Intel Rocket Lake-S Desktop CPUs Feature 8 Cores, GT1 Xe Graphics – Rocket Lake-U 6 Core at 15W, Tiger Lake-U 4 Cores at 15W & Tiger Lake-H 8 Cores at 45W Base TDPs

Hassan Mujtaba
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At CES 2020, Intel previewed upcoming mobile PC processors code-named “Tiger Lake.” Tiger Lake’s new capabilities, built on Intel’s 10nm+ process and integrated with new Intel Xe graphics architecture, are expected to deliver massive gains over 10th Gen Intel Core processors. First systems are expected to ship this year. (Credit: Tim Herman/Intel Corporation)

The latest details surrounding Intel's 11th Generation Tiger Lake & 12th Generation Rocket Lake CPUs have leaked out over at Chinese PTT forums. According to leaker Shark Bay, Intel's next-gen families for desktop and mobility platforms will have vastly different specifications & core configs.

Intel's Rocket Lake & Tiger Lake CPU Families Detailed - Rocket Lake-S With 8 Cores at 125W & Rocket Lake-H With 6 Cores at 45W - Intel GT1 Xe Graphics For Both Platforms

We already saw a major leak of Intel's next-generation Rocket Lake-S desktop platform last week from Videocardz. The leak gave us a look at what to expect from Intel's next desktop platform, the one that should succeed Intel's Comet Lake-S family which is just another 14nm Skylake rehash as mentioned by us in an earlier post. So with that said, let's get on with the details starting off with the 11th Generation Tiger Lake family.

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Intel's 11th Generation Tiger Lake Family - Built For Mobile Laptops & Gaming Notebooks

The Intel Tiger Lake CPUs will be termed as the 11th Generation Core family and would be kept exclusive to laptops and gaming notebooks. The lineup would come in three flavors which would include Tiger Lake-Y, Tiger Lake-U, and Tiger Lake-H. There have been several leaks for Tiger Lake-Y and Tiger Lake-U processors which are being internally tested by various OEMs and laptop vendors who would integrate the CPUs in their next-generation devices.

The Tiger Lake-Y family would consist of 4.5-9W TDP CPUs and would feature up to 4 cores and 8 threads. The GPU side would include a GT2 tier, Gen 12 Xe GPU. The Tiger Lake-Y processors will come in the UP4 (BGA 1598) package. The Tiger Lake-U family would consist of 15-28W TDP CPUs and would feature 4 cores and 8 threads, albeit at much higher clock speeds with boost nearing 4.50 GHz. These CPUs would also feature GT2 tier, Gen 12 Xe GPUs and would come in the UP3 (BGA 1499) package.

Then there's the high-performance Tiger Lake-H lineup that would consist of up to 8 core and 16 thread chips based on the new Willow Cove architecture. The CPUs would carry up to 34 MB of cache that's 24 MB L3 (3 MB L3 per core) and 10 MB L2 (1.25 MB per core). Tiger Lake CPUs will come with an asymmetrical 48/32 KB L1 cache and will fully support AVX2 & AVX-512 instructions. Tiger Lake-H CPUs would additionally feature Two-Level Memory (2LM) and SGX (Software Guard Extensions). Intel's Tiger Lake-H family would support DDR4 speeds up to 3200 MHz, Tiger Lake-U would support DDR4-3200 / LPDDR4x 4266 and Tiger Lake-Y will exclusively support LPDDR4X ram.

Intel Tiger Lake processors are expected to arrive in 2020 and will feature some new changes to the architecture. First up, they will have the new Willow Cove cores replacing Sunny Cove cores which are currently featured on Ice Lake processors. Along with the new cores, we will get cache redesigns as stated above, new transistor-level optimizations and enhanced security features. Intel will also be featuring their Xe GPUs on Tiger Lake chips which would deliver a 2x increase in perf over the Gen 11 GPU featured currently on Ice Lake chips.

That and coupled with the Xe GPU architecture, the 10nm+ node should also deliver increased clocks compared to the first iteration of the 10nm+ architecture featured on Ice Lake chips. The 10nm Tiger Lake CPUs would tackle AMD's 7nm Zen 2 based Ryzen 4000 'Renoir' family in the second half of 2020.

