Intel Core i7-11700K 8 Core Rocket Lake CPU Review Published By Anandtech – Very Hot, Consumes More Power Than Core i9-10900K & Slower Than AMD In Core-To-Core Tests


The first proper review of a retail Intel Core i7-11700K 8 Core Rocket Lake Desktop CPU has been published by Dr. Ian Cutress of Anandtech. The tech outlet managed to get their hands on one of the retail chips from a manufacturer who probably broke the NDA like MindFactory and started to sell the CPUs a full month before the official launch on the 30th of March.

Intel Core i7-11700K Rocket Lake 8 Core CPU Review Shows That It's Very Hot, Power Hungry & Hardly Catches Up To AMD's Zen 3 Based Ryzen CPUs

What's interesting about these results than the one we have seen leak out before is that it is based on the retail sample. The Intel Core i7-11700K is going to be placed against the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X which is AMD's fastest 8 core offering based on the Zen 3 core architecture. The Core i9-11900K will be the top-dog but based on its pricing, it should be competing against the Ryzen 9 5900X with the same 8 core configuration but higher clock frequencies.

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You can read the full review of the Core i7-11700K at Anandtech over here!

Intel Core i7-11700K 8 Core & 16 Thread Rocket Lake Desktop CPU Specs

The Core i7-11700K features the same core configuration as the Core i9-11900K of 8 cores and 16 threads but comes with reduced clock speeds. The chip is said to feature a boost clock of 5.0 GHz on a single & 4.6 GHz across all of its 8 cores. The CPU will even carry the same amount of cache so nothing has changed but the main difference should come from the clocks and power limits. This lower-binned chip will sit at around 225-250W (PL2) limit while the PL1 limit will be standard at 125W. The PL1 rating has a TAU duration of 56 seconds while the PL2 rating has a TAU duration of 2.44ms.

11th Gen Intel Core desktop processors (code-named "Rocket Lake-S") will deliver increased performance and speeds. They will launch in the first quarter of 2021. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

It will be interesting to see how Rocket Lake CPUs overclock since the minute difference between the Core i9 and Core i7 chips can be overcome by a small overclock. As for pricing, the Core i7 will also be cheaper than the Core i9 variant but we don't know yet how Intel will price its 8 core Rocket Lake-S Desktop CPUs yet. There are reports that Intel could aggressively price the chips at around $400 US for the Core i9 and $300 US for the Core i7 which could prove to be a great decision if they really want to go against AMD's Zen 3 based parts in the sub-$500 US segment.

Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake Desktop CPU Lineup Specs (Preliminary):

CPU NameCores / ThreadsBase ClockBoost Clock (1-Core)Boost Clock (All-Core)CacheGraphicsTDP (PL1)TDP (PL2)Price
Core i9-11900K(F)8 / 163.50 GHz5.30 GHz4.80 GHz16 MBIntel Xe 32 EU (256 Cores)125W251W$539 US (K)
$513 US (KF)
Core i9-11900(F)8 / 162.50 GHz5.20 GHz4.70 GHz16 MBIntel Xe 32 EU (256 Cores)65W224W$439 US
$422 US (F)
Core i9-11900T8 / 161.50 GHz4.90 GHz3.70 GHz16 MBIntel Xe 32 EU (256 Cores)35W115W$439 US
Core i7-11700K(F)8 / 163.60 GHz5.00 GHz4.60 GHz16 MBIntel Xe 32 EU (256 Cores)125W251W$399 US (K)
$374 US (F)
Core i7-11700(F)8 / 162.50 GHz4.90 GHz4.40 GHz16 MBIntel Xe 32 EU (256 Cores)65W224W$323 US
$298 US (F)
Core i7-11700T8 / 161.40 GHz4.60 GHz3.60 GHz16 MBIntel Xe 32 EU (256 Cores)35W115W$323 US
Core i5-11600K(F)6 /123.90 GHz4.90 GHz4.60 GHz12 MBIntel Xe 32 EU (256 Cores)125W224W?$262 US (K)
$237 US (KF)
Core i5-116006 /122.80 GHz4.80 GHz4.30 GHz12 MBIntel Xe 32 EU (256 Cores)65W154W$213 US
Core i5-11600T6 /121.70 GHz4.10 GHz3.50 GHz12 MBIntel Xe 32 EU (256 Cores)35W92W$213 US
Core i5-115006 /122.70 GHz4.60 GHz4.20 GHz12 MBIntel Xe 32 EU (256 Cores)65W154W$192 US
Core i5-11500T6 /121.50 GHz3.90 GHz3.40 GHz12 MBIntel Xe 32 EU (256 Cores)35W92W$192 US
Core i5-11400(F)6 /122.60 GHz4.40 GHz4.20 GHz12 MBIntel Xe 24 EU (192 Cores)65W154W$182 US
$157 US (F)
Core i5-11400T6 /121.30 GHz3.70 GHz3.30 GHz12 MBIntel Xe 24 EU (192 Cores)35W92W$182 US

