Intel already released the biggest news about its 11th Gen Core desktop processors in January – they will be up to 19% faster than its 10th generation chips. Now, the company is finally able to give us more information on its next family of processors, dubbed “Rocket Lake S.” The fastest offering will be the Core i9-11900K, an 8-core chip that achieves up to 5.3 GHz on a single core. Notably, that’s two cores less than last year’s 10900K. Intel clearly had to make compromises because it didn’t move to a newer manufacturing process; by sacrificing a few cores, it is able to squeeze more performance out of its aging 14nm hardware.
Paradoxically, this is great news for gamers. Most PC titles don’t take full advantage of multiple processor cores, rather it’s the single-core performance and high clock speeds that matters most. Intel claims 11900K is 14% faster than its latest chip when playing games Microsoft Flight Simulator in 1080p at high settings, as well as 13% faster in Total War: Three Kingdoms. Additionally, Intel claims the chip beats AMD’s flagship Ryzen 9 5900X by 11% and 10% in those respective titles.
Based on the numbers Intel has shared so far, there doesn’t seem to be any major downside to going for an 8-core flagship chip, instead of a 10-core model. This is even true for tasks that can actually take advantage of multiple cores, like creating videos and photos. The company claims that the 11900K is 88% faster than the previous model when it comes to video editing, as well as 35% faster than the Ryzen 9 5900X. At this point, it looks like the 11th Gen hardware speed improvements were worth it, but I’m waiting for third-party benchmarks for final confirmation.
You can expect speed improvements in Intel’s new lineup, like a 16% slowdown Gears 5 on the Core i5-11600K, compared to last year’s 10600K. As usual, these chips really aren’t meant to be an immediate upgrade for anyone using latest-gen hardware. But for anyone using older chips – like my proven Core i7-8700K – suddenly it’s more compelling to stick with Intel rather than switch to AMD.