Intel's 12th Generation Rocket Lake Family - A 14nm Frankenstein For Desktops & Laptops

We have recently started hearing a lot about Intel's Rocket Lake CPUs and they are turning out to be a Frankenstein of sorts based on the specifications that we have learned so far. We first heard about Intel's Rocket Lake CPUs back in 2019 in a roadmap that suggested that it would be another 14nm lineup but featured the new Gen 12 Xe graphics. Later, Shark bay posted a couple of details regarding the lineup, further suggesting that it would feature up to 8 cores, 125W TDP and DDR4 memory at 3733 MHz speeds.

At the same time, there was chatter in the tech community that Rocket Lake may possibly end up being a 14nm backport of a new core architecture since it aimed to target the mass majority of the market and 10nm, even years later, couldn't handle the job. A process roadmap from Intel laid out their plans up till 2029 and confirmed that backport opportunities do exist for next-gen chips. Now, we have more details on the Rocket Lake platform.

According to the details, the 12th Generation Core family would come in Rocket Lake-U 15W and Rocket Lake-S 35-125W flavors. The Rocket Lake-U family would feature up to 6 cores & 12 threads along with GT1 Xe graphics while Rocket Lake-H family would feature up to 8 cores and 16 threads with GT1 Xe graphics. Only Rocket Lake-U CPUs would come with SGX while both variants would support AVX2 / AVX-512 instructions. Rocket Lake-S would natively support DDR4-2933 MHz ram & Rocket Lake-U would support DDR4-2933 & LPDDR4X-3733 MHz memory. As per the leak, there won't be native but only discrete Thunderbolt 4 support, up to 20 PCIe Gen 4 lanes for the desktop and 4 PCIe Gen 4 lanes for the mobile family.

The most surprising part is the cache which is 0.5 MB L2 per core for Rocket Lake CPUs. We know that Tiger Lake with Willow Cove cores features 1.25 MB L2 per core and Sunny Cove cores feature 0.5 MB L2 per cores. This would suggest that the Rocket Lake CPUs are based on Sunny Cove and not Willow Cove cores but the leaker suggests that Rocket Lake could indeed be based on Willow Cove cores but with a different cache structure. Regardless, Sunny Cove and Willow Cove cores would be a decent IPC jump from Skylake cores featured on existing 14nm CPUs.

Intel Mainstream CPU Generations Comparison:

Intel CPU FamilyProcessor ProcessProcessor ArchitectureProcessors Cores/Threads (Max)TDPsPlatform ChipsetPlatformMemory SupportPCIe SupportLaunch
Sandy Bridge (2nd Gen)32nmSandy Bridge4/835-95W6-SeriesLGA 1155DDR3PCIe Gen 2.02011
Ivy Bridge (3rd Gen)22nmIvy Bridge4/835-77W7-SeriesLGA 1155DDR3PCIe Gen 3.02012
Haswell (4th Gen)22nmHaswell4/835-84W8-SeriesLGA 1150DDR3PCIe Gen 3.02013-2014
Broadwell (5th Gen)14nmBroadwell4/865-65W9-SeriesLGA 1150DDR3PCIe Gen 3.02015
Skylake (6th Gen)14nmSkylake4/835-91W100-SeriesLGA 1151DDR4PCIe Gen 3.02015
Kaby Lake (7th Gen)14nmSkylake4/835-91W200-SeriesLGA 1151DDR4PCIe Gen 3.02017
Coffee Lake (8th Gen)14nmSkylake6/1235-95W300-SeriesLGA 1151DDR4PCIe Gen 3.02017
Coffee Lake (9th Gen)14nmSkylake8/1635-95W300-SeriesLGA 1151DDR4PCIe Gen 3.02018
Comet Lake (10th Gen)14nmSkylake10/2035-125W400-SeriesLGA 1200DDR4PCIe Gen 3.02020
Rocket Lake (11th Gen)14nmCypress Cove8/1635-125W500-SeriesLGA 1200DDR4PCIe Gen 4.02021
Alder Lake (12th Gen)Intel 7Golden Cove (P-Core)
Gracemont (E-Core)
16/2435-125W600 SeriesLGA 1700/1800DDR5 / DDR4PCIe Gen 5.02021
Raptor Lake (13th Gen)Intel 7Raptor Cove (P-Core)
Gracemont (E-Core)
24/3235-125W700-SeriesLGA 1700/1800DDR5 / DDR4PCIe Gen 5.02022
Meteor Lake (14th Gen)Intel 4Redwood Cove (P-Core)
Crestmont (E-Core)
22/2835-125W800 Series?LGA 1851DDR5PCIe Gen 5.02023
Arrow Lake (15th Gen)Intel 20ALion Cove (P-Core)
Skymont (E-Core)
24/32TBA900-Series?LGA 1851DDR5PCIe Gen 5.02024
Lunar Lake (16th Gen)Intel 18ATBDTBATBA1000-Series?TBADDR5PCIe Gen 5.0?2025
Nova Lake (17th Gen)Intel 18ATBDTBATBA2000-Series?TBADDR5?PCIe Gen 6.0?2026

