Intel unveils final members of Core i9 line-up

Isaac Cain
August 8, 2017

Today Intel has officially confirmed the specifications for the 12- to 18-core processors which take the form of the new Intel Core i9-7920X, Intel Core i9-7940X, Intel Core i9-7960X and the Extreme Edition Intel Core i9-7980XE processors. While there are no surprises, it is nice to see everything in one place.

Perhaps most important, though, is that we now know how fast Intel's Core i9s will run. The 4- to 10-core Intel Core X-series processors are already on shelves and available at multiple retailers, along with more than 200 Intel X299 Chipset motherboards. This can be ramped up to 4.2GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0, and Turbo Boost 3.0 can send that up even further to 4.4GHz. Above this tier we have Extreme Core Count CPUs, but those aren't in play here.

The Intel Core i9 7980XE will be Intel's most powerful CPU, offering 18 CPU cores and and supporting 36 threads via Hyper Threading, will be clocked at 2.6Ghz, will be turbo-boosted to 4.4Ghz, will feature 44 PCIe lanes and will be priced at $1999.

Next in the list is the Core i9-7940X which is a 14-core / 28-thread CPU with 19.25MB of L3 cache, 44 PCIe lanes and a base clock of 3.1GHz (Boost up to 4.3GHz) for $1,399. At present the Xeons with the greatest number of cores top out at 24 cores with a base speed of 2.2GHz and a maximum Turbo of 3.4GHz. Moving beyond that, there's a drop of several hundred MHz at 13-16 core loads, and then the i9-7980XE drops a final 100MHz for 17-18 core loads.

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All of these new chips are based on the same Skylake-X refresh with a diminished amount of L3, but significantly more L2 per CPU core.

Essentially, both Intel and AMD can claim the title of fastest processor.

Intel says that content creators will notice a 20% improvement in performance while creating virtual reality content, and 4K video editing will be 30% faster. And against the 16-core/32-thread Core i9-7960X ($1,699), it's still $700 less expensive. Intel will have a 12-core version of the new Intel Core X-series processor available on August 28 followed by 14- to 18-core models starting September 25.

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