Intel's "secret" Core i9-11900KB uses a different architecture on the 10nm node

mongeese

Posts: 503   +109
Staff member
WTF?! At some point, Intel secretly released the Core i9-11900KB, i7-11700B, i5-11500B, and the i3-11100B. The B stands for badass because that’s what these processors are: they use the 10nm SuperFin node, the superior Willow Cove core architecture, and are clocked higher than their regular counterparts.

Okay, maybe B doesn’t stand for badass. It’s the shorthand for BGA, ball grid array. That’s a solderable type of socket, which means that these processors come permanently attached to their motherboards and can’t be pulled out or swapped out, and are out of bounds for enthusiasts and builders. Which is a damn shame, I say.

"Intel has partnered with customers interested in expanding their product portfolio with enthusiast, small form-factor desktop designs," reads Intel’s official line. "The Intel Core i9-11900KB processor is a BGA solution built with unique specifications and performance specifically for these designs."

The B-series is being called a secret because Intel never formally announced them, but their spec sheets are public on Intel’s processor catalog.

And what mighty fine spec sheets they are...

  i9-11900KB i7-11700B i5-11500B i3-11100B
Cores / Threads 8 / 16 6 / 12 4 / 8
Base Clock 3.3 GHz 3.2 GHz 3.3 GHz 3.6 GHz
Turbo Boost 3.0 4.9 GHz 4.8 GHz 4.6 GHz 4.4 GHz
Thermal Velocity Boost 5.3 GHz
L3 Cache 24 MB 12 MB
TDP 65 W

In most ways, the B-series is an upgrade. All the chips have a 65 W TDP, but with the exception of the 11900KB, they’ve got higher base clocks and thermal velocity boost clocks. Presumably, that’s an improvement courtesy of the jump from 14nm to 10nm.

The Core B-series is listed as a Tiger Lake product, which implies that they leverage Willow Cove cores. Willow Cove is the successor to the mobile version (called Sunny Cove) of the Cypress Cove architecture used by the regular parts. In our testing, Willow Cove is quite a bit faster than Sunny Cove. The only consequence of its use is the drop from 20 PCIe 4.0 lanes to just 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes.

But let’s circle back, these are Tiger Lake CPUs. These aren’t Frankenstein prototypes. They’re overclocked mobile processors.

  i9-11900K i9-11900KB i9-11900H
Market Desktop Desktop OEM Laptop
Cores / Threads 8 / 16
Base Clock 3.5 GHz 3.3 GHz 2.1 - 2.5 GHz
Turbo Boost 3.0 5.2 GHz 4.8 GHz 4.9 GHz
Thermal Velocity Boost 5.3 GHz -
L3 Cache 16 MB 24 MB
TDP 125 W 65 W 35 w

Theoretically, the 11900KB will run cooler than the regular 11900K while being equally fast, if not faster. I'm excited to see the small form factor prebuilts referenced in Intel's statement because these processors have some serious potential.

Permalink to story.

 

Nanochip

Posts: 36   +29
Why didn’t Intel release these to the mass market?!!

I would love to see a benchmark comparison between the 11900K and 11900KB.
 

fps4ever

Posts: 683   +906
So does that mean a total of 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes split between the external graphics slot and the rest of the motherboard peripherals? Might be some bottle necks there. Just asking as I honestly don't know?
 

Fulljack

Posts: 7   +10
This product exist probably because it's aimed for OEM want to build SFF PC based on Tiger Lake. It's probably small enough that Intel are confident in selling a specialized CPU for their customers, but still didn't announce it outright to the media.

Intel didn't made this as actual 11th gen desktop series probably because of several reason.
1. they already backported sunny cove architecture as rocket lake as scheduled.
2. 10nm superfin didn't have enough capacity to produce both mobile and desktop chips with reasonable yield.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,510   +3,784
So does that mean a total of 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes split between the external graphics slot and the rest of the motherboard peripherals? Might be some bottle necks there. Just asking as I honestly don't know?
No. The PCIe lane count is actually 24 for the desktop chip and 20 for the laptop chip. The x4 lanes for the chipset are usually not counted as "PCIe lanes" for the purposes of comparison, because they all have it and the speed of that uplink comes down to the chipset itself rather then the CPU.

If you look at the chipset lane diagrams you see these lanes listed.
 

SethNW

Posts: 25   +31
For those asking why Intel mad 14nm Rocket Lake and not just go with this. Probably one of two reasons, 10nm production lines likely don't have nearly enough capacity to do both desktop and mobile chips, they had to choose. Also I could easily see those being lower volume products for a while. And second reason I can see is that yields also maybe aren't completely there yet. Which would also hinder supply with having 10nm everywhere. Not to mention that OEM market is way bigger than DIY. And those contracts they will secure with this, way more important too. Also before you get angry at me, I am part of DIY too, I don't like it anymore than the rest of you guys. And yeah. Rocket Lake could be way better with 10nm. But I guess Intel just isn't ready to fully commit to it. Also to be fair, they eo also take any excuse to get you to buy new motherboards for 10nm too. Like they still are no pre Zen3 AMD.
 

foxrox

Posts: 46   +42
"The B stands for badass because that's what they are"

Correction:
"The B stands for badsmellinga$$ because they're soldered BGA trash with castrated TDP."
 

brucek

Posts: 812   +1,130
TechSpot Elite
There were probably already enough good reasons for prioritizing OEM mobile, but I wonder if a further one was knowing that DIY enthusiasts were going to buy AMD either way anyway.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 369   +301
"The B stands for badass because that's what they are"

Correction:
"The B stands for badsmellinga$$ because they're soldered BGA trash with castrated TDP."

Completely ignoring your comments you answered my curiosity - would badass be ok in a story - but censored in the comments
 
Let's not forget "the other" competition that now exists and is whopping both Intel's and AMD's *** right now: Apple's M1 silicon.
I'm no Apple fanboi but teams blue and red have a lot of catching up to do
 

mongeese

Posts: 503   +109
Staff member
With 16 pcie 3.0 lanes? Are you joking or not actually reading?
The laptop versions of these processors actually do have PCIe 4.0, so Intel could've made them a viable desktop product if they'd really wanted to. But you're right, it's a severe limitation.
 

Burty117

Posts: 4,128   +2,109
Let's not forget "the other" competition that now exists and is whopping both Intel's and AMD's *** right now: Apple's M1 silicon.
I'm no Apple fanboi but teams blue and red have a lot of catching up to do
They're not kicking anyone's ***. They don't directly compete, the vast majority of the market uses Microsoft based systems for a reason, Apple doesn't sell its CPU to anyone, therefore it never will be in competition...
 
They're not kicking anyone's ***. They don't directly compete, the vast majority of the market uses Microsoft based systems for a reason, Apple doesn't sell its CPU to anyone, therefore it never will be in competition...

For people who need a nice responsive browser on a laptop, do their emails and typical office tasks, the M1 based Macs fit just the bill. And they handle video editing better too. So they are the competition in these areas.
 

ClintL

Posts: 23   +49
All the people complaining and I'm sure that even if the next model of cpu's were going to be 14nm+++++++++++,they would still buy Intel,just because Intel.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,124   +4,368
SIntel trying to create mystique around their upcoming microincrement in performance improvement. Pathetic, IMO.
 
Intel needs to step back, re-brand, and drop this whole I-series , it is sad to watch Intel fizzle out, like watching the death of a star, without a super nova in the back pocket.