Intel Core X-Series Processor Arrive

Intel has finally taken wraps off its long-awaited Core X-Series processors and accompanying X299 chipset, which means high-end desktop computing is going to be getting a big horsepower injection! The Intel Core X-series processor family introduces Intel’s first teraflop desktop CPUs, the entirely new Intel Core i9 processor, and the first consumer desktop CPU with 18 cores and 36 threads. This is by far the fastest desktop processor every released, but Intel is actually introducing a total of 9 processors for the new 'Basin Falls' X299 platform ranging in price from $242 for a quad-core Intel Core i5-7640X all the way up to $1,999 for the Intel Core i9-7980XE 18-core monster. Intel X-Series Processors The new Intel Core X-Series used the brand new LGA2066 socket and consists of a mixture of ‘Skylake-X’ and ‘Kaby Lake-X’ CPUs. Since this is a new desktop CPU socket, it means that you'll need an ‘Basin Falls’ X299 HEDT (High-End Desktop) platform to run any of these new processors. Intel’s new X299 platform and raises the bar for CPU performance with support of up to 18 cores, support for up to 44 lanes of PCIe 3.0 directly connected to the CPU, and Intel Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0. When it comes to memory support, the X299 platform supports up to 128GB of quad-channel DDR4 memory for an incredibly potent and flexible platform. Intel X-Series Processor X299 Platform Who needs a $1,999 processor with 18-cores and 36-threads like the Intel Core i9-7980XE for 1080P gaming? No one on a budget, but that really isn't the target audience for the Intel Core X series. Intel is suggesting the Core X-series for 12 