Z590 Motherboards Feature PCIe Gen 4.0 Compatibility Only With 11th Gen Intel Rocket Lake Core i9, Core i7, Core i5 CPUs


Two weeks from now, Intel and its board partners will be introducing their brand new Z590 (500-series) motherboards which would offer full support for 11th Gen Rocket Lake Desktop CPUs. The key feature of these boards aside from the next-gen CPU support would be advanced I/O features and full support for PCIe Gen 4.0 protocol.

Intel Z590 Motherboards Only Offer PCIe Gen 4.0 Compatibility When Running 11th Gen Rocket Lake Core i9, Core i7, & Core i5 Desktop CPUs, Not Supported By Comet Lake Refresh Core i3 CPUs

The information comes listed on several Z590 chipset based motherboards that we have started receiving from board partners ahead of the 11 January announcement. Each motherboard has a sticker on the top PCIe slot which mentions that the Gen 4.0 protocol will be supported by Intel's Rocket Lake Desktop CPUs.

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As per the previously leaked information which covered all Intel Rocket Lake SKUs, the lineup will consist of Core i9, Core i7, and Core i5 chips. The rest of the lineup which includes Core i3, Pentium & Celeron series will not offer PCIe Gen 4.0 support and will retain Gen 3.0 compliancy since they are part of the Comet Lake family. Only Intel's Rocket Lake CPUs have the architectural upgrades necessary to support PCIe Gen 4.0.

The PCIe Gen 4.0 protocol hasn't been as big of a deal-breaker on the GPUs as it's been for PCIe based storage devices. Next-generation SSDs with PCIe 4.0 has shown tremendous performance uplifts & with technologies such as NVIDIA's RTX IO and Microsoft's DirectStorage for desktop PCs are definitely going to utilize the interconnect protocol to allow for even faster performance and access times.

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

Intel's Rocket Lake-S desktop CPU platform will feature support on LGA 1200 socket which made its debut with the 10th Gen Comet Lake-S CPUs although on 400-series motherboards. The Intel Rocket Lake-S processors will be launching primarily for the 500-series motherboards but it has 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.

Motherboard makers, especially ASUS will be paying extra attention in incorporating hardware-level integration of PCIe Gen 4 on their Z590 line of motherboards versus their Z490 lineup as we pointed out here.

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

  • Increased Performance with new Cypress Cove core architecture
  • Up to 8 cores and 16 threads (Double Digit IPC Gains Over Skylake)
  • New Xe graphics architecture (Up To 50% higher Performance Than Gen9)
  • Increased DDR4 3200 MHz Memory Support
  • CPU PCIe 4.0 Lanes (Available on Z490 & Z590 Motherboards)
  • Enhanced Display (Integrated HDMI 2.0b, DP1.4a, 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)

Following are the main Rocket Lake Desktop CPUs that we can expect within the 11th Generation family:

  • Core i9-11900K
  • Core i9-11900
  • Core i9-11900T
  • Core i7-11700K
  • Core i7-11700
  • Core i7-11700T
  • Core i5-11600K
  • Core i5-11600
  • Core i5-11600T
  • Core i5-11500
  • Core i5-11500T
  • Core i5-11400
  • Core i5-11400T

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

The unlocked K series SKUs will feature a base PL1 TDP of 125W while the non-K SKUs will feature a based TDP of 65W. The 'T' series variants which are the lower TDP SKUs will come with a based TDP of 35W. The Intel Core i9 and Core i7 CPUs based on the Rocket Lake CPU architecture will feature 8 cores, 16 threads, and 16 MB of L3 cache. The Core i5 SKUs will feature 6 cores and 12 threads plus a total of 12 MB L3 cache. All CPUs will be featuring the Intel Xe integrated GPU with 32 EUs or 256 cores.

