Intel Rocket Lake CPUs again rumored to land in March 2021

Intel Core i9-9980XE
(Image credit: Future)

Intel’s Rocket Lake processors are going to arrive in March 2021, according to the latest chatter from the rumor mill.

We already knew that Rocket Lake chips are planned to debut in early 2021, as Intel has already told us, but Wccftech has chimed in with a claim that these CPUs will arrive in March. This backs up a recent rumor, plus a leaked roadmap, both of which pointed to March as a launch date.

Wccftech talks about ‘confirmation’ of a March arrival, which means a supposed confirmation from an inside source (presumably), but obviously nothing is actually confirmed at this point, and even if Intel has this schedule in mind – big helping of salt, naturally – there’s no telling if things might slip (remember how Comet Lake slid, after all).

All that said, there have now been several rumors floating around claiming this, as mentioned, and March 2021 does seem about right, perhaps following a CES reveal in January. Certainly Intel needs to get Rocket Lake out in a timely manner, so AMD’s new Ryzen 5000 chips don’t gain too much ground (particularly seeing as Ryzen is already dominating the desktop CPU market as it is).

PCIe 4.0 goodness

Wccftech also notes that Rocket Lake processors will be backwards compatible with Z490 motherboards, and will support PCIe 4.0, all of which we already knew (Intel officially announced PCIe 4.0 support, and Z490 boards with support built-in ready for the future – ie Rocket Lake – were spotted much earlier this year). Support will likely be enabled via a BIOS update on these boards when Rocket Lake lands.

Excitement around Rocket Lake has been somewhat dampened because it’s still built on 14nm, and it backtracks from 10-cores with Comet Lake to an 8-core flagship.

However, on the positive front, Rocket Lake does finally move on to a new architecture, in the form of  Cypress Cove, with which Intel is promising double digit IPC (instructions per clock) improvements, on top of likely clock speed increases (possibly up to 5.5GHz). The combination of which, as other leaks have suggested, could mean that the fight with AMD isn’t over yet

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).