Intel Core i9-11900K Desktop Processor Review: When the mid-range is better

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Intel’s eleventh Gen Core “Rocket Lake” household of desktop processors is the ultimate stepping stone earlier than Intel strikes to their 10nm Superfin course of in totality. We are saying ‘in totality’ as a result of the eleventh Gen Core desktop processors embody each 14nm and 10nm primarily based processors. Extra on this later. Intel has one other launch deliberate for the August-September launch window, for his or her twelfth Gen Alder Lake desktop processors which is able to all be 10nm processors. The eleventh Gen is principally utilizing the design and enhancements meant for twelfth Gen constructed on the 14nm course of node as a result of the matured 14nm course of permits Intel to scale frequencies a lot increased that what they will on the 10nm course of. What does that imply for the eleventh Gen processors? Just a few hiccups. Other than that, Intel has new options equivalent to Intel Adaptive Enhance Expertise.

Intel has additionally come out with the new Z590, B560 and H510 platforms that are additionally suitable with their older tenth Gen Comet Lake processors. The Z590 chipset, particularly, helps 4 extra DMI 3.0 lanes, help for PCI Specific Gen 4.0, extra USB 10 Gbps ports, USB 20 Gbps ports, Thunderbolt 4.0 and help for discrete Wi-Fi 6E. After AMD’s X570 and B550 chipsets, these can be the solely Intel chipsets to help PCIe Gen 4.0. A simple method to keep in mind is to think about all 500-series chipsets as PCIe Gen 4.0 suitable. With a couple of exceptions, after all.

Intel eleventh Gen Core Rocket Lake processor specs

The ‘Rocket Lake’ desktop processors have Core i5, i7 and i9 collection. There are not any Core i3 processors, as of now. Provided that twelfth Gen Alder Lake processors are round the nook, we aren’t so positive if Intel even must launch the Core i3 processors. But when loads of models are binned, then we’d see them. Our wager is that we gained’t. Coming again to the eleventh Gen household. The Core i5 collection is the largest portfolio we’ve seen at launch with 9 processors in whole, adopted by 4 Core i7 processors and 5 Core i9 processors.

The Core i5 processors all have 6 cores, and the Core i7 and Core i9 collection each have 8 cores. All the processors have multithreading, and you’ll thank AMD for that. Although AMD has began releasing processors with out multithreading of their 3000-series Ryzen processors. Now that each Core i7 and Core i9 processors have the similar 8 cores, what units them aside? Thermal Velocity Enhance (TVB). It was launched with the Intel tenth Gen Comet Lake processors and offers a further 100 MHz Turbo frequency when the temperature is beneath 70 levels celsius. 70 levels might look like a conservative restrict which might enable TVB to kick in frequently, however that’s not normally the case. You’ll need a very good CPU cooler and far decrease ambient temperatures than what we expertise in India. What’s extra fascinating is the new Intel Adaptive Enhance Expertise which will increase the Turbo Enhance Frequency throughout all cores when three or extra cores are lively. We check out this in way more element later.

Lastly, there’s the proven fact that the eleventh Gen Core household consists of each 14nm and 10nm processors. The latter was not too long ago launched with the ‘B’ suffix. The ‘B’ stands for BGA as a result of these new processors had been launched for sure OEMs which had necessities for small form-factor machines. Although these new ‘B’ processors are a part of the eleventh Gen Core household, they’re really Tiger Lake. So all the 10nm eleventh Gen Processors are Tiger Lake whereas all the 14nm eleventh Gen Processors are Rocket Lake.

Intel Core i9-11900K and Core i5-11600K Efficiency

Energy utilization has began going up throughout all the new desktop elements popping out of late. Intel has new boosting applied sciences and so they’ve been jacking up the TDP to compete with AMD, who on the different hand, have been pushing core counts to ridiculous ranges. NVIDIA’s new GPUs with hardware-accelerated ray-tracing have additionally began consuming ridiculous ranges of energy. For the shopper, we have to swap to increased wattage energy provides to benefit from the new frequency boosting applied sciences and permit headroom for bursty workloads. We came upon about this the onerous manner as the mixed energy consumption of each can spike as much as 650 watts and take out an influence provide. Fortunately, we managed to get a 1200W alternative after some time and repeat the benchmarking. We examined each, the prime of the line Core i9-11900K and the mid-range Core i5-11600K.

Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake Processor

We examined the unit on the following configuration:

Intel eleventh Gen Check Rig

CPU: Intel Core i9-11900K and Core i5-11600K


SSD: 2x WD Black SN850 1TB

HDD: Seagate FireCuda 2 TB ST2000DX002

RAM: Corsair DOMINATOR PLATINUM RGB 32GB (2 x 16GB) @3200 MHz

Cooler: Corsair H115i Professional

PSU: Corsair HX1050 and Cooler Grasp V1200


As all the time, we start with Cinebench R20 to see how the processor fares in single threaded and multithreaded efficiency. Cinebench is typically utilized by each Intel and AMD to showcase the influence of IPC enhancements throughout generations. It renders a 3D scene and is primarily based on Maxon’s Cinema4D, an animation, VFX and movement design software program.

Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake Core i9-11900K Core i5-11600K Processor Cinebench 1T

In the single-threaded benchmark, the Intel Core i9-11900K scores 626 factors which is a substantial enchancment over the earlier gen Intel Core i9-10900K and places Intel in the 600 level membership. The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X is nonetheless forward by a couple of factors so AMD nonetheless retains the single-threaded efficiency lead.

Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake Core i9-11900K Core i5-11600K Processor Cinebench nT

The outcomes of the multi-threaded run aren’t stunning. Going from 10 cores in tenth Gen to eight cores in eleventh Gen does drop the efficiency of the 11900K beneath that of the 10900K. The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, and 5900X are nonetheless forward however the Ryzen 8 5800X is very near the 11900K. The only-threaded efficiency enchancment is actually thrilling and we hope Alder Lake can work magic supplied Intel can get the frequency to scale nicely on 10nm.


POV-Ray is one other 3D rendering benchmark targeted on ray-tracing. It’s not primarily based on Microsoft’s DXR nevertheless it has optimisations for each Intel and AMD processors. The benchmark scales nicely throughout a number of cores and is additionally nice for displaying generational efficiency enhancements.

Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake Core i9-11900K Core i5-11600K Processor POV-Ray

Being a multi-threaded benchmark, the 11900K falls behind the 10900K and all the increased core rely AMD Ryzen 9 processors. Whereas, the Core i5-11600K does better than the Ryzen 5 5600X.


Our Handbrake run principally consists of transcoding a 4K video clip from one CODEC to a different whereas downscaling the decision. Particularly, we use a big HEVC supply file and transcode it right into a 1080p H.264 file. The bigger length helps common out the transcoding efficiency and Handbrake makes use of all the cores that it will possibly get its fingers on.

Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake Core i9-11900K Core i5-11600K Processor Handbrake

Handbrake advantages from each, excessive core rely in addition to excessive IPC. We observe the common variety of frames processed per second. This places the 11900K behind the 10900K once more displaying that the extra IPC efficiency doesn’t compensate for the decreased core rely. The 11600K is better than the 10600K however the Ryzen 5 5600X is nonetheless forward.


Blender is a reasonably well-known open-source rendering software program utilized by film studios in addition to by sport builders. There are commonplace benchmarking scenes on Blender and we use a number of iterations of the Classroom scene for our checks.

Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake Core i9-11900K Core i5-11600K Processor Blender

Whereas one may surprise, why are we targeted on so many 3D rendering functions in our benchmarks, the results of the Blender run ought to provide you with a transparent reply. This is the one rendering benchmark through which the 11900K scores increased than the 10900K. The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X and 5900X are nonetheless increased and the Ryzen 7 5800X barely edges forward. The Core i5-11600K falls behind the Ryzen 5 5600X by a slim margin. However, the algorithms utilized by Blender clearly favour the enhancements introduced in the eleventh Gen processors.


7-Zip is an open-source archiving software program with actually good and often up to date algorithms that carry out compression and decompression. It’s the frequent updates that make 7-Zip a great benchmark. It additionally scales nicely with increased core-counts so there’s an added benefit with 7-Zip over different archiving software program.

Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake Core i9-11900K Core i5-11600K Processor 7-Zip

We see that 7-Zip favours AMD’s Zen 3 processors over the Intel eleventh Gen processors. The scores appear much like the different rendering benchmarks in our suite. So the 11900K falls behind the 10900K however the 11600K comes forward of the 10600K. So core-for-core, the eleventh Gen processors do present enchancment however the decrease core-count continues to be a handicap.

Mozilla Kraken

Mozilla Kraken is a browser-based JavaScript benchmark that executes a number of real-world situations that everybody comes throughout whereas usually looking the Web. It features a host of various use circumstances equivalent to looking, audio processing, picture filtering, cryptography and JSON parsing.

Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake Core i9-11900K Core i5-11600K Processor Mozilla Kraken

The Intel Core i9-11900K exhibits a marked enchancment over the tenth gen 10900K. And the similar goes for the 11600K which is additionally displaying a good enchancment of the 10600K. The AMD processors are nonetheless forward.

Gaming (Discrete GPU)

In our gaming benchmarks, we run a number of new titles on the NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti. There are a bunch of various video games primarily based on a wide range of present gen sport engines utilizing completely different graphics APIs equivalent to DirectX11, 12, Vulkan and OpenGL.

Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake Core i9-11900K Core i5-11600K Processor Gaming Performance

The scores listed below are for Shadow of the Tomb Raider, The Witcher 3, Murderer’s Creed Odyssey and Unusual Brigade. We’ve additionally averaged the FPS scores throughout the video games and included that in the graph. We will clearly see that Intel is nonetheless the finest for gaming with the 11900K main the pack adopted intently by the 11600K. The AMD processors come subsequent adopted by Intel’s ninth Gen and tenth Gen processors.

