What is Rocket Lake Processor? (Explained)

What is Rocket Lake Processor

What is Rocket Lake Processor?

Rocket Lake refers to the codename given by Intel to the processors belonging to the 11th generation. These processors are typically based on the new Cypress Cove microarchitecture.

Architecturally, the microarchitecture of the Cypress Cove is a modification of Sunny Cove and it is designed for mainly desktop computers as well as servers and workstation computers.


  • The Rocket Lake processors belong to the 11th generation Intel core processors that offer a much better performance with about 16% faster data processing power in comparison to the 10th generation processors especially in gaming.
  • These specific processors support specific chipsets and typically there are four new motherboards belonging to the 500 series to choose from which will offer better memory overclocking.
  • The Rocket Lake CPUs can handle larger data sets since it supports up to 20 faster PCI Express 4.0 lanes.
  • The successor of this processor built on Intel 14 nm FinFET processor is Alder Lake and its predecessor is Comet Lake.

Understanding Rocket Lake Processor

What is Rocket Lake Processor

The Rocket Lake CPUs come with Cypress Cove microarchitecture, LGA 1200 socket along with transistors that are significantly more in number as compared to the Comet Lake cores.

However, there are a few specific similarities of this processor with the Comet Lake cores such as:

  • It comes with the similar LGA 1200 socket and
  • It is also compatible with the 400-series chipset as Comet Lake is apart from the H410 and B460 chipsets.

This specific type of processor is also accompanied by the new 500-series chipsets.

The number of cores in the Rocket Lake is reduced to 8 which is 10 in the Comet Lake processors.

The graphics performance of this CPU is quite high as well due to the Intel Xe graphics along with PCIe 4.0 support though only one M.2 drive is supported in this mode and the others are usually wired through PCI Express 3.0.

You will get these processors in Core i9, i7, and i5 brand names to use in the desktop computers and Xeon W and Xeon E to use in the workstations and server computers, but there is no i3 variant.

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The Core i9 and i7 processors as well as the Xeon W and Xeon E will offer optimal performance with their 8 cores and 16 threads.

However, the Xeon W brand also comes with 6 cores and 12 threads like the Xeon E series which also comes with 4 cores and 8 or 4 threads.

The Core i5 Rocket Lake processors however come with 6 and 12 threads.

The desktop processors typically support DDR4-3200 memory natively of up to 128 GB in dual channel mode.

The major Core i9 desktop variants of the Rocket Lake processor are:

  • 11900K
  • 11900KF
  • 11900
  • 11900F and
  • 11900T.

The common Rocket lake Intel Core i7 desktop processors are:

  • 11700K
  • 11700KF
  • 11700
  • 11700F and
  • 11700T.

The significant Rocket lake Intel Core i5 desktop processors are:

  • 11600K
  • 11600KF
  • 11600
  • 11600T
  • 11500
  • 11500T
  • 11400
  • 11400F and
  • 11400T.

The Rocket Lake CPUs designed for the workstations typically support Error Correction Code or ECC memory and are compatible with Intel W480 or W580 chipset.

However, they also have dual channels to support DDR4-3200 memory of up to 128 GB.

The different models of Xeon W processors used in the workstations include:

  • 1390P
  • 1390
  • 1390T
  • 1370P
  • 1370
  • 1350P and
  • 1350.

Finally, the processors that are designed to be used in the server computers also support ECC memory or the same type and amount but need an Intel C252 or C256 chipset.

The different models of Xeon E processors used in the server computers are:

  • 2388G
  • 2378G
  • 2378
  • 2386G
  • 2356G
  • 2336
  • 2374G
  • 2334
  • 2324G and
  • 2314.

The features of this processor can be categorized in three specific heads of CPU, GPU and I/O as is mentioned hereunder.

The specific features of the Central Processing Unit of the Rocket Lake processors other than those already mentioned above are:

The SGX instruction set extensions available in its predecessors are however removed in this processor.

