Intel Rocket Lake-S 11th Gen Desktop CPUs To Be Supported By Entry-Level 400-Series Motherboards

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Our sources had earlier reported that Intel's 11th Generation Rocket Lake-S Desktop CPUs will be compatible on the Z490 motherboard platform but MSI has further confirmed that even lower-tier 400-series motherboards will support Intel's next-generation processors.

Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake Desktop CPUs To Be Supported By Entry-Level 400-Series Boards Too

The support is mentioned within documents from MSI which have been spotted by Momomo_US (via Videocardz). According to those, MSI plans to bring Rocket Lake CPU support all the way down to its H410 tier of motherboards. There's no doubt that other board manufacturers will also follow MSI and offer similar support on their own entry-level products. The document further lists down that Rocket Lake-S CPUs with 65W TDPs to be supported by entry-level motherboards. This makes sense since the entry-level boards won't be able to provide any overclocking capabilities that one gets on higher-end motherboards along with unlocked CPUs.

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It would also be a wise decision to support Rocket Lake on the entire 400-series platform and not just the higher-end ones since they all feature the LGA 1200 socket. At the same time, Intel will be releasing its 500-series chipset based motherboards with the LGA 1200 socket. The new boards are expected to hit retail shelves alongside the Rocket Lake lineup. A restriction of any sorts for users upgrading to Rocket Lake CPUs on their existing 400-series motherboards would be a major blow for the 400-series platform itself since that would mean it only offered longevity for a single CPU generation despite featuring the same socket.

I believe that Intel and their partners don't want to go that route considering the blue team is going to be facing a heated battle with AMD's Ryzen 4000 'Vermeer' Desktop CPUs which will be based on the Zen 3 core architecture and supported by AM4 motherboards all the way back to the 400-series lineup (X470/B450).

Intel Rocket Lake CPU Power & Current Ratings Detailed, Not All 400-Series Boards May Be Able To Support 11th Gen Chips

While MSI documents say that H410 series motherboards will be able to support Rocket Lake-S CPUs, Techbang has posted what seems to be the first details of Rocket Lake-S power & current delivery design. According to the report, Rocket Lake-S will ship with the same VCC (Core) current rated at 245 Amps (Max) but will increase the current rating in every other department. It is said that motherboards have to comply with the 'Advanced Deployment' design to properly support Rocket Lake-S desktop CPUs.

Other than VCC (Core), the VCCGT (Graphics) current is increased from 35A to 55A, the VCCSA (System Agent) is increased from 11.1A to 22.1A, VCCIO (I/O) is increased from 6.4A & split into three sub-tiers. It's 8.3A for the primary PCIe I/O, 3.4A for DDR, and 6.2A for the secondary PCIe controller which runs the single Gen 4 NVMe slot. The VDDQ (Memory I/O buffer or the DRAM voltage) has increased from 3.7A to 4.3Q while VCCPLL_OC is set to 0.25A from 1.17A on 10th Generation Comet Lake-S Desktop CPUs. Lastly, the power gate current ratings have also been increased to 2.3A and 0.9A respectively. You can see the power supply configuration for Intel's Rocket Lake CPUs in the following diagram more clearly.

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Intel Rocket Lake Desktop CPU Power & Current ratings versus Intel Comet Lake Desktop CPUs. (Image Credits: Techbang)

In the diagram above, you can note that the PCIe current is split between two controllers. This is due to an additional four additional lanes that will be separate from the 16 primary lanes on the Rocket Lake CPUs. All Rocket Lake CPU lanes are Gen 4 compliant but the four separate lanes are specifically for the M.2 NVMe Gen 4 slots that are found on several Z490 motherboards today but cannot be utilized at Gen 4 speeds unless the boards are equipped with a Rocket Lake-S desktop CPU.

It is also stated that the updated power ratings may lead to not all boards supporting Rocket Lake desktop CPUs and the necessary qualification has to be provided by board makers to the general audiences who may end up buying a Rocket Lake-S CPU for their 400-series boards without knowing whether their board is fully capable of supporting the CPU or not.

Here's Everything We Know About The 11th Generation Rocket Lake Desktop CPUs

Intel's Rocket Lake-S desktop CPU 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 but it has since been confirmed that LGA 1200 motherboards will offer support for Rocket Lake-S CPUs, especially given the fact that PCIe Gen 4.0 is a prominent feature of Z490 motherboards which would only be enabled with the use of Rocket Lake-S desktop CPUs.

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

Main 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 that Tiger Lake with the same architecture features Xe Gen 12 graphics while Ice Lake with Sunny Cove cores is using the Gen 11 GPU. We've been told that the Z590 motherboard series with Thunderbolt 4.0 support will be announced later this year so expect more information on Rocket Lake CPUs once Intel has released its 11th Gen Tiger Lake, mobility family.

Intel Desktop CPU Generations Comparison:

Intel CPU FamilyProcessor ProcessProcessors Cores (Max)TDPsPlatform ChipsetPlatformMemory SupportPCIe SupportLaunch
Sandy Bridge (2nd Gen)32nm4/835-95W6-SeriesLGA 1155DDR3PCIe Gen 2.02011
Ivy Bridge (3rd Gen)22nm4/835-77W7-SeriesLGA 1155DDR3PCIe Gen 3.02012
Haswell (4th Gen)22nm4/835-84W8-SeriesLGA 1150DDR3PCIe Gen 3.02013-2014
Broadwell (5th Gen)14nm4/865-65W9-SeriesLGA 1150DDR3PCIe Gen 3.02015
Skylake (6th Gen)14nm4/835-91W100-SeriesLGA 1151DDR4PCIe Gen 3.02015
Kaby Lake (7th Gen)14nm4/835-91W200-SeriesLGA 1151DDR4PCIe Gen 3.02017
Coffee Lake (8th Gen)14nm6/1235-95W300-SeriesLGA 1151DDR4PCIe Gen 3.02017
Coffee Lake (9th Gen)14nm8/1635-95W300-SeriesLGA 1151DDR4PCIe Gen 3.02018
Comet Lake (10th Gen)14nm10/2035-125W400-SeriesLGA 1200DDR4PCIe Gen 3.02020
Rocket Lake (11th Gen)14nm8/16TBA500-SeriesLGA 1200DDR4PCIe Gen 4.02021
Alder Lake (12th Gen)10nm?16/24?TBA600 Series?LGA 1700DDR5PCIe Gen 5.0?2021
Meteor Lake (13th Gen)7nm?TBATBA700 Series?LGA 1700DDR5PCIe Gen 5.0?2022?
Lunar Lake (14th Gen)TBATBATBA800 Series?TBADDR5PCIe Gen 5.0?2023?
Which next-generation Intel Desktop CPU platform do you think will deliver the first major breakthrough against AMD Ryzen?
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