Most of Intel’s high-end CPUs have stuck to the quad-core design for years, but now Intel is bringing out the big guns to compete with AMD’s new Ryzen chips with their multitude of cores. At Computex in Taipei, Intel has unveiled the updated Core X-Series with a flagship Core i9 CPU and the company’s first teraflop desktop CPUs. The top-of-the-line Core i9 has an incredible 18 physical cores with Hyper-Threading for a total of 36 threads. It’s obscenely expensive, though.
The Core X-Series consists of Core i9, i7, and i5 CPUs. The i3 isn’t welcome in what’s clearly intended as a high-end family of CPUs. The Core i5 7640X is the entry-level model in the X-Series. It only has four cores and no Hyper-Threading, just like current-gen mainstream i5 chips. However, it has a higher clock speed, supports faster RAM, and uses the new Intel Socket R4 (LGA 2066). It’s priced at a reasonable $ 242.
If you want to step up to Intel’s new i7 family, the cheapest variant is the four-core, eight-thread 7740X. It’ll retail for $ 339, which is only a little more than current i7 CPUs. Things begin to diverge from existing Skylake and Kaby Lake designs with the 7800X, which has six cores and 12 threads for $ 389. There’s also the 8-core, 16-thread 7820X for around $ 599.
That brings us to the new Core i9 lineup, which starts at 10 physical CPU cores with 20 threads. This 7900X chip will retail for $ 999. The other i9 CPUs come in configurations with 12, 14, 16, and 18 cores (all with Hyper-Threading). Intel’s recommended price for those is $ 1,199, $ 1,399, $ 1,699, and $ 1,999, respectively. The 7980XE is the first consumer chip to offer 18 cores, which will probably be overkill for almost everyone.
The quad-core X-Series chips are based on Kaby Lake, but all the others are still derived from Skylake. Most of the improvements between those generations came in the form of power efficiency, but that’s not really what the X-Series is about. Intel says these chips are intended for gamers who want to play, livestream, and record their gameplay at high resolution. Anyone who needs to edit large images or videos might also be tempted to grab one of Intel’s new many-core CPUs. Of course, all X-Series CPUs are unlocked for easy overclocking.
The X-Series chips plug into the new LGA2066 socket and are designed to work with the X299 chipset. The combination of high core counts and new chipset features should offer big performance gains compared with the last time Intel went beyond quad-core with Broadwell-E. These new CPUs will cost you a pretty penny, but a certain class of enthusiast and professionals will be happy to plunk down $ 2,000 for the fastest CPU Intel offers.
Stay tuned for more analysis here on ExtremeTech, including how these processors stack up against AMD’s Ryzen lineup.
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