PCIe 4.0 Support Coming for Intel Rocket Lake-S?

Rocket Lake-S may be out by the end of 2020. A diagram leaked by sources from Intel showed many features and support. One of them being Intel Rocket Lake-S supporting PCIe 4.0 Confirmation. The leaked diagram gives a basic idea of the Rocket Lake-S platform. The details in the diagram can be found here.  While rumors regarding the new platform have been floating around for a while, we finally have some concrete news to some of the upgraded features.

The 500 series motherboards will be hitting the shelves soon. Unlike the previous 300 and even 400 series motherboards, the new 500 series will benefit highly from new features on the Rocket Lake-S.

Looking at the diagram we can assume this is a feature update to Comet Lake-S in comparison. Getting into the main focus being the Rocket Lake-S supporting PCIe 4.0, this is the most important feature update.

Not only will the CPU support direct 4.0 lanes but will also have 4 additional storage lanes. The additional storage numbers go as  X16 for GPU and x4 for NVMe drive. This indicates further that both the primary GPU and the NVMe storage will directly connect to the CPU and not the PCH.

While this is one of the most important feature updates, there are other significant features that add up to this. The Rocket Lake-S will be getting a new core architecture. There isn’t much detail on this yet however, rumors state this may be a 14nm adaption of the 10nm Tiger Lake architecture spotted recently.

The DMI (Direct Media Interface) will also get an upgrade to X8 link. This will double transfer speeds compared to X4. We do not know the actual numbers for the new upgraded transfer speeds however if we do the math, it may be around 8GB/s ( 7.86GB/s to be exact) since the current X4  rests at 3.93GB/s.

The new features also include an upgraded graphics chip and display updates. While Intel HD graphics were mostly useless, this time Intel plans to push the limits on the GPU side as well. the Rocket Lake-S will support the new Intel Xe graphics architecture.

This will also bring HDMI 2.0b and DisplayPort 1.4a support. Intel is planning to remove SGX (Security Guard Extensions) for this architecture. Lastly, we saw in the CES 2020, Intel confirmed the Tiger Lake platform supporting Thunderbolt 4. Though this is said to not unlock any performance upgrade Thunderbolt 3 in terms of transfer speeds (40 GB/s unchanged). There were rumours that did state that Thunderbolt 4.0 might support PCI3 4.0 however, the diagram specification list clearly shows Thunderbolt 3.0.

There are still some small details that the diagram lacks. We have yet to see Intel unveil more detailed information regarding the new CPU lineup. Though it seems like Intel may not come up short this time.

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