Intel’s 11-gen i5 and i9 Rocket Lake CPUs

Significant improvement over gen-10

Posted: By Robert Dow 03.31.21

Intel introduced 11th generation Core i processors with its new 750 Iris X UHD graphics. Intel announced a full line up of processors from the X-series Enthusiasts CPUs to the base i3. Intel is touting the integration of AI along with CPU/GPU compute capabilities featured in the new generation.

We were able to get an i5-11600K and an i9-11900K and ran a series of tests on them as well as our i9-10900k.

The test bed for the new i9-11900K consisted of an Asus ROG Maximus XII Hero Motherboard with 32 GB of DDR4 Corsair Vengeance RAM at 4133 MHz with a 2TB Samsung EVO Plus M2 drive. This is a top-of-the-line system. Our rig for testing the i9-10900K was also impressive with a Gigabyte AORUS Master Z490 Motherboard 32 GB RAM G-Skill Sniper X running at 3400 MHz with a Sandisk SSD and 2TB HDD.

We ran a comprehensive suite consisting of both CPU-based benchmarks, synthetic GPU benchmarks as well of gaming tests. We tried to use games that would stress the CPU as well as the UHD graphics and AIB. We ran in 1440P and 4K with the new AMD RX 6700 XT and were able to sustain impressive framerates at the higher resolutions with Ultra settings.

The i9-10900K was able to hold its own with the i9-11900K when it came to the Multi-thread CPU testing and game tests with the RX 6700 XT installed in the system. This was to be expected given the earlier generation CPU does have more cores, threads (i9-10900K Cores 10 Threads 20 – i9-11900K Cores 8 Threads 16) and runs at a higher base clock than the new 11th Gen i9. In both the Cinebench and GeekBench Multi-thread tests, the 10th Gen outscored the 11th Gen. However, the i9-11900K really shined when it came to head-to-head graphic tests with the improved UHD 750 giving a consistent 35% better performance than the 630.

Also, when it came to the single thread test the 11th Gen i9 was impressive showing a 31% improvement in GeekBench and 25% improvement in the single core Cinebench testing.

CPU to CPU comparison

We ran the same ban of tests on the i9-10900K/UHD 630, the i9-11900K/UHD 750, and the i5-11600K/UHD 750. The following are the differences for CPU, UHD-GPU, and overall.

i9-10900K vs. i5-11600K

i5-11600K vs. i9-11900K

i9-10900K vs. i9-11900K

In general, we found that the i9-11900K/UHD 750 out-performed the i9-10900K/UHD 630 on overall benchmark scores by 9.8% and beat the i5-11600K/UHD 750 by 15.2%.

The iGPU scores raised the score, and the i9-11900K/UHD 750 beat the i9-10900K/UHD 630 by 23.7% while the CPU only gave an improvement of 5.3%.

The i9-11900K/UHD 750 beat the i5-11600K/UHD 750 by 9.9% on iGPU scores but by 23.3% on CPU scores. That speaks to both 11-gen Processors having basically the same iGPU.

In graphics tests measured in FPS, the i9-11900K/UHD 750 beat the i9-10900K/UHD 630 by 26.0% and beat the i5-11600K/UHD 750 by 7.5%.

AIB versus iGPU and generation comparison

We also wanted to see if the CPU made any difference to the graphics benchmark scores when an AIB was used. 

Graphics FPS benchmark results

The difference between an 11-generation i5 and i9 when FPS were measured was 15%.

Graphics score benchmark results

In terms of graphics benchmark scores, the i5 performed than the i9 10th generation by 0.5%.


Using the processor’s TDP, and selling price, we calculated the Pmark for each CPU and compared them using average FPS and average graphics benchmark scores.

FPS Pmark for three Intel processors
Graphics benchmark score Pmark for three Intel processors

Just as in AIB benchmarking, if you only want the maximum performance and don’t care about price or power consumption, the top-of-the-line i9-11600K is your choice. If you want the most bang for the buck, then you want the i5-11600K.

What do we think?

Intel has kept the power consumption the same for all three. The price difference between the i5 Rocket lake and the i9 is 106%, but the CPU performance difference is only 23%, while the average iGPU difference is 47%. The i5 seems like the better deal.

The i9 has 33% more cores than the i5, so if you’re doing multi-threaded work, then that would be an influence in favor of the i9.