Intel Rocket Lake CPUs could boost up to 5.5GHz – and blow away Comet Lake at gaming

(Image credit: Future)

Intel’s Rocket Lake processors – the next-gen CPUs due to emerge early in 2021 – will offer a much stronger performance in gaming than current Comet Lake chips, with all-core overclocks running to 5GHz, and boost speeds potentially hitting up to 5.5GHz, according to fresh rumors.

That’s according to leaker ITCooker (via Wccftech), who spilled fresh details on Rocket Lake CPUs (after previously posting an image of a setup running a sample chip from Intel’s incoming 11th-gen range).

The big takeaways here are that Intel has made huge strides with architectural improvements in terms of gaming performance – it’s the biggest leap forward since Skylake, five years ago, apparently – and we can expect a much stronger performance than current 10th-gen processors (which are no slouch as it is for PC games).

In short, Rocket Lake may remain built on a 14nm process, but architectural improvements – tuned towards gamers – will be massive, plus L1 cache and L2 cache sizes will be bigger (featuring a purported 50% increase to 48KB for the former, and a doubling of size for L2 at 512KB).

This sounds exciting indeed, but remember to temper your expectations – this is only chatter from the rumor mill, after all. Furthermore, it’ll be rather a different story outside of gaming, and with Rocket Lake purportedly topping out at 8-cores, ITCooker notes that predictably enough, benchmarks like Cinebench R20 multi-threaded will still be owned by AMD Ryzen processors.

ITCooker also observes that it will be ‘very easy’ to perform an all-core overclock to 5GHz with Rocket Lake silicon.

Boost heaven

Another leaker, MeibuW, also chimed in, claiming that Core i9 CPUs will be able to reach turbo speeds of up to 5.4GHz or even 5.5GHz with Rocket Lake (what that might mean on the thermal front is another matter). That Core i9 model will be 8-cores (16-threads), as mentioned, and so will the Core i7, meaning that these chips will be differentiated by their clocks.

These leaks even provided some guesses at potential pricing from Intel, with Rocket Lake’s Core i7 processor expected to come in at under $400, with the aim to make it highly competitive against the Ryzen 9 5800X, undercutting AMD’s 8-core chip which is due to land on November 5 retailing at $449.

We’d treat that prospect with a massive amount of caution, but there’s certainly an argument that Intel will need to come at AMD hard and fast in terms of both performance and price to regain ground in the desktop CPU market. This leakage suggests that this might just be Intel’s plan…

Intel recently let us know that Rocket Lake is due to arrive early in 2021, as we mentioned at the outset. Intel didn’t reveal much info about the 11th-gen chips, save for the fact that they will support PCIe 4.0, but there was a definite focus on gaming performance – which seems to marry with what the rumor mill is saying about architectural uplifts for PC gaming here.

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).