Intel Rocket Lake CPUs coming next year to battle AMD Zen 3 chips

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Get ready for a desktop battle next year. Intel plans to bring its 11th gen Rocket Lake desktop processors to the market in the first quarter of 2021, setting up a potential showdown with rival AMD.

When the new Rocket Lake desktop processors arrive, they’ll pack PCIe 4.0 support along with other capabilities that should appeal to gamers. A post on Medium from Intel's John Bonini confirmed the launch, but didn’t provide much in the way of additional information about the chips.

In his Rocket Lake announcement, Bonini did note that high processor frequencies would end up being an important metric when it comes to determining high performance in gaming and more demanding applications. But apart from use cases, there was little indication about to expect from this generation of desktop processors.

According to Videocardz, it's possible that the chips could end up arriving as early as March 2021. They'll likely be compatible with Intel 400-series motherboards as well. This should be helpful in avoiding the issues of having to buy a new model that can often arise with a new chipset. The new lineup will also likely include integrated Thunderbolt 4 support as well as new Xe graphics. 

Wccftech reports that the Rocket Lake processors will be 14-nanometer chips, which Intel has used for some time. What we expect at this point is that Intel Rocket Lake will launch with a different CPU core architecture, potentially with a back port of the 10nm Willow Cove of Sunny Cove designs. There isn't much to go on to determine if elements of both architectures will be combined into something more powerful.

Intel’s desktop processor announcement comes as rival AMD is gearing up for a reveal of its own. The chip maker is about to show off its own CPUs based on its next-gen Zen 3 architecture for desktop computers. The added competition will make for a highly competitive atmosphere between the biggest names in the chip making space.

Brittany Vincent

Brittany Vincent has been covering video games and tech for over 13 years for publications including Tom's Guide, MTV, Rolling Stone, CNN, Popular Science, Playboy, IGN, GamesRadar, Polygon, Kotaku, Maxim, and more. She's also appeared as a panelist at video game conventions like PAX East and PAX West and has coordinated social media for companies like CNET. When she's not writing or gaming, she's looking for the next great visual novel in the vein of Saya no Uta. You can follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake.