Intel Core i7-11700K (Courtesy: Anandtech)

Anandtech’s Intel Core i7-11700K review confirms what we’re all worried about

As known earlier, The Intel Core i7-11700K is an eight-core/ 16-thread CPU with 3.6 /4.9 GHz Base/ Turbo 2.0 clock speed. It does finally get Intel aboard the PCIe 4.0 bandwidth- for the PCIe x16 slot and the M.2 storage. Some retailers managed to sell the Rocket Lake-S well before its embargo date. This gave Anandtech’s Dr Ian Cutress the opportunity to buy the CPU and publish the review. This is universally beneficial, especially considering the current state of Intel until Pat Gelsinger took over as the company’s CEO.

Setting expectations

Contrary to the popular belief, Anandtech didn’t use magic tricks to get the Core i7-11700K CPU. They purchased it when it was available for purchase and managed to get it shipped for an early review. There are some expectations set, such as possible higher-than-retail pricing and BIOS. That said, all respective reviewers have signed an embargo. Anandtech clearly explained that purchasing hardware under embargo from retail. Therefore, he went around most restrictions of the Non-Disclosure Agreement, enough to publish a review and give enthusiasts relevant information.

For a month early purchase, Anandtech paid $470 so we hope to lesser pricing in retail despite the current state of stocks with CPU and GPU, consider how this CPU performance at what cost.

How was Rocket Lake-S conceived?

The main issue was the performance and the power it drew and the temperature it gave out. Originally, the Rock Lake CPU was supposed to be on the 10nm process and designed specifically for it. However, Intel wasn’t able to get the 10nm process right and ended up switching back to 14nm. Therefore, they were forced to rush changes throughout their architecture. CPU architectures are designed about 3-5 years in advance, going through rigorous changes, developments, feature additions and removals, specifically, that can work within a process.

Dr Cutress’ findings

This wrench in a supposed well-oiled plan was enough to create a chain of oil spills and slips. Dr Ian Curtress says the follows in his conclusion:

Despite not being designed for 14nm, Intel took its 10nm Sunny Cove core design (and Xe integrated graphics), and rebuilt it from the ground up. This sounds arduous – all the solutions to get things working in 10nm to need to be rethought, and new issues with timing and signal integrity have to be solved. It wasn’t designed for 14nm, and to signify its difference, it was called Cypress Cove. These engineers are no doubt frustrated that they had core designs on the table, ready to go on 10nm, but they had to re-draw them in a different style where they are bigger and more power-hungry, just to get something out of the door. That different style is Rocket Lake, and specifically the Core i7-11700K we have tested today.

Dr Ian Cutress further pinpointed the power consumption peaked 292 watts power consumption during AVX-512 workload (among many things), with eye-opening temperatures of 104 degrees Celcius. This was on the best possible CPU cooler- even more worrying.

This is a concern among enthusiast, coming with reasonable anger among end-users since many waited for the Intel Z590 and a PCIe 4.0 capable CPU processor to keep up with AMD and also have a direct PCIe 4.0 support for the M.2 SSDs. One could speculate this would have been a decent chip had Intel was able to get into 10nm manufacturing.

Intel should have moved on for this architecture as planned

While one can be impressed with how Intel was able to milk the 14nm process, this is one cow they should have not dared to milk! Seeing how insane the power consumption and latency are on the Core i7-11700K, I can’t help but imagine what would be the state of the Core i9-11700K. While there are performance gains in single-threaded performance, it does lag behind AMD. There’s also the Intel 10th generation should end-users feel the need to skip PCIe 4.0. The currently stifled CPU and GPU market heavily influences local pricing and availability, hence purchasing decisions. So one will be curious- where will Intel price these chips, and what would be the state of 10th generation stocks. Similarly, I am curious to know the state of things about the lesser and locked spec variations under Core i7-11700K.

Everybody goes through this stage

With Pat Gelsinger back at Intel’s helm, we can hope to see something credible post-LGA 1700 socket-based Alder-Lake (or including Alder Lake- now that will be a magic trick!). That’s something we’ll need to wait and watch.

But this isn’t new even from Intel. Let’s not forget the Prescott CPU family days, getting overwhelmed by AMD Socket 939 offerings. AMD also went through similar mid-life crises for around a decade. This also excludes its forgettable AM1+ and AM2+ APU socket platforms. Some can recall this little hot-headed CPU called the AMD FX-9590. Good luck finding a good motherboard with strong power circuitry for that CPU! Eventually, AMD got Dr Lisa Su as its CEO who practically helped AMD get back to where it is enough to gain over Intel’s performance-per-price.

Similar shenanigans with graphics cards- both AMD and Nvidia. The memes were more relevant since it attracts attention from gamers looking for an upgrade. I would know- I made one, too!

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