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Intel's higher-tier Core i9 processors to arrive on September 25

By Michael Low & Koh Wanzi - on 8 Aug 2017, 5:00pm

Intel's higher-tier Core i9 processors to arrive on September 25

Image source: Intel.

Intel has finally revealed the official specifications for the rest of its Core i9 processors, including the crazy 18-core Core i9-7980XE.

AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper processors will hit shelves on August 10, along with a deluge of reviews, so it looks like Santa Clara timed the announcement to remind consumers that it’s still firmly in the game.

Before today, we only had details on the 10-core Core i9-7900X, while release dates for the 14- to 18-core chips were still up in the air. The 12-core Core i9-7920X is slated to arrive on August 28, but Threadripper’s imminent debut meant that AMD technically had the upperhand in terms of high core count chips that you could actually buy.

Well, it turns out that enthusiasts won’t have to wait too long to see what the upper echelons of Intel’s Core i9 lineup is capable of. The Core i9-7940X, Core i9-7960X, and Core i9-7980XE will be available on September 25, which is excellent news considering that some initially thought that we wouldn’t see the 18-core CPU until 2018.

Here’s an overview of the entire Core X series:

Model Base clock Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 frequency Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0 frequency Cores/Threads L3 cache PCIe 3.0 lanes Memory support TDP Price (USD)
Intel Core i9-7980XE 2.6GHz 4.2GHz 4.4GHz 18/36 24.75MB 44 Quad-channel DDR4-2666 165W $1,999
Intel Core i9-7960X 2.8GHz 4.2GHz 4.4GHz 16/32 22MB 44 Quad-channel DDR4-2666 165W $1,699
Intel Core i9-7940X 3.1GHz 4.3GHz 4.4GHz 14/28 19.25MB 44 Quad-channel DDR4-2666 165W $1,399
Intel Core i9-7920X 2.9GHz 4.3GHz 4.4GHz 12/24 16.5MB 44 Quad-channel DDR4-2666 140W $1,199
Intel Core i9-7900X 3.3GHz 4.3GHz 4.5GHz 10/20 13.75MB 44 Quad-channel DDR4-2666 140W $999
Intel Core i7-7820X 3.6GHz 4.3GHz 4.5GHz 8/16 11MB 28 Quad-channel DDR4-2666 140W $599
Intel Core i7-7800X 3.5GHz 4.0GHz N/A 6/12 8.25MB 28 Quad-channel DDR4-2400 140W $389
Intel Core i7-7740X 4.3GHz 4.5GHz N/A 4/8 8MB 16 Dual-channel DDR4-2666 112W $339
Intel Core i5-7640X 4.0GHz 4.2GHz N/A 4/4 6MB 16 Dual-channel DDR4-2666 112W $242

One thing that continues to hold true is that AMD still has a significant price advantage. For instance, the 16-core Core i9-7960X costs US$1,699 to the Ryzen Threadripper 1950X’s US$999, a good US$700 more. AMD’s 12-core 1920X also goes for just US$799, compared to the Core i9-7920X’s US$1,199.

Another thing that stands out is the relatively low base clocks of the top-tier chips. Most notably, the flagship Core i9-7980XE starts out at just 2.6GHz, which can seem a bit odd for a processor of its caliber.

However, it does have a Turbo Boost 2.0 frequency of 4.2GHz, and a Turbo Boost Max 3.0 clock of 4.4GHz, which is actually quite impressive given that this is an 18-core chip.

Independent benchmarks for these chips won’t be available for some time yet, but Intel did provide a sneak peek of its own results, where the 16-core Core i9 processor reportedly hit a Cinebench R15 score of 3,200 with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.

Intel’s rollout of its Skylake-X chips hasn’t been as smooth as it’d have liked, and there have been numerous reports of heat issues, disappointing overclocking headroom, and inadequate motherboard VRM designs.

That said, we’re happy that the rest of the Core i9 chips are arriving sooner rather than later, as consumers ultimately stand to gain from this back and forth between AMD and Intel as they battle for enthusiasts’ wallets.

For an overview of what Intel’s Core X family brings to the table, you can check out this article.

Source: Intel.