Built on the new Cypress Core architecture, 11th Gen Intel® Core™ CPUs augment gaming and everyday performance with a host of platform improvements. The latest generation of processors enhances gaming performance with these additions:
- Clock speed boosts that can improve in-game FPS.
- Resizable BAR to enhance GPU performance.
- Real-time memory overclocking and flexible overclocking tools.
- Enhanced video playback to support new streaming formats.
- PCIe 4.0 support for new graphics cards and SSDs.
There’s a wealth of new features to discover as you find the right 11th Gen Intel® Core™ CPU for your build. It can get a little overwhelming to read about them all at once, so let’s break down some of the more complex topics in detail.
What Does 19% IPC Improvement Mean?
11th Gen Intel® Core™ desktop CPUs feature a 19% IPC advantage6 over the previous generation. But what does that mean?
A jump in IPC means your processor is working smarter, not harder. It’s getting more work done in each clock cycle, which translates to higher FPS in games and smoother performance in applications. Though IPC may not be a familiar measurement to everyone, it’s another way to understand why 11th Gen CPUs excel at gaming.
Modern CPUs perform billions of cycles per second. The Intel® Core™ i9-11900K’s frequency of 5.3GHz, for example, means 5.3 billion cycles every second.
During each cycle, the CPU fetches and executes instructions, which are low-level operations like arithmetic. The faster these basic instructions are executed, the faster programs run.
IPC stands “instructions per cycle” (or “instructions per clock”). By measuring the average number of instructions per cycle, it provides a window into your CPU’s performance.
Both clock speed and IPC are key for peak performance in games and other software. Clock speed tells you the number of cycles, and IPC tells you how much work is being done in each cycle.
Where does a 19% IPC improvement come from? Improvements in the new Cypress Core architecture in 11th Gen Intel® Core™ desktop CPUs, which targets both hardware and software efficiency. By precisely timing the execution of machine-level instructions as programs run, CPU benchmarks establish that the Intel® Core™ i9-11900K outperforms the 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i9-10900K by 19%.
If you’ve skipped a few generations of CPUs, it’s worth remembering that these increases are cumulative. In testing, 10th Gen desktop CPUs themselves provided up to 30% more FPS in PUBG compared to 9th Gen desktop — and up to 56% more FPS compared to a five-year-old desktop CPU6.
All of this means that if you’re jumping forward from a desktop CPU that’s a few years old, you’ll see a dramatic leap in speed and efficiency that isn’t fully captured by specs like clock speed.
What Is Adaptive Boost?
Several different boost technologies help 11th Gen Intel® Core™ CPUs jump to a higher frequency for a burst of extra performance. One of these, the all-core boost from Intel® Adaptive Boost Technology, is new for 11th Gen. It’s available in the Intel® Core™ i9-11900K and Intel® Core™ i9-11900KF.
Boost technologies work together to make your CPU more responsive to different workloads. For example, the Intel® Core™ i9-11900K uses both Intel® Turbo Boost Max 3.0 Technology and Intel® Thermal Velocity Boost to accelerate single-core speeds, which are tied to FPS in many games. For multitasking and applications that scale with many cores, Adaptive Boost helps cores 3–8 throttle up above their previous Max Turbo Frequency.
For more detail on each of the different boost technologies, see our full guide.
What Is Resizable BAR?
Newly supported in 11th Gen, Resizable BAR is a PCIe feature that can provide a free boost to in-game performance in some titles. It changes the way your CPU works with your GPU, potentially unlocking a few percentage points of extra FPS. It does so by letting your CPU access more data at once.
When playing a game, your CPU is in constant communication with the GPU as it renders in-game environments. Without Resizable BAR, your CPU accesses limited 256MB chunks of your GPU’s memory (VRAM) in many small transfers. As in-game assets have increased in size, this has become a potential roadblock.
Resizable BAR lets your CPU request assets of any size rather than working in 256MB chunks of the GPU’s memory. With Resizable BAR enabled, your CPU can access the whole framebuffer (data for the next frame to be drawn on-screen) as well as make multiple requests at once. The real-world performance impact isn’t always dramatic, but it can be significant.
In worst-case scenarios, though, Resizable BAR has a neutral or even negative effect. That’s why it’s automatically enabled or disabled by GPU drivers depending on the results of testing. That way, you don’t need to worry about it running at times when it’s not helping performance.
What Is DDR-3200 RAM Support?
11th Gen helps you get more from your memory. Motherboards now officially support RAM speeds of up to 3200MHz and present advanced overclocking options to help you tune your memory.
