New benchmarks show Intel Rocket Lake chips leading Comet Lake and AMD Zen 3 in single-core

Intel Rocket Lake 11th Gen logos
(Image credit: Intel)

Early benchmarking results for Intel's Core i7 11700K are in and it's showing promising signs for performance gains over current Intel 10th Gen processors—even with a couple cores shy of the 10-core compliment on Comet Lake's top chip. Similarly, figures from Core i9 11900K testing suggests it's also taking the lead in single-threaded performance, which could make for two venerable gaming chips out of Intel Rocket Lake (opens in new tab), at least.

The Core i7 11700K result (opens in new tab) (spotted by Tum_Apisak (opens in new tab)) comes from Geekbench 4, which you might know isn't the most representative benchmark around. Still, it offers a rough picture of performance for the upcoming Rocket Lake processors. 

With a single-core score of 7,857, the Core i7 11700K would sit comfortably above the Intel Core i9 10900K (opens in new tab), which is still largely dominate in single-threaded workloads today and tends to score upwards of 6,900 in the single-thread test on a relatively comparable system (opens in new tab)

As a benchmark, Geekbench 4 measures memory performance as a part of its CPU test, which can mean comparable scores aren't always readily available, especially in the case of the Core i7 11700K result here today, which doesn't specify the exact memory speed for the benchmarked system.

Yet it's looking promising for Intel Rocket Lake in terms of single-core performance, and that shouldn't come as too great a surprise considering Intel is touting a double-digit instruction per clock (IPC) improvement (opens in new tab) with the shift to the Cypress Cove architecture from Comet Lake, itself a derivative of the Skylake architecture.

Cypress Cove is actually a blend of 10th Gen Intel Ice Lake CPU cores (Sunny Cove) and 11th Gen Tiger Lake graphics (Intel Xe), ported over to the 14nm process node from the more advanced, but not yet readily available on desktop, 10nm process node.

Image showing an Intel CPU face on and upside down

(Image credit: Intel)

One side effect of that transition has been the reduction of total available core counts with Rocket Lake. While the Core i9 10900K offers 10 cores and 20 threads, the top Rocket Lake chip, the Core i9 11900K, is an eight-core, 16-thread part. The same goes for the Core i7 11700K.

Even a rather significant IPC increase can't overcome the lack of two physical cores on die, and it looks like the Core i7 11700K can't quite match the Core i9 10900K in multi-core tests, at 42,011 to 49,107. The equally-threaded Core i7 10700K, however, it should have beat relatively easily.

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As for the Core i9 11900K, that chip is reportedly in the hands of Chinese YouTuber ChaoWanKe a little early (via Videocardz (opens in new tab)). It, too, is showing signs of a slight lead in single-threaded performance, but once again falls a little behind the more core saturated Comet Lake and AMD Zen 3 parts.

It looks like Intel's new Rocket Lake Core i9 11900K could maintain a lead over at least the Ryzen 9 5900X (opens in new tab) in single-threaded performance, if only by a hair. That's potentially a good sign for gaming, but we'll have to wait until more conclusive data to say for sure.

Intel Rocket Lake processors are expected to arrive in March, at least according to a Gigabyte press release, although we are set to hear more at CES 2021 (opens in new tab). We've also seen a handful of Z590 motherboards (opens in new tab) ahead of the launch, all indicative of a Q1, or thereabouts, release date.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, where he would later win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Nowadays, as senior hardware editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. When he's not writing about GPUs and CPUs, however, you'll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by wild camping.