Intel Xe-LP iGPU efficiency

Certainly one of the main enhancements with the Intel eleventh Gen processors is the Built-in GPU which has been overhauled altogether. The Intel Xe-LP is only a teaser of what Intel has deliberate for his or her upcoming discrete graphics playing cards. We ran 3DMark Night time Raid to match the Intel UHD 650 on the 10900K towards the Intel UHD 750 on the 11900K which is primarily based on Xe-LP.

Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake Core i9-11900K Core i5-11600K Processor Xe-LP Graphics Performance

We see a 47 per cent enchancment with the Intel Xe-LP over the older Intel Iris built-in graphics. If Intel had launched Core i3 processors with Xe-LP graphics, then we’d have an amazing worth providing in the entry-level phase. In comparison with the AMD Ryzen 3 3200G, the Xe-LP with 32 EUs can be an enchancment however in comparison with the AMD Ryzen 5 3400G, the Xe-LP would nonetheless lag behind.

Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake Core i9-11900K Core i5-11600K Processor Xe-LP Graphics Performance

Working video games on the iGPU additionally exhibits that we’re seeing an identical 50 to 60 per cent enchancment in common FPS. Sadly, current-gen AAA video games aren’t playable which is regular for all iGPUs however older AAA titles equivalent to GTA V are playable on low settings.

Generational efficiency enchancment

We didn’t get the Core i7 processors from the eleventh Gen or the tenth Gen from Intel. Additionally, the core counts for Core i9 processors are completely different between tenth and eleventh Gen. So the solely Core-to-Core comparability that we are able to run is with the Core i5 processors.

Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake Core i9-11900K Core i5-11600K Processor Performance

We’ve charted all the benchmarks on this web page to point out the generational efficiency distinction. We will see that decreased core rely of the Core i9 processors make the new 11900K a downgrade in comparison with the 10900K. The one saving grace is the single-threaded efficiency enchancment and the built-in graphics. Nonetheless, after we take a look at the Core i5 processors, we see the Core i5-11600K is about 10.6 to 19 per cent better than the Core i5-10600K.

Intel Adaptive Enhance Expertise

Intel Adaptive Enhance Expertise is the newest frequency boosting expertise. Customers won’t get entry to Adaptive Enhance Expertise by default, they must swap it on in the BIOS. Adaptive Enhance Expertise overrides Thermal Velocity Enhance when three or extra cores are lively, and offers no matter quantity of efficiency is doable inside the energy envelope. So if the processor is cool and the motherboard offers loads of steady energy, then you will note the clock speeds for all cores go up. This is suspiciously much like AMD’s Precision Enhance 2 expertise.

Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake Core i9-11900K Core i5-11600K Processor Adaptive Boost Technology

We ran a number of benchmarks to see how Adaptive Enhance Expertise would influence the general efficiency. We used a 360mm AIO Liquid CPU Cooler to maintain the processor as cool as doable. We then ran 3DMark Fireplace Strike, Handbrake, and a few video games with and with out Adaptive Enhance Expertise turned on. 3DMark Fireplace Strike scored 17442 with out ABT and 17461 with ABT. The distinction was inside the margin or error. The Handbrake transcode workload took 12 minutes and 55 seconds with and with out ABT. Lastly, we’ve got the video video games.

Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake Core i9-11900K Core i5-11600K Processor Adaptive Boost Technology

You may see that we had no luck on this set of benchmarks both. The efficiency with and with out Adaptive Enhance Expertise was the similar for us. We even logged the temperature throughout the Handbrake run to see why we had been seeing no enchancment.

Intel 11th Gen Rocket Lake Core i9-11900K Core i5-11600K Processor Adaptive Boost Technology

You may see that the CPU Bundle temperature is all the time hovering close to 70 levels celsius throughout the complete run. And Bundle temperature is all the time slightly decrease than the precise core temperatures. So the Cores had been always operating over the 70 levels celsius restrict and thus, Thermal Velocity Enhance or Adaptive Enhance Expertise by no means really kicked in throughout a sustained workload equivalent to Handbrake. All we are able to say at this level is that even with a very good CPU cooler in an air-conditioned setting, Thermal Velocity Enhance and Adaptive Enhance Expertise aren’t actually useful. Intel didn’t share one in all their Cryo Coolers (which include Peltier platies) with us. These unique coolers are in all probability the solely issues that may really make TVB and ABT kick in.


Intel appears to have made some vital enhancements core-for-core in eleventh Gen processors over tenth Gen processors. Nonetheless, the Intel Core i9-11900K is not a worthy improve however the Intel Core i5-10600K is. And the built-in graphics is actually an amazing enchancment nevertheless it must get slightly better to compete with AMD’s Vega11 iGPU. All stated, AMD’s Ryzen 5000 collection are nonetheless the better purchase and we hope that adjustments with Intel’s upcoming Alder Lake launch.

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