Adding more RAM capacity helps you run more programs at once (or meet the requirements for memory-hungry AAA games). Upgrading to faster RAM, on the other hand, improves the speed with which your CPU retrieves data from memory.
Stepping up from 2933MHz RAM (which 10th Gen supported) to 3200MHz can provide an in-game FPS boost, although this varies based on the game, your system, and your graphics settings.
11th Gen also gives you finer control over your memory. In addition to supporting overclocking on high-end Z590 motherboards, support is now extended to H570 and B560 boards. Real-time memory overclocking lets you change RAM frequency on the fly, and expert users now have the option to switch between Gear 1 and Gear 2 memory modes.
For an easy overclock, you can automate the process by running Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP). To learn more, check out our overclocking guide.
Choosing faster RAM won’t have the outsize performance impact you’d see from upgrading a GPU or CPU. But if you’re building or buying a high-end system, faster RAM can speed up some games and ensure you won’t be bottlenecked by memory.
What Is PCIe 4.0?
PCIe 4.0 support means you’ll be ready for the next generation of GPUs and SSDs.
PCIe is the expansion bus you use to connect graphics cards, NVMe SSDs, and peripherals like capture cards to your motherboard. 11th Gen Intel® Core™ CPUs support PCIe 4.0, a revision that provides twice as much bandwidth as 3.0.
PCIe 4.0 support means you’ll be ready to upgrade to the latest Gen 4 SSD or GPU as the technology matures. 11th Gen Intel® Core™ CPUs also provide up to 20 CPU PCIe lanes, which provide a more direct connection between your CPU, GPU, and NVMe SSD.
To learn why PCIe 4.0 matters, and how CPU PCIe lanes differ from chipset lanes, check out our full article.
What Is AV1?
Enhanced media playback is another hallmark of 11th Gen. By supporting new video formats and high-bitrate HDR video, CPUs like the Intel® Core™ i7-11700K make it easy to watch immersive, detail-rich content and create it yourself.
To provide an enhanced viewing experience, 11th Gen Intel® Core™ CPUs feature hardware support for 12-bit HEVC decoding and 10-bit AV1 decoding. 12-bit and 10-bit color are different standards for HDR (high dynamic range), which enables vivid hues and deep black levels when viewed on an HDR monitor.
HEVC (or H.265) and AV1 are video codecs, or encoder/decoders. During encoding, they intelligently shrink video file sizes through techniques like predicting future frames. When the file is played back, they reverse the process and decode it.
Hardware decoding for AV1 is an exciting addition to the 11th Gen platform. Testing has shown that AV1 is dramatically more efficient than other commonly-used codecs like VP9. Because it scales well at higher resolutions, AV1 enables streaming of 4K and 8K video while using less bandwidth.
You can actually see AV1 at work on YouTube videos, where account settings let you set the site to prefer AV1 over VP9. It’s also been tested by Netflix (on Android), and Twitch has announced plans for 1440p, 144fps AV1 streams.
Hardware decoding removes one of the barriers to widespread adoption of AV1: the performance impact of software decoding. Though modern browsers can play AV1 video, their software decoding can cause heavy CPU utilization on older PCs, especially with Ultra HD video. By comparison, hardware decoding provides a vastly more efficient, baked-in solution.
AV1 support enables a future where you may watch your favorite streamers in higher quality than ever before, stream 8K video in vivid color, and see more detail with limited bandwidth.
How Does 11th Gen Affect Gaming?
Inside the flagship Intel® Core™ i9-11900K — featuring 5.3 GHz max frequency, 8 cores, and 16 threads — all the features listed above come together to enhance your gameplay and streaming experience.
- IPC uplift. Under the hood, architecture improvements drive an IPC increase of 19% — showing the CPU’s leap in processing efficiency and gaming capability.
- Adaptive Boost Technology. Boost technologies let the processor crunch through both lightly-threaded and multi-threaded workloads, accelerating performance in games that scale with all cores as well as those that rely mostly on single-core speeds.
- Resizable BAR. When enabled, this feature gives your CPU more flexibility to access VRAM, providing a “free” boost to FPS in some games.
- DDR-3200 RAM support. Get more frames in some games6 — and overclock to push performance gains even farther.
- AV1 support. Rich media playback gives your PC access to higher-quality video while using less bandwidth, letting you watch streamers and gaming content in greater clarity on major platforms.
11th Gen is more capable and flexible than the previous generation of processors. But it’s an even more powerful upgrade if you’ve skipped a gen or two, and plan to take advantage of the latest PCIe 4.0 devices in the near future.