The Intel Rocket Lake CPU Update

Intel recently launched its Rocket Lake CPUs, which include the i9-11900K, the i7-11700K, and the i5-11600K. There are a tonne of reviews out there, including some highly entertaining videos which should not be missed. What follows is our take on this launch, including the changes it will be bringing to the Logical Increments build chart on our homepage.

So, let us take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly highlights of this launch.


The Good

The new Intel CPUs can actually, honestly, really and truly… be purchased! Yes! After a long, long (seven month!) drought, here we have a hardware launch where the hardware does not disappear 5 seconds after it is available on e-shops.

Yes, of course, some of the new Intel CPUs, such as the i5-11600K and the i5-11400, are great purchases. Sure, they provide competitive performance at a reasonable price. Others are not as enticing. We will definitely be adding the good picks to our tiers (read below for the spicy changes).

But what is most important of all is that they can be bought! Huzzah!


The Bad

Unfortunately, these new CPUs are still on Intel’s tired 14nm process. Technically, these are 14nm+++++. Do not laugh:

  • Skylake (14nm)
  • Kaby Lake (14nm+)
  • Coffee Lake  (14nm++)
  • Coffee Lake (refresh)  (14nm+++)
  • Comet Lake (14nm++++)
  • Rocket Lake (14nm+++++)

Yes, that is five pluses. No typos here: 5 (five). Here is Anandtech, telling us what is what:

Actual image from Anand’s, using Intel’s naming scheme. Good grief!

So, if you are thinking that these 2021 CPUs are going to be incredibly good when compared to the previous generation, you are going to be quite disappointed. In some ways, some of the new CPUs are actually worse performers when compared to older stuff. Ouch. That is the reason we are only adding the few good options from Intel’s launch, and leaving the rest.


The Ugly

Alright! With CPUs being available for purchase, is the hardware drought over at last? Can we finally go back to the good old days where if you had a budget, you could buy a new gaming PC? Unfortunately, no. A good CPU is not the only thing you need; there is still the graphics card. Oh boy.

At present, all modern graphics cards are out-of-stock. Older graphics cards are available, for prices that should be illegal: here is an RTX 2060 for $2000. That is a 2-year-old card that launched for $350. Unfortunately, written text hampers my ability to properly express my disdain for these prices.

I hope that all those responsible for this will enjoy a disagreeable alternative lifestyle soon.


Updates to Our Tiers

The following is a changelog of how our main chart will be altered as a result of these new releases:

  • The R3 3300X is being removed (in countries where the price is not logical)
  • The i5-10400 is being added to the Modest tier, along with appropriate motherboards
  • The i5-11400 is being added to the Fair, Good, and Very Good tiers, along with appropriate motherboards
  • The i5-11600K is being added to the Great and Superb tiers, along with appropriate motherboards
  • The NH-U12S AM4 HSF in the Very Good, Great, and Superb tiers will be changed to the normal U12S (which is Intel-compatible)


Final Words

With this update, there is now a good CPU available for every price point. It is true that some are still a bit overpriced compared to launch, but “a bit overpriced” is still a big improvement when compared to “hugely overpriced or not available at all”.

I am happy to see better competition from Intel, and better availability from AMD. Let us hope that better availability comes to GPUs soon too!