Intel announces Rocket Lake-S processors, 11th gen Core H for gaming at CES 2021

Intel CES 2021
(Image credit: Intel)

At CES 2021, Intel took to the online stage to show off its latest families of processors, looking to stay strong as stiff competition from AMD and even Apple loom in the not-too-far distance.

Its biggest processors are the 11th Gen H-series and the Rocket Lake–S desktop chips — both of which promise big gaming gains. This is how Intel seeks to move forward and build on the Intel Evo platform and Tiger Lake 11th Gen chips from 2020, and it's good to see Intel deliver a strong lineup.

11th Gen Intel Core H-series mobile processors

Intel's biggest brag may be found in its new gaming laptop processors, the 11th Gen Intel Core H Series, which will be found in 40+ designs in the first half of 2021. Intel says this series should hit up to 5GHz speeds, making for the fastest single-threaded laptop performance. 

Intel CES 2021 - H-series 11th Gen mobile processors

(Image credit: Intel)

The presentation also boasted that speed for Turbo Mode in Special Edition Core i7 processors, and they've got a 16mm Z-height for thinner laptops. And Intel's also promising great battery life for models that are 14 to 15 inches.

Intel CES 2021 H-series gaming

(Image credit: Intel)

Intel's rating its H-series chips for "smooth" 4K gaming, and listed eight popular titles along with that claim: Destiny 2: Beyond LIght, Hitman III, League of Legends, Valorant, Grid, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Troy: A Total War Saga and Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord. The company also claimed more than 70fps speeds in 1080p "in most popular games.

These chips will be in laptops from all the major players, including Dell, HP and Lenovo, as well as Acer, Asus, MSI and Vaio.

Rocket Lake–S 11th Gen Desktop Processors

Intel also previewed its next desktop processors, the Rocket Lake-S 11th Gen chips. Intel's pushing gaming performance hard here, with claims of up to 50% improved integrated graphics performance, and up to 19% in gains on instructions per cycle. There's also Enhanced Intel UHD graphics with support AV1 Decode, and Intel Quick Sync Video is always on. 

Intel CES 2021

(Image credit: Intel)

The star of this section of the show is the 11th Gen Core i9-11900K, which is coming in the first quarter of 2021. This octa-core processor, with 16 threads is rated for up to 5.3/4.8GHz (single / all-core turbo frequency with Intel Thermal Velocity Boost). 

Intel CES 2021- Rocket Lake-S

(Image credit: Intel)

Because everyone's comparing Intel to AMD, Intel stacked the 11900K chip up against the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X on a series of games running at 1080p on High to Ultra. Intel's numbers shook out to the 11900K chip, beating the 5900X by as low as 2%, on Assassin's Creed: Valhalla (1080p Very High), and up to 8% on Total War: Three Kingdoms (DX11, 1080p High). The majority of the performance differentials were between 3 and 5 percent, though, such as the 4% on Cyberpunk 2077 at 1080p/High.

Intel's also increasing overclocking capabilities, and adding 4 Gen 4 PCIe lanes — the new total is 20.   

N-series Pentium Silver and Celeron 

Intel also rolled out a new family of Pentium Silver and Celeron processors, designed on Intel's 10nm architecture. These chips are rated to deliver up to 35% "better overall application performance" and upwards of 78% better gaming performance when compared to the previous generation. 

These chips will also help Chromebooks by even larger gains, as Intel notes improvements of "up to 144% better overall Chromebook performance." Plus, they noted to expect 78% faster speeds when creating a STEM project and "162% faster Web application performance." A demo presentation showed how the new Pentium chips will run races around the MediaTek CPUs.

Intel CES 2021 - Pentium and Celeron

(Image credit: Intel)

The claim of "all school day battery without charging" was also included. 

vPro comes to 11th Gen Core and Evo processors

Security minded users and IT buyers know that you need Intel vPro for protecting business data. And so the 11th Gen Tiger Lake processors now will get a new family of vPro enabled chips. 

These processors have serious gains over 10th Gen versions. In a slide comparing the new Intel Core vPro i7-1185G7 and 10th Gen Intel Core vPro i7-10610U, Intel boasted 19% better overall performance in applications, 21% faster web browsing, 17% faster performance in Office 365 (now called Microsoft 365), 130% faster video editing and a whopping 800% gains on AI performance.

Intel CES 2021 - Evo 11th Gen

(Image credit: Intel)

Intel also shared comparisons of the vPro i7-1185G7 CPU against the AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U — with 38% overall application improvements in Intel's favor. Gains referenced included 23% faster Office performance, 80% faster video editing and 138% better overall application performance.

Intel's 10nm SuperFin technology, Iris Xe graphics and Wi-Fi 6 are also included.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.