Intel is discontinuing its 11th-gen CPUs - but don’t panic-upgrade just yet

An Intel Core i9-11900K socketed into a motherboard
(Image credit: Future)

Intel has revealed that it plans to discontinue production of its higher-end 11th-gen CPUs, codename ‘Rocket Lake’, along with its 400- and 500-series chipset products.

This isn’t an entirely unexpected move; Intel originally launched the 11th-gen desktop processor line back in March 2021, and has since been through two generations, with the most recent flagship CPU being the powerhouse Intel Core i9-13900K.

If you’re still rocking a pre-11th-gen processor and are starting to worry about upgrading, though, don’t panic. Intel has confirmed that its business partners will need to place final orders for 11th-gen chips by August 25 this year, with the last shipments planned for February 23, 2024. So while they might be on the chopping block, these chips will be hanging around for a while yet.

Upgrades, people, upgrades

If you are still planning on upgrading, this news shouldn’t really matter that much anyway - while they’re naturally a bit more expensive, the 12th- and 13th-gen Intel Core CPUs are the clear choice here for anyone looking for a new processor.

The 12th-gen chips are among the best processors out there and should be a bit more affordable now that the newer 13th-generation has arrived. The reason for the large performance leap between Rocket Lake and the 12th-gen Alder Lake CPUs is largely down to Intel’s reworked core microarchitecture, which Team Blue calls ‘big.LITTLE’.

What big.LITTLE means is that the CPU cores are split into two variants, performance and efficiency cores. The P-cores handle your main workload – say, running rendering software or playing a game – while the E-cores take care of background processes to keep your system running silky-smooth.

In short, anyone wanting to upgrade to a newer Intel CPU right now should, without a shadow of a doubt, opt for a 12th-gen or later chip that uses this big.LITTLE architecture. The price-to-performance ratio of these processors is incredible compared to previous generations, enough to blow some of the best AMD processors out of the water.

Note that these Rocket Lake processors set to be discontinued are specifically those built on Intel’s 14nm process; not the 11th-gen ‘Tiger Lake’ chips for laptops and tablets, which uses the 10nm process.

That means that while we probably won't be seeing new 11th-gen laptops released next year anyway, it's only desktop users who are affected by this move from Intel for now. If you’ve still got an LGA-1200 motherboard, it might be time to think about upgrading so your PC can support Intel’s newer 12th- and 13th-gen CPUs.

Christian Guyton
Editor, Computing

Christian is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing Editor. He came to us from Maximum PC magazine, where he fell in love with computer hardware and building PCs. He was a regular fixture amongst our freelance review team before making the jump to TechRadar, and can usually be found drooling over the latest high-end graphics card or gaming laptop before looking at his bank account balance and crying.

Christian is a keen campaigner for LGBTQ+ rights and the owner of a charming rescue dog named Lucy, having adopted her after he beat cancer in 2021. She keeps him fit and healthy through a combination of face-licking and long walks, and only occasionally barks at him to demand treats when he’s trying to work from home.