Intel Core i9-7980XE 18 Core Flagship Launches on 25th September Along With 16 and 14 Core Models – Core i9-7920X 12 Core CPU Launches on 28th August

Hassan Mujtaba

Intel has officially confirmed the final specifications and launch dates of their remaining Core X series processors, including the flagship Core i9-7980XE. The upcoming processors will be fully compatible with the X299 platform that launched back in June.

Intel Officially Confirms Core X "Skylake X" Final Specifications and Launch Dates - Core i9-7980XE Flagship Arrives on 25th September

While we have known mostly everything about the Intel Core X series processors that are part of the Skylake X family. There will be four new SKUs in the lineup and those will include the Core i9-7980XE, Core i9-7960X, Core i9-7940X and the Core i9-7920X. The first three will arrive on 25th of September while the last one will arrive on 28th of August. These processors will be arriving much later compared to AMD's 12 and 16 core Ryzen Threadripper processors. You can read the official press release from Intel below:

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Today, Intel is releasing the specifications for the 12- to 18-core processors: Intel Core i9-7920X, Intel Core i9-7940X, Intel Core i9-7960X and the Extreme Edition Intel Core i9-7980XE processors. Announced at Computex 2017, the Intel Core X-series processor family is the most powerful, scalable and accessible high-end desktop platform offered by Intel, designed to deliver the performance needed to meet extreme computing demands for virtual reality (VR), content creation, gaming and overclocking.

The new X-series processor family is the ultimate platform for content creators and gamers. Multitasking becomes extreme mega-tasking with simultaneous, compute-intensive, multithreaded workloads aligned in purpose, powered by up to 18 cores and 36 threads. And, with up to 68 PCIe 3.0 lanes on the platform, people have the ability to expand their systems with fast SSDs, up to four discrete GFX cards and ultrafast Thunderbolt 3 solutions.

Content creators can expect up to 20 percent better performance for VR content creation and up to 30 percent faster 4K video editing over the previous generation. This means less time waiting and more time designing new worlds and experiences. Gamers and enthusiasts will experience up to 30 percent faster extreme mega-tasking for gaming over the previous generation.

The 12-core Intel Core X-series processor will be available starting on Aug. 28, and 14- to 18-core Intel Core X-series processors will be available starting Sept. 25. 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. via Intel Newsroom

You must have read 68 PCIe lanes in the press release but do note that Intel is referring to both CPU and PCH PCIe lanes. These are not dedicated CPU lanes as the CPUs will still feature 44 PCIe lanes while 24 additional lanes would be provided through the X299 PCH.

Intel Core X Family Final Specifications:

The Core i9-7980XE: Intel’s Unbeatable Flagship ‘Skylake-X’ Processor with 18 Cores / 36 Threads – 2.6 GHz Base, 4.2 GHz Boost Clocks

Priced at $1999 MSRP (you are paying $111.11 per core) and featuring the Skylake-X architecture, this beast of a processor will be the ideal go-to processor for content creators that want the maximum throughput in terms of rendering performance. This is a processor that will almost certainly be overkill for gaming (unless you are running some sort of CaaS enterprise).

It has 18 cores and 36 threads which makes it an absolute juggernaut and beefier than AMD’s 16 core Ryzen Threadripper 1950X. Core clocks for the Core i9-7980XE are maintained at 2.6 GHz (base), 4.2 GHz (Turbo Boost 2.0) and 4.4 GHz (Turbo Boost Max 3.0). The CPU features an L2 Cache of 18 MB (1 MB per core) as well as an L3 cache of 24.75 MB. Quad channel DDR4 up to 2666 MHz is. The processor has a TDP of just 165W and is housed on the LGA 2066 socket like the rest of the lineup.

The Core i9-7960X: Intel’s 16 Cores / 32 Threads Offering That Will Take On AMD’s ThreadRipper Platform – 2.8 GHz Base, 4.2 GHz Boost Clocks

Priced at $1699 and featuring the Skylake-X architecture, the Core i9-7960X has the exact same core count as AMD’s highest end Threadripper CPU, the Ryzen Threadripper 1950X and that’s not a coincidence. Intel has put this particular CPU to take on the Threadripper platform in all its glory (and core count) and features the Turbo Max 3.0 technology just like its bigger brother.

Core clocks are maintained at 2.8 GHz (Base), 4.2 GHz (Turbo Boost 2.0) and 4.4 GHz (Turbo Boost Max 3.0). It will feature an L2 Cache of 16 MB (1MB per core) as well as an L3 cache of 22MB. Memory support is the same for all Skylake-X processors and remains quad channel DDR4-2666. The wattage is also locked at 165W.

