many levels. First up, IBM did more than just make "one transistor in a lab as a proof of concept":
    "On September 1, 1998, IBM announced the shipment of the world’s first copper-based microprocessors. The IBM® PowerPC® 750 was originally created as a standard aluminum design operating at up to 300 MHz. By applying IBM’s copper manufacturing process to what was essentially the same chip, the company was able to produce semiconductors featuring speeds of at least 400 MHz"

    Then came AMD in 1999 with the K7, the first CPU designed with copper interconnects in mind:

    Meanwhile, Intel in 1999:

    Intel didn't move to copper interconnects until 2002 with the Northwood Pentium IV.
  • yeeeeman - Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - link

    you guessed it right, it will be in march.
  • nandnandnand - Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - link

    "putting those rumors to bed"

    So, Rocket Lake in mid-March, at the end of Q1.

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