Moving on to the Comet Lake Refresh lineup, Intel seems to be repositioning its enhanced Skylake architecture for the mainstream and budget tier lineup. The lineup will include the following SKUs:

  • Core i3-11100
  • Core i3-11100T
  • Core i3-11300
  • Core i3-11300T
  • Core i3-11320
  • Pentium G6420
  • Pentium G6420T
  • Pentium G6520
  • Pentium G6250T
  • Pentium G6220
  • Celeron G5930
  • Celeron G5930T
  • Celeron G5950

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

CPU NameCores / ThreadsBase ClockBoost Clock (1-Core)Boost Clock (All-Core)CacheGraphicsTDP
Core i3-113204/8TBCTBCTBC8 MBUHD 630 24 EU (192 Cores)65W
Core i3-113004/8TBCTBCTBC8 MBUHD 630 24 EU (192 Cores)65W
Core i3-11300T4/8TBCTBCTBC8 MBUHD 630 24 EU (192 Cores)35W
Core i3-111004/8TBCTBCTBC6 MBUHD 630 24 EU (192 Cores)65W
Core i3-11100T4/8TBCTBCTBC6 MBUHD 630 24 EU (192 Cores)35W
Pentium G64202/4TBCN/AN/A4 MBUHD 630 24 EU (192 Cores)58W
Pentium G6420T2/4TBCN/AN/A4 MBUHD 630 24 EU (192 Cores)35W
Pentium G65202/4TBCN/AN/A4 MBUHD 630 24 EU (192 Cores)58W
Pentium G6250T2/4TBCN/AN/A4 MBUHD 630 24 EU (192 Cores)35W
Pentium G62202/4TBCN/AN/A4 MBUHD 630 24 EU (192 Cores)58W
Celeron G59302/2TBCN/AN/A4 MBUHD 610 12 EU (96 Cores)58W
Celeron G5930T2/2TBCN/AN/A4 MBUHD 610 12 EU (96 Cores)35W
Celeron G59502/2TBCN/AN/A4 MBUHD 610 12 EU (96 Cores)58W

The Core i3 models will feature 4 cores and 8 threads but all variants except the Core i3-11100 series will feature 8 MB of L3 cache versus 6 MB of L3 cache on the said CPUs. The Pentium line processors will feature 2 cores, 4 threads, & 4 MB of L3 cache while the Celeron lineup will get just 2 cores and no multi-threading support. These chips will also carry 4 MB of L3 cache though. The Core i3 and Pentium models will feature UHD 630 graphics with 24 EUs while the Celeron SKUs will get UHD 610 graphics with 12 EUs.

The architecture for Rocket Lake CPUs is said to be Cypress Cove which is reportedly a hybrid between the Sunny Cove and Willow Cove design but will feature Xe Gen 12 GPU architecture. Intel's Core i9-11900K will be the flagship CPU offering in the lineup and expect more info on it soon. As for the launch, the motherboards will hit retail on 11-12th January while Intel's 11th Gen processors are expected to arrive by end of March.

Intel Mainstream Desktop CPU Generations Comparison:

Intel CPU FamilyProcessor ProcessProcessors Cores/Threads (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)14nm8/1635-125W500-SeriesLGA 1200DDR4PCIe Gen 4.02021
Alder Lake (12th Gen)Intel 716/2435-125W600 SeriesLGA 1700/1800DDR5 / DDR4PCIe Gen 5.02021
Raptor Lake (13th Gen)Intel 724/3235-125W700-SeriesLGA 1700/1800DDR5 / DDR4PCIe Gen 5.02022
Meteor Lake (14th Gen)Intel 4TBA35-125W800 Series?LGA 1851DDR5PCIe Gen 5.02023
Arrow Lake (15th Gen)Intel 20A40/48TBA900-Series?LGA 1851DDR5PCIe Gen 5.02024
Lunar Lake (16th Gen)Intel 18ATBATBA1000-Series?TBADDR5PCIe Gen 5.0?2025
Nova Lake (17th Gen)Intel 18ATBATBA2000-Series?TBADDR5?PCIe Gen 6.0?2026
Which next-generation Intel Desktop CPU platform do you think will deliver the first major breakthrough against AMD Ryzen?