Here's Everything We Know About The 12th Generation Rocket Lake Desktop CPUs

Coming to the platform details leaked by Videocardz, there's a bunch of information to go through. First of all, the Rocket Lake-S desktop platform is expected to feature support on LGA 1200 socket which will make its debut with Comet Lake-S CPUs although on 400-series motherboards. The Intel Rocket Lake-S processors will be launching alongside the 500-series motherboards so it marks one major question as to whether the CPUs will be kept backward-compatible with 400-series chipset based LGA 1200 socket or will they only come land in exclusive support on 500-series boards. In the case of the latter, the Comet Lake-S and 400-series platform would be very short-lived since the Rocket Lake lineup is expected later this year and Comet Lake-S CPUs will be available around May-June 2020. This would be a much faster replacement than what we saw when going from Kaby Lake to Coffee Lake back in 2017.

The Coffee Lake lineup, although being supported by the same LGA 1151 socket, was supported exclusively by the Z370 motherboards. Intel suggested that due to a new pin layout on the Coffee Lake processors, the updated motherboards were required although many enthusiasts bypassed this restriction and booted their Coffee Lake CPUs on Z270 motherboards. We may see a similar thing happening with Rocket Lake and LGA 1200 considering the updated microarchitecture and design of the new chips.

A leaked platform diagram overview of Intel's 12th Generation Rocket Lake-S desktop CPU family. (Image Credits: Videocardz)

Other features of Intel's Rocket Lake Desktop CPUs include:

  • Increased Performance with new processor core architecture
  • New Xe graphics architecture
  • Increased DDR4 speeds
  • CPU PCIe 4.0 Lanes
  • Enhanced Display (Integrated HDMI 2.0, HBR3)
  • Added x4 CPU PCIe Lanes = 20 Total CPU PCIe 4.0 Lanes
  • Enhanced Media (12 bit AV1/HVEC, E2E compression)
  • CPU Attached Storage or Intel Optane Memory
  • New Overclocking Features and Capabilities
  • USB Audio offload
  • Integrated CNVi & Wireless-AX
  • Integrated USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (20G)
  • 2.5Gb Ethernet Discrete LAN
  • DIscrete Intel Thunderbolt 4 (USB4 Compliant)

Once again, the reason I think that Rocket Lake is using Willow Cove cores is because Tiger Lake with the same architecture features Xe Gen 12 graphics while Ice Lake with Sunny Cove cores is using the Gen 11 GPU. It is possible that the cache is different on desktop chips but once again, that remains to be confirmed and until we see more leaks, this is up for debate.

That's obviously a lot of information that we know for Intel's Rocket Lake desktop family but it will be nice to see how they perform in early benchmarks against the existing 14nm Skylake derivatives which have been available for several years now. The Rocket Lake-S family would directly compete against AMD's Ryzen 4000 'Vermeer' CPUs which will be featuring the new Zen 3 architecture with major architectural changes so expect a lot of heated CPU wars later this year.

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