The specific features of the Graphics Processing Unit are:

  • 12th generation Intel Xe-LP graphics with up to 32 execution units
  • Fixed-function hardware to decode HEVC and VP9 12-bit and AV1 8K 10-bit
  • HDMI 2.0b
  • DisplayPort 1.4a with Display Stream Compression
  • Single 8K 12-bit HDR display support
  • Dual 4K 10-bit HDR display support
  • GPUs on desktop CPUs support 5K 60 Hz
  • Sampler feedback support
  • Dual queue support
  • Hardware accelerated Dolby Vision
  • Variable rate shading and
  • Integer and nearest neighbor image scaling.
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As for the Input-Output features, it supports:

  • DMI 3.0 x8 link with Intel 500 series chipsets
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2×2
  • DDR4-3200 memory support and
  • Optional USB4 or Thunderbolt 4 if paired with Intel JHL8540 Thunderbolt 4 controller.

As for the overall specifications of the Rocket Lake processors, it supports an x86-64 architecture and x86 and x86-64 instruction sets.

The different extensions supported by this CPU are:

  • AES-NI
  • SHA
  • TXT
  • MMX
  • SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE4, SSE4.1, SSE4.2
  • AVX, AVX2, AVX-512
  • FMA3 and
  • VT-x and VT-d.

The CPU is built on a 14 nm manufacturing node that allows accommodating a larger number of transistors which balances the loss of two cores in it compared to the Comet Lake processors.

The 19% uplift in IPC or Instructions per Clock also enhances its performance in games.

However, what is really needed to understand is that this specific lineup of Intel is simply renamed and repurposed with a few minor adjustments made in its set of features.

One such is the Cypress Cove microarchitecture which is simply a modified version of the Sunny Cove microarchitecture used in the Ice Lake mobile processors of Intel.

Rocket Lake Generation

What is Rocket Lake Processor

This specific processor belongs to the 11th generation of the Intel Core microprocessors and was released on March 30, 2021.

Is Rocket Lake Good for Gaming?

Yes, you will find that the Rocket Lake processor is good for gaming due to its design. The 14 nm process nodes allows chipping in more transistors that enhances the gaming performance quite significantly. Also, its high clock speeds will offer high frame rate which is essential for gaming.

What Chipset Does Rocket Lake Use?

Since all of these processors come with LGA 1200 sockets, they are usually compatible with 500-series motherboards. However, there are some 400-series motherboards that also support Rocket Lake CPUs depending on the platform.

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The two primary chipsets that are supported by these processors are Z590 and the relatively cheaper B560.

It will not work on H410 or B460 motherboards because these chipsets are built on the older 22 nm process node of Intel and therefore there will be some signal integrity issues.

However, the most favored platform for this CPU is the Z590 due to the new features that are included in it such as:

  • Offering double CPU-to-chipset bandwidth especially if it is paired with this processor and
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 native chipset connectivity supporting a transfer rate of up to 20 GB/s.

The Rocket Lake processor will also be supported on a H570 and H510 chipset since they use the LGA 1200 socket and offer PCI Express 4.0 support along with Thunderbolt 4 and discrete Wi-Fi 6E support.

Also, memory overclocking is enabled in these specific chipsets which is required to support the Rocket Lake CPU that features it as well.

And, this CPU can be used in a few 400-series chipsets such as the older Z490 and H470 series motherboards because they too use the similar LGA 1200 socket and pin layout.

But do keep in mind that you may lose out on a few specific features and performance benefits in such situations such as the PCIe 4.0 support because only a few specific models of chipsets of the 400-series come with such options.

However, this is not possible with the low-end 400-series chipsets such as the B460 and H410 motherboards and others.


The 11th generation Rocket Lake processor is a useful inclusion to the family of Intel Core processors just as the article has pointed out.

However, it is best suited for use in the desktop computers and servers and workstation computers and also needs specific types of motherboards to work efficiently.

About Taylor

AvatarTaylor S. Irwin is a freelance technology writer with in-depth knowledge about computers. She has an understanding of hardware and technology gained through over 10 years of experience.

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