20 PCIe 4.0 lanes standout feature of Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake

Posted by Geoff Undrell on: in: News, Products

After first teasing the release during January’s virtual CES 2021 event, Intel has now confirmed the launch of its long-awaited Rocket Lake 11th Gen Series of CPUs, with this enhanced family of processors available alongside a new line of 11th Gen 500 series motherboards.

Plenty of exciting capabilities have already been revealed in recent months, but now that this new chipset is finally available, what can we expect to see?

The full Rocket Lake Line-up

Intel has already revealed other product lines as part of its 11th Gen family, and this recent Rocket Lake release includes several processors that differ from the existing iterations available with the 11th Gen Tiger Lake Laptop CPU range.

In total, the Rocket Lake family includes 8 new processors:

• Intel Core i9-11900K
• Intel Core i9-11900
• Intel Core i7-11700K
• Intel Core i7-11700
• Intel Core i5-11600K
• Intel Core i5-11600
• Intel Core i5-11500
• Intel Core i5-11400

As well as a range of CPUs, the new 11th Gen 500 series of Motherboards has also been released, and includes 4 variations:

• Z590
• H570
• B560
• H510

Solid foundations from a new architecture

The new Rocket Lake family represents a significant milestone for Intel, with its new Cypress Cove architecture becoming the first new desktop CPU architecture released in just over 5 years.

This new architecture builds on the existing Ice Lake 10nm architecture, but ports back to 14 nm to deliver higher performance at a more competitive price. In combination with its Xe Graphics architecture, Intel also predicts an increase of around 50% in GFX performance compared to 9th Gen integrated graphics.

RAM overclocking for enhanced performance

Another first with Rocket Lake CPUs is the availability of memory overclocking across various processors included within the series, with this capability set to be made available for the full range in the coming months.

This is an important step for Intel, as overclocking RAM allows for cost-effective performance boosts and faster frame rates without the need for additional cooling provisions. Importantly, as RAM boosts only require a small amount of power, there’s also no need to add a larger PSU.

Exciting expansion options with more PCIe slots

Perhaps the most notable aspect of the Rocket Lake series is an increase in PCIe 4.0 lanes from 16 to 20. Firstly, PCIe 4.0 has double the throughput of the earlier 3.0 generation giving it some significant performance advantages. The additional lanes offer worthwhile expansion capability, especially when a typical GFX card will eat up the 16 lanes available on most motherboards.

Importantly three of the new motherboards available with the 500 series, the Z590, H570, and the B560, support this PCIe change. The entry-level H510 board however is still limited to 16 slots.

In our opinion, additional lane capability was the most impressive new feature revealed and offers plenty of exciting opportunities for expansion. With an additional 4 PCIe lanes now available with Rocket Lake, you have more headroom to add in additional PCIe devices, such as an SSD, or to make a connection directly to your CPU to help improve performance.

Rocket Lake hits G2 machines

We’ve selectively introduced the new 11th Gen processors into some of our high-performance systems. We’re excited about the configuration choices this will offer our customers; plus, some welcomed savings it represents. With the potential of the four additional PCIe lanes, upgrade to industrial class motherboard options to achieve this expansion may no longer be necessary for some builds.

If you’d like to learn more about Intel’s new 11th Gen range of Rocket Lake processors and 500 series motherboards, and discuss how they could be integrated into your new rack or mini pc, get in touch with a member of the team.