Intel Core i7-11700K 8 Core & 16 Thread Rocket Lake Desktop CPU Benchmarks

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The Anandtech test results were carried out on an undisclosed platform that could be featuring a Z590 motherboard. Other test equipment included ADATA's 16 GB DDR4-3200 (CL22) memory kit and a True Copper heatsink with dual SST-FHP141-VF fans. Both the Rocket Lake and Zen 3 CPUs were tested with the same memory configurations while Comet Lake was tested with DDR4-2933 & Coffee Lake was tested with DDR4-2666 MHz memory. The test results could be seen below:

Intel Core i7-11700K Rocket Lake Desktop CPU Benchmarks (Office & Science / Credits: Anandtech):

As you can see in the results above, the AMD Ryzen 5800X is faster in almost all of the CPU-specific performance benchmarks that were used. The only saving grace for Intel is AVX-512 but that leads to an unprecedented rise in power consumption, making the Rocket Lake Intel Core i7-11700K far more inefficient than it already was. Anandtech reports that the single and multi-thread floating-point performance sees a 19-19.5% increase but the integer performance has gone up only by an average of 10%.

Intel Core i7-11700K Rocket Lake Desktop CPU Benchmarks (Gaming Credits: Anandtech):

When it comes to gaming performance, the Intel Core i7-11700K lacks severely against the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X and even its Comet Lake-based predecessor. Anandtech tries to explain that the increased L3 cache cycles could be a reason for this adverse performance in games. According to our sources, Intel is already working hard to fix some of these issues through a micro update that was supposed to be available to board partners by mid of March but has since been delayed. It is likely that Intel will fix some of these cache-related issues through BIOS updates but that's something we have to keep an eye out in the long term as early reviews of the 11th Gen Desktop CPU lineup will showcase this kind of performance.

Lastly, we have the power and temperature data. At stock out-of-the-box operation, the Intel Core i7-11700K Rocket Lake CPU hits up to 81C with a power consumption of 225W. But with AVX-512, it shoots up to 104C and so does the power consumption which hits a shocking max of 290 Watts. It is more power-hungry than the Ryzen Threadripper CPUs when running AVX-512 instructions. So overall, we can see that Rocket Lake is going to be really hot and power-hungry and will definitely require you to invest in a beefy AIO liquid cooler and also a solid PSU.

SiSoftware has also posted their own test results of the Intel Core i7-11700K Desktop Rocket Lake CPU and found it to be slower than AMD's Ryzen 7 5800X, more inefficient than Skylake & power-hungry too.

Summary: A long due upgrade with great (+40% improved) performance: 9/10

We’ve really been waiting way too long for this – endless Skylake (SKL) derivatives (Gen 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10) then finally IceLake (ICL) and TigerLake (TGL) but for mobile (ULV) only. RocketLake (RKL) is not quite what we expected, as it’s not on 10nm litography but “back-ported” to 14nm+++ and also using the older ICL cores (not TGL) but at least compatible with the 400-series (LGA 1200) platform.

With AMD making steady improvements with Ryzen (series 2000, 3000 and now 5000), the top end i9 10900K CometLake (CML) could not really keep up thus we really needed a new contender from Intel. We were also waiting for PCIe 4.0 already supported by AMD 2 generations ago and by all modern GP-GPUs and NVMe SSDs; perhaps not quite needed, but with mass-market gaming consoles (Sony PS5, Microsoft XBox SS/XS) using NVMe/PCIe4 storage – it became a bit of an embarrassment for top-end PCs to lack it.

RocketLake (RKL) i7 (1170K) does not increase number of cores (still 8C / 16T), nor speeds (rated / turbo), but AVX512 + arch improvements (larger caches, TLBs, etc.) make it about 50% faster than CFL/CML and with optimisations (and higher speed memory) likely higher. TDP (Power) is higher at 125W and being still at 14nm RKL will need a lot more (~155W?) to maintain top clocks.

Existing 400-series boards should also support RKL after a BIOS update, but naturally no PCIe 4.0 (as we had with AMD Ryzen 3000/5000 and 400-series boards). You will need a 500-series board which is not unexpected but still disappointing.

We have not touched on the Iris Gen12 graphics in this article which is a *huge* upgrade over the really old EV9.x graphics but at this level (i7+) it is likely that dedicated graphics will be used. As we’ve seen with TGL, the G7 96 EU versions are pretty powerful.

Despite the listed misgivings – it is a pretty much compelling upgrade for anybody buying today – not much point buying the old Skylake-based derivatives (e.g. Cometlake) unless the price is very much reduced. If you have a workload (virtualization?) that requires more cores, then 10C/20T CML or many-core SKL-X/KBL-X can still make sense.

Expect to see more information on the processors in the coming weeks along with pricing updates on when and where you can buy these chips for your 400 and 500-series motherboards.

What are your CPU upgrade plans for 2021?