If there is something that characterizes this new generation of processors, it is the amount of impediments that Intel is putting on the table to support them with old chipsets. What seemed easy in terms of a purchase decision now has to be scrutinized. What are its benefits, curiosities or key characteristics? Which one is best for each type of task and PC? We are going to try to solve all doubts at once.
Chipsets for Intel Rocket Lake-S 11 Gen CPUs
|Supports 11 Gen CPUs||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Supports 10 Gen CPUs||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|TDP||Not confirmed||Not confirmed||6 W||6 W||Not confirmed|
|Overclocking||Do not||Only in memories||Do not||Yes||Yes|
|DIMMs per channel||two||two||two||two||two|
|Maximum amount of RAM||Not specified||Not specified||64 GB||128 GB||128 GB|
|RAM memory support||DDR4-3200 MHz||DDR4-3200 MHz||DDR4-2666 / DDR4-2933||DDR4-2933||DDR4-3200 MHz|
|DMI 3.0 lines||4||4||4||4||8, but only with 11 Gen CPUs|
|PCI Express||PCIe 4.0 x16, no support for M.2 Gen 4, the rest PCIe Gen 3||PCIe 4.0 x16 + M.2 x4, the rest PCIe Gen 3||Only one PCIe 4.0 x16, the rest will be Gen 3||PCI Express 3.0 1×16 2×8 or 1×8 + 2×4, only one PCIe 4.0 x16
PCIe 4.0 support depends on the manufacturer
|PCIe 4.0 x16 + M.2 x4, the rest PCIe Gen 3|
|Maximum number of PCIe lanes||twenty||24||twenty||24||24|
|Multi GPU||Do not||Do not||Do not||AMD CrossFire and NVIDIA SLI||AMD CrossFire and NVIDIA SLI|
|Number of USB ports||10||12||14||14||14|
|USB configuration||Not specified||Not specified||8 x USB 3.2 Gen 1×1
14 x USB 2.0
|6 x USB 3.2 Gen 2×1
10 x USB 3.2 Gen 1×1
14 x USB 2.0
|Intel Optane support||Do not||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Maximum number of SATA 6 Gb / s||Not specified||Not specified||6||6||6|
|RAID||Do not||0,1,5 and 10||0,1,5 and 10||0,1,5 and 10||0,1,5 and 10|
Before we begin, we must clarify two quite important points that will be better understood in the table above: the H410 and B460 chipsets have been left out of support for Intel’s 11 Gen, so they are simply left in 10 Gen with Comet Lake- S as main architecture.
We have already addressed the reasons for this decision by Intel in an exclusive article for it, so we will not go into it here, but when buying a motherboard it is important to know, because if we mount an 11 Gen CPU in these chipsets it will not be recognized.
The details to be discussed about the rest of the characteristics are clear, although there are some that are not clear at all because they have not been specified as such. To begin with, all of these chipsets will support the newer Rocket Lake-S, as well as the Comet Lake-S 10th Gen architecture, but only two will be able to be overclocked with these CPUs: Z590 and Z490.
The rest of the models are blocked and only the B560 will be enabled for overclocking in RAM memory as such, allowing to gain a little more performance in the system.
The PCIe lines and generations in controversy
Rocket Lake-S brings as a main novelty the support for PCIe 4.0, but it will only be enabled in its entirety in the Z590 chipset as such, while Z490 even having 20 lines destined for this purpose, some companies only offer x16 for the GPU, leaving to M.2 SSDs without such support and staying at Gen 3 x16 as such. The H510 chipset directly only enables one x16 slot exclusively.
Out of these 20 lines mentioned, the PCH lines will be Gen 3 in all models, leaving aside the idea that Intel could launch PCH with PCIe 4.0. Finally, another of the novelties that Intel has included with these new 500 series chipsets is the inclusion of the so-called USB 3.2 20G, which will not surprisingly be connected by PCIe lines to the CPU, but will be governed by chipsets of the 500 series exclusively.
In other words, the 400 series does not get support as such, but has to be offered by an exclusive Asmedia controller and external to the PCH. As we can see, the changes are minimal, but they are important for PCIe 4.0 and especially for something that has not been discussed much: the DMI 3.0 lines.
All chipsets will support 4 lines of this Intel-owned bus, where this version 3.0 achieves 8 GT / s per lane, so except Z590, all will have 32 GT / s in total, while this new high-end chipset will enjoy double the : 64 GT / s. This full speed duplicity will only be available with 11 Gen Rocket Lake-S CPUs, which should allow for less bottleneck on buses that opt for DMI 3.0 as their data interface.