Intel Core i9-7900X Processor Review

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Intel Core i9-7900X – 10-Cores Refined

Today we’ll be taking a closer look at the Intel Core i9-7900X Skylake-X processor, which is Intel’s High-End Desktop Platform (HEDT) 10-core, 20-thread CPU (3.3 GHz base/4.5 GHz Boost/13.75MB Cache) that costs $1061.99 shipped over at Amazon. The Intel Core i9-7900X sounds like a powerhouse and it better be since it commands around $1,000 in the retail market. What is crazy though, is that price is over 40% less than the Intel Core i7-6950X processor cost. So, even at this rather high price point consumers are getting a better value than the previous processor generation!

Intel Core i9-7900X and X299 Features

A handful of 4- to 10-core Intel Core X-series processors have been available for purchase since June 26th, 2017 and it appears that they are doing well in the market despite the fact that Intel is only releasing the lower half of the product stack and has more versions with additional cores coming out later this year.

Intel Core i9-7900X Retail Box Processor

Intel Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X Desktop CPU Lineup

SKU Name Cores/Threads Base Clock Turbo Boost 2.0 Turbo Boost 3.0 L3 Cache TDP PCIe Lanes Price (USD)
Core i9-7900X 10/20 3.3 GHz 4.3 GHz 4.5 GHz 13.75 MB 140W 44 $1,061.99
Core i7-7820X 8/16 3.6 GHz 4.3 GHz 4.5 GHz 11 MB 140W 28 $678.75
Core i7-7800X 6/12 3.5 GHz 4.0 GHz N/A 8.25MB 140W 28 $479.00
Core i7-7740X 4/8 4.3 GHz 4.5 GHz N/A 8MB 112W 16 $347.97
Core i7-7640X 4/4 4.0 GHz 4.2 GHz N/A 6MB 112W 16 $239.89

The Intel Core i9-7900X looks pretty good on paper as it has higher clock speeds and the latest Intel Turbo Boost 3.0 technology that is being seen for the very first time on Skylake-X processors. Intel Turbo Boost 3.0 technology allows the two-best performing cores on any given processor to have single- or dual-core speeds of up to 4.5GHz. Intel tests each processor at the factory to determine the best two cores and then sets those cores to boost higher when needed.

Intel Core i9-7900X CPU-Z

If you happen to have one of these processors you can open up a free utility called CPU-Z to find the best two cores as they are highlighted in red. On our Intel Core i9-7900X processor the two best cores just happen to be core #3 and core #4. Knowing this information might come in handy when overclocking on a per core basis versus leaving all cores the same and just cranking up the CPU multiplier.

Intel Turbo Boost 3.0 on Core i9-7900X

The reduction of L3 cache and increase in the L2 cache might throw a few people off. The Intel engineering team thought it was time to re-balance the smart cache hierarchy on Skylake-X due to where they believe the software market is headed. Intel increased the L2 cache size from 256KB to 1MB per core while the L3 cache has gone from an inclusive to a non-inclusive format. This change will help some workloads while some might actually see a performance decrease. Intel Skylake-X desktop processors are the first to support the AVX-512 instruction set, so it is highly likely that these changes were brought to optimize for how those workloads are handled.

 

We’ll be taking a look at one of processors based on the Kaby Lake architecture in an upcoming article. Intel bringing out LGA2066 processors on both the Kaby Lake and Skylake architectures at the same time is an interesting move that has muddied up the product segmentation a little bit. The proble with the Kaby Lake based processors is they can’t take full advantage of the Intel X299 chipset. For example they don’t have support for quad-channel memory or have nearly as many PCIe lanes, so depending on the board you buy there will be ports, slots and headers that won’t work. The Intel Core i7-7740X and Core i5-7640X are basically the Core i7-7700K amd Core i5-7600K LG1151 desktop parts with the integrated graphics processor (IGP) removed and a higher TDP (91W originally bumped up to 112W now) on an LGA2066 part. This means they should overclock better, but the IPC performance is exactly the same. Buying a Kaby Lake-X processor along with an X299 board is going to be a more expensive investment, but it does give you an upgrade path to 18-core processors in the years to come. The Intel LGA2011 platform stuck around for many years and was solid, so it looks like Intel LGA2066 is going be as well.

Let’s move onto the benchmarks after looking at the test systems on the next page.

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  • Cyberguy

    Give me a Threadripper any day.

    • arterius2

      Get a real job and you can afford any of those things, kid.

      • Cyberguy

        But I can afford them. A thousand times over. And I don’t even need your “real job”. Why should buy something I don’t need? Grow up junior, you’re out of your league here.

        • arterius2

          Triggered, We got a burger flipper here. ^

        • Cyberguy

          Aww! Jelly much?
          My backyard grill has seen a lot of action this year. You wishing your mama taught you how to cook?

        • arterius2

          Yea go back to flipping those meat loafs, peon.

        • Cyberguy

          That’s it? That’s all you got? I’d hoped you were better at trolling that that.

          So sad. Come back when you get better at it junior.

  • Terry Perry

    These kind of things are for the RICH who can TAX Wright them OFF because it is for their Company or Business.The Average person can’t do that. We just get to drool and Dream some day. BUT NOW there is the 1800 8 core NO MORE Dreaming. See the Price of the M.B.what a Joke.

    • arterius2

      wtf are you on crack? Do you flip burgers for a living? $1000 is not for the rich, that is like couple days of salary, get a real job.

      • Cyberguy

        $1000 is way too much for this junk. Perhaps like you are fond of telling others, you should get a real job yourself if $1000 is all you get for a couple days work.

        Peasant.