AMD is just over a week away from launching its highly anticipated Ryzen 5000 series of CPUs, but its closest competitor Intel still has a few months to go before it releases its own new generation of CPUs, dubbed Rocket Lake-S.
Announced earlier this year, Rocket Lake is presumably another generation of processors built on Intel’s 14nm process, which it has clung to for multiple years. That means core counts on Rocket Lake aren’t changing drastically, with a maximum of 8 cores and 16 threads. But like AMD, Intel is hoping that optimizations to instructions-per-cycle (IPC) is how it will achieve more performance with the same high clock speeds the company has touted over its competitor.
Intel is still the best choice for pure gaming performance thanks to its slight lead in single-core performance, and with Rocket Lake, an improvement to IPC might widen the gap. While Intel isn’t ready to get specific with numbers, it does say that it expects double-digit percentage improvements when it comes to IPC, allowing for higher framerates in CPU-limited scenarios and less latency.
Rocket Lake will also be the first Intel CPUs to support PCIe 4.0 SSDs, something AMD has supported with its Ryzen 3000 series already. Intel says Rocket Lake will support up to 20 CPU PCIe 4.0 lanes, which should give you some flexibility when building a system.
The downside is that Intel is making you wait until Q1 2021 for Rocket Lake to launch, giving AMD carte blanche on this holiday season and the space to wow everyone with Ryzen 5000 chips from November 5. As the competition between the two continues to escalate, Intel’s latest generation will need to be something special. The price will have to be special, too.