Intel Core i9-7980XE 18-Core Processor Review

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Final Thoughts and Conclusions

The Intel Core i9-7980XE processor for the Intel X299 LGA2066 platform is clearly aimed at someone that needs a multi-threading machine. This is the first 18-core consumer desktop processor! We saw some of the highest results in our multi-threaded tests with this processor and it beat AMD’s flagship Threadripper 1950X in many benchmarks. Overclocking performance on the Core i9-7980XE was jaw dropping to say the least. We didn’t expect to get into Windows at 5GHz let alone run benchmarks at 4.9GHz, so being able to get that high with an off the shelf AIO liquid cooler was awesome. Power consumption in stock form was surprisingly good, but when you overclock the 7980XE the power efficiency goes out the window and this baby sucks down power better than any processor we’ve ever seen before.

Intel Core i9-7900X Retail Box Processor

We’ve never talked about price per core before when it comes to CPU reviews, but with this many cores it might be fun to look at.

Intel Core i7-7700K 4-core = $299 ($74.75 per core)
Intel Core i9-7900X 10-core  = $963 ($96.30 per core)
Intel Core i9-7980XE 18-core = $1999 ($111.05 per core)
AMD Threadripper 1950X 16-core = $999 ($62.44 per core)

The Intel Core i9-7980XE at two thousand dollars is going to be out of reach for many, but when you look at it on a per core basis the price isn’t that bad. The C0re i9-7980XE comes out cost just over $111 per core, a much higher cost than AMD’s just over $62 per core cost on the Threadripper 1950X processor. Intel also offers the Core i9-7920X (12-core, 24-thread at $1,199), the Core i9-7940X (14-core, 28-thread at $1,399) and Core i9-7960X (16-core, 32-thread at $1,699) for those that aren’t looking to spend that much, but still want a high core count Skylake-X processor.

Intel Core-X Series Specifications
Processor Cores/ Threads L3 Cache PCIe Lanes Base Clock Turbo Clock 2.0 Turbo Clock 3.0 Price
Core i9-7980XE
18C/36T
24.75 MB 44 2.6 GHz 4.2 GHz 4.4 GHz $1,999
Core i9-7960X
16C/32T
22 MB 44 2.8 GHz 4.2 GHz 4.4 GHz $1,699
Core i9-7940X
14C/28T
19.25 MB 44 3.1 GHz 4.3 GHz 4.4 GHz $1,399
Core i9-7920X
12C/24T
16.5 MB
44
2.9 GHz 4.3 GHz 4.4 GHz $1199
Core i9-7900X
10C/20T
13.75 MB
44
3.3 GHz
4.3 GHz
4.5 GHz
$999
Core i9-7820X
8C/16T
11 MB
28
3.6 GHz
4.3 GHz
4.5 GHz
$599
Core i9-7800X
6C/12T
8.25 MB
28
3.5 GHz
4.0 GHz
N/A $389
Core i7-7740K
4C/8T
8 MB
16
4.3 GHz
4.5 GHz
N/A $339
Core i5-7640K
4C/4T
6 MB
16
4.0 GHz
4.2 GHz
N/A $242

Intel set out to recapture the performance lead for the high-end desktop consumer market and they were able to do that in some the multi-threaded benchmarks in our test suite. The Core i9-7980XE didn’t capture all the top spots though and that hurts when the Threadripper 1950X from AMD is $1000 less. Intel and AMD have most certainly made the multi-threaded benchmarks fun again and the competition between AMD and Intel will end up helping consumers at the end of the day. If you can afford one of the high core count Skylake-X processors we certainly recommend giving one a try. Stock the 7980XE is pretty quick, but the numbers we got with it overclocked are insane.

LR Recommended Award

Legit Bottom Line: The Intel Core i9-7980XE processor looks good and if you are a core crazy enthusiast with deep pockets this will be a fun processor to have!

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  • Flatlander

    AMD Threadripper 1950X 16-core = $999 ($31.22 per core)

    Shouldn’t it be $62.43 per core?

    • James Patrick Michael Corrao

      Yeah, looks like they did $/Thread instead by accident.

  • Zero’clock Gaming

    that power consumption when overclocked is just madness, really dont see why Intel released this, does not seem to really compete with the 1950x to me.

  • Michal Šimonek

    u found golden sample man, 4.9 GHz R15 run…crazy.

  • Dorian Kunch

    Thanks Nate for the EXTREMELY thorough review. informative and entertaining. AND, at 860 watts, this may actually be the first true egg fryer???

    • Coach

      New benchmark: Can Intel’s new CPU dethrone FX-9590 in the Egg-fry-bench? 😀

  • DoctorT

    Your $/core values for the 7980x are wrong (in the table and the write up) – they should say $111.11/core (2000/18) instead of $55.52/core (1000/18).

    On a different note – wow 850W pulled on an overclock! 0_0 Intel is really loosing its efficiency.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Updated! Not used to writing about $1999 processors yet! 🙂 Yeah, I about died when I saw over 860 Watts on Keyshot.