Intel’s next-gen processors have fewer cores but cost more, according to retailers

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Intel has a few tricks up its sleeve, though

Several European retailers have listed 11th-gen Intel processors, codenamed Rocket Lake. It’s a slim series, with only two meaningfully distinct designs. It’s also a bit troubled, with fewer cores than the previous generation and higher prices across the board.

Rocket Lake does have one thing going for it, though — some nice symmetry. It’s comprised of 6 hexa-core models and 8 octa-core models. Good job, Intel.

The hexa-cores include the i5-11400, 11400F, 11500, 11600, 11600K, and 11600KF. The octa-cores include the i7-11700, 11700F, 11700K, and 11700KF, and the i9-11900, 11900F, 11900K, and 11900KF. All models feature Hyper-threading.

While a discussion of prices is about to follow, this is a good moment to point out that for the humble overclocker, the 11700KF (the cheapest overclockable octa-core model) is identically performant to the 11900K. So for some, these prices are superb; that can’t be denied.

Processor Cores / Threads Base Clock (GHz) L3 Cache (MB) Overclockable Integrated Graphics
i9-11900KF 8 / 16 3.5 16
i9-11900K 8 / 16 3.5 16
i9-11900F 8 / 16 2.5 16
i9-11900 8 / 16 2.5 16
i7-11700KF 8 / 16 3.6 16
i7-11700K 8 / 16 3.6 16
i7-11700F 8 / 16 2.5 16
i7-11700 8 / 16 2.5 16
i5-11600KF 6 / 12 3.9 12
i5-11600K 6 / 12 3.9 12
i5-11600 6 / 12 2.8 12
i5-11500 6 / 12 2.7 12
i5-11400F 6 / 12 2.6 12
i5-11400 6 / 12 2.6 12

As has happened before, Belgian retailer 2Compute began a cascade of pricing divulgence by listing the entirety of the Rocket Lake series. From there, nabbing the identification codes for all the processors lets them be searched, and other listings be found. On average, we found four to five listings for each processor. You might find more if you searched tomorrow.

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Pricing fluctuates significantly between retailers, which is partly because of their different pricing schemes, and also partly because of their different locations. In some cases, prices for the same model differed as much as 30 percent between retailers.

Nevertheless, the numbers can be collated and compared with the MSRP and live prices of current generation products. We’ve created reasonable price estimates for all the processors based roughly on the median price, with outliers and other anomalies (like those that seem to include excessive tax) excluded.

In general, the Rocket Lake processors are being listed for 10% to 20% more than their current generation equivalents, with the margin increasing with the price. In some cases, the margin between the listings and the current generation’s MSRPs is larger, but the margin only brushes up against 20% when the listings are compared with the live prices on Amazon.

Processor Code 2Compute (€) Average (€) Average (USD) Current generation equivalent MSRP (USD)
i9-11900KF BX8070811900KF 475.80 500 600 472
i9-11900K BX8070811900K 499.70 510 615 488
i9-11900F BX8070811900F 384.20 410 495 422
i9-11900 BX8070811900 408.10 440 530 439
i7-11700KF BX8070811700KF 352.70 350 420 349
i7-11700K BX8070811700K 376.60 410 495 374
i7-11700F BX8070811700F 282.00 300 360 298
i7-11700 BX8070811700 305.90 320 385 323
i5-11600KF BX8070811600KF 219.00 220 265 237
i5-11600K BX8070811600K 242.90 260 315 262
i5-11600 BX8070811600 206.60 230 280 213
i5-11500 BX8070811500 187.50 200 240 192
i5-11400F BX8070811400F 145.50 150 180 157
i5-11400 BX8070811400 169.40 180 225 182
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Some retailer data would suggest that Rocket Lake will be cheaper than the current generation. For example, 2Compute is listing some of the lowest prices for Rocket Lake, and some of the highest prices for the current generation. If only their numbers are used for comparison, then Rocket Lake looks to be 10% cheaper than the current generation.

However, as one commentator points out, that’s only true for 2Compute. On the whole, Rocket Lake tentatively appears to be a little more expensive than previous generations. But does more expensive mean worse? Not at all.

Across the series, there are little gems tucked away. An 11400F could arrive at a similar price to the 3600X and outperform it handily. An 11600KF could undercut the 5600X while simultaneously outperforming it. An 11700KF could provide stiff competition to the 5800X at a similar price. And, of course, the 11900K could become the fastest gaming processor once again, which would give Intel some leeway on the pricing.

Intel hasn’t shied away from discussing Rocket Lake, and motherboard manufacturers have each revealed several new Z590 models that will accompany the launch. The countdown will begin shortly, certainly. One of the retailers listing Rocket Lake even writes that they’ll receive stock before the end of the month.

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