The Intel Core i9-7940X: Intel’s 14 Cores / 28s Thread Processor For Serious Content Creators – 3.1 GHz Base and 4.3 GHz Boost

Priced at $1399 (you are paying $106.18 per core) and featuring the Skylake-X architecture, the Core i9-7940X is one of the higher end offerings of this lineup and aimed dead center at content creators. Since no gamer is going to need more than 8 cores (and even that is debatable!) this entire lineup is targeted at the content creation industry which needs to do compute intensive tasks.

The Core i9-7940X features a base clock of 3.1 GHz (Base), 4.3 GHz (Turbo Boost 2.0) and 4.4 GHz (Turbo Boost Max 3.0). It features 14 MB of L2 cache as well as 19.25 MB of L3 cache. All other specs including quad channel DDR4 and TDP (165W) remain the same.

The Intel Core i9-7920X: Intel’s 12 Cores / 24 Threads Processor for Content Creators – 2.9 GHz Base, 4.3 GHz Boost

Priced at $1189 (you are paying $99.083 per core) ) and featuring the Skylake-X architecture, the Core i9-7920X is one of the more value oriented offerings for VR and content creators. The Intel Core i9-7920X will be Intel’s first 12 core, high-end desktop processor. It won’t be the flag ship of the Core X family but it will still hold its own in terms of price and performance.

As far as specifications are concerned, the Intel Core i9-7920X packs 12 cores and 24 threads. The chip features a base clock of 2.9 GHz and a boost frequency of 4.0 GHz. We can tell that not all the cores will be operational at the 4.3 GHz boost clocks and 4.4 GHz for Turbo Boost Max 3.0. The chip will also feature Turbo Boost Max 3 technology which will boost even further. In terms of cache, the chip features a total of 16.5 MB of L3 and 12 MB of L2 cache. Combining the cache, we get 28.5 MB of total cache on board the chip that Intel terms as smart cache. The chip will support quad channel memory and feature 44 PCIe lanes for discrete GPU and NVMe based storage devices.

Intel Core X Series Processor Family Specifications:

CPU Namei9-7980XEi9-7960Xi9-7940Xi9-7920Xi9-7900Xi7-7820Xi7-7800Xi7-7740Xi5-7640X
CPU Process14nm+14nm+14nm+14nm+14nm+14nm+14nm+14nm+14nm+
Base Clock2.6 GHz2.8 GHz3.1 GHz2.9 GHz3.3 GHz3.6 GHz3.5 GHz4.3 GHz4.0 GHz
(Turbo Boost 2.0)4.2 GHz4.2 GHz4.3 GHz4.3 GHz4.3 GHz4.3 GHz4.0 GHz4.5 GHz4.2 GHz
(Turbo Boost Max 3.0)4.4 GHz4.4 GHz4.4 GHz4.4 GHz4.5 GHz4.5 GHzN/AN/AN/A
L3 Cache24.75 MB22 MB19.25 MB16.5 MB13.75 MB11 MB8.25 MB6 MB6 MB
L2 Cache18 MB16 MB14 MB12 MB10 MB8 MB6 MB4 MB4 MB
Memory Quad DDR4Quad DDR4Quad DDR4Quad DDR4Quad DDR4Quad DDR4Quad DDR4Dual DDR4Dual DDR4
PCIe Lanes444444444428281616
Socket TypeLGA 2066LGA 2066LGA 2066LGA 2066LGA 2066LGA 2066LGA 2066LGA 2066LGA 2066
Price$1999 US$1699 US$1399 US$1189 US$999 US$599 US$389 US$349$242

While it’s good to finally know the clock speeds, the frequencies themselves are much lower than what we would have called ideal for many workloads. As we have seen, the Ryzen Threadripper chips have higher clock speeds and similar core counts but Intel may be going a different approach with the Extreme Core Count models. Instead of focusing at serial workloads, Intel is going to aim and market these chips with as increased parallelism.

The reason is that Intel has already shown in their slides that these CPUs are designed for mega-tasking, a relatively new term in the industry that started with the Core i7-6950X. But mega-tasking is the future as people building such high-end systems with massive core counts aren’t just doing so for gaming. These PCs are better for content creation, development and heavy workloads and such tasks don’t require higher clock speeds as much as they take benefit of moderate yet stable clock speeds and Intel Core X can achieve a comparable clock speed to Threadripper in high core optimized workloads.

We have however seen some early performance results between Intel's 16 core and AMD's 16 core processors and most of those show Intel in fairly good lead. The difference is that you are paying a premium of $700 US for Intel's processor compared to AMD's.

For now, Ryzen Threadripper seems like a very powerful and cost effective price while with Intel, you seem to be paying more but getting a slightly good advantage in terms of single core boosts, lower TDPs and a more refined architecture.

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