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Intel Core X-Series Processors
You're not dreaming, folks: competition really has returned to the consumer CPU landscape. AMD is back in contention following the launch of its well-received Ryzen processors, and Intel is responding with a range of chips that form the eagerly anticipated Intel Core X-Series.
Described by the chip giant as its "most powerful, most scalable desktop processors to date," Core X is built on a mature 14nm process and encompasses an array of chips spread across the existing Core i5 and Core i7 product lines, as well as a handful of parts that debut under the all-new Core i9 umbrella.
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.
Exciting stuff, but said chip is one of four that won't arrive until later this year. For now, Intel is kicking off the Core X-Series range with five new parts ranging from $242 to $999 in price. Here's how the processors line up:
Intel Core X-Series
|Model||Cores / Threads||L3
|Memory Channels||Memory Support||TDP (W)||LGA Package||MSP|
|Skylake-X processor due later this year|
|Core i9-7980XE||18 / 36||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||2066||$1,999|
|Core i9-7960X||16 / 32||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||2066||$1,699|
|Core i9-7940X||14 / 28||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||2066||$1,399|
|Core i9-7920X||12 / 24||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||2066||$1,199|
|Skylake-X processors now available|
|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 now available|
|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|
Notice something interesting? Three of the five Core X-Series processors available now are based on the older Skylake architecture, while the other two are based on current Kaby Lake. This discrepancy has important ramifications, as while all five processors are presented in the same LGA2066 package, feature support varies significantly.
What is the LGA2066 package, might you ask? It's the latest in a long line of new Intel sockets and features on the X299 chipset that champions the Core X-Series product line. X299 platforms will boast support for quad-channel memory, but as highlighted in the table above, using Kaby Lake-X processors will limit memory to dual-channel configurations.
Reading between the lines, both the Intel Core i7-7740X and Core i5-7640X are for all intents and purposes existing Core i7-7700K and Core i5-7600K processors with their IGP disabled and TDP increased from 91W to 112W. This revision is said to allow for greater overclocking headroom, but it is clear that Skylake-X processors touting more cores and support for quad-channel memory are best positioned to take full advantage of the X299 platform.
Offering further intrigue, Skylake-X arrives with a "rebalanced smart cache hierarchy" that sees the size of L2 cache increased from 256KB to 1MB per core, while L3 cache is shifted from inclusive to non-inclusive. This should aid performance in certain workloads and Skylake-X processors also introduce support for the AVX-512 instruction set - a first for a consumer Intel CPU.
Performance benchmarks from leading review sites position the Core i9-7900X as a 140W powerhouse whose multi-core potential doesn't come at the expense of straight-line speed. Tests reveal that the chip is practically a match for the Core i7-7700K in a single-thread scenario.
A single fast core is good, but 10 cores able to simultaneously maintain 4GHz is even better. Performance in multi-threaded workloads is best-in-class, with the Core i9-7900X easily eclipsing the previous-generation Core i7-6950X.
Out-the-box performance is admirable, and enthusiasts can also take comfort in the fact that overclocking headroom is thought to be generous. Early reviews show the Core i9-7900X managing 4.7GHz across all cores with as little as 1.25V, and though heat output from the 140W chip may be a concern, compatibility with existing LGA2011v3 coolers ensures wide availability of high-end cooling solutions.
The Intel Core X-Series, spearheaded by the Core i9-7900X, 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 - yet for those who won't accept second best, Core X is now the go-to solution for enthusiasts and power users alike.
The full range of Intel Core X-Series processors is available to purchase right here at Scan Computers.