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TekSpek CPUs
Intel Core i9 7980XE Processor

Intel Core i9 7980XE Processor

Date issued:

Intel has been busy this summer. Not only is it soon to introduce a range of new CPUs based on the 8th Generation Core architecture, the chip giant has been revamping the high-end desktop scene by releasing some serious CPU muscle in the form of the Core i9 chips.

Intel i9 X-Series

The arrival of Core i9 signals a major release in the Intel road map, and the signs are good for enthusiasts who demand extreme hardware at any cost. At the top of the range sits the Core i9-7980XE, an all-singing, all-dancing part touting 18 cores and 36 threads at a jaw-dropping cost of $1,999.

It is one of five Core i9 chips to grace the all-new Intel X299 platform, so let's take a good look at what makes them tick from a specification point of view.

Intel Core X-Series

Model Cores /

Skylake-X processors

Core i9-7980XE 18 / 36 24.75 2.6 4.2 3.4 4.4 44 Quad DDR4-2666 165 2066 $1,999
Core i9-7960X 16 / 32 22 2.8 4.2 3.6 4.4 44 Quad DDR4-2666 165 2066 $1,699
Core i9-7940X 14 / 28 19.25 3.1 4.3 3.8 4.4 44 Quad DDR4-2666 165 2066 $1,399
Core i9-7920X 12 / 24 16.5 2.9 4.3 3.8 4.4 44 Quad DDR4-2666 140 2066 $1,199
Core i9-7900X 10 / 20 13.75 3.3 4.3 4.0 4.5 44 Quad DDR4-2666 140 2066 $999
Core i7-7820X 8 / 16 11 3.6 4.3 4.0 4.5 28 Quad DDR4-2666 140 2066 $599
Core i7-7800X 6 / 12 8.25 3.5 4.0 4.0 - 28 Quad DDR4-2400 140 2066 $389

Kaby Lake-X processors

Core i7-7740X 4 / 8 8 4.3 4.5 4.5 - 16 Dual DDR4-2666 112 2066 $339
Core i5-7640X 4 / 4 6 4.0 4.2 4.0 - 16 Dual DDR4-2666 112 2066 $242

The X299 platform is home to a gaggle of processors based on the LGA2066 package, and these can be either the Core i9 and Core i7 on the Skylake-X and Kaby Lake architectures, respectively.

It is clear that the Core i9-7980XE is an incredibly powerful processor. Never before has the consumer desktop market seen a processor that fits in so many cores and, via hyperthreading technology, threads into one package. What this means is that it is a fantastic choice for professional digital content creators and anyone whose applications scale well with more cores at their disposal.

Intel has been able to achieve all of this extra performance without sacrificing power too much. The Core i9-7980XE uses a maximum of 165W, and temperatures can be effectively kept in check by a premium air-cooled heatsink or entry-level watercooling.

The Core i9 is both more muscular and smarter. Intel has thought long and hard over how best to improve performance without power spiralling out of control. Technically speaking, the L2 cache is increased from 256KB to 1MB per core, while L3 cache is shifted from inclusive to non-inclusive and reduced in size. This should aid performance in certain workloads, and Skylake-X processors, such as the Core i9-7980XE, also introduce support for the AVX-512 instruction set - a first for a consumer Intel CPU.


Intel i9 X-Series Cinebench

Performance benchmarks from leading review sites position the Core i9-7980XE as the new king of the hill, beating out the rival AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X when it comes to applications that can truly stretch the considerable muscles of these high-end desktop CPUs.

Being able to run at an all-core 3.4GHz is impressive enough for an 18-core chip, but testing shows that, with some simple overclocking, the Core i9-7980XE can sail past 4GHz by raising the operating voltage by only a small margin. And such overclocking is able to boost the class-leading scores by another 20 per cent or so. It took a long, long time for a single desktop processor to break the 1,000-mark barrier in the professional Cinebench application; an overclocked Core i9-7980XE hits 4,000 marks with ease.

The massively multi-core desktop processor battle has been joined in earnest in 2017. AMD came in swinging with its 16-core, 32-thread Ryzen Threadripper. Intel takes the performance crown back with an 18-core, 36-thread champion based on Skylake-X technology.


The Intel Core X-Series, spearheaded by the Core i9-7980XE, sets a new benchmark for desktop consumer PCs by offering single- and multi-threaded excellence in a 14nm package. Performance supremacy continues to attract a premium - Intel Core X isn't as competitively priced as AMD Ryzen or Ryzen Threadripper - yet for those who won't accept second best, Core i9 7980XE is now the go-to solution for enthusiasts and power users alike.

Intel i9 X-Series Box

The full range of Intel Core i9 X-Series processors is available to purchase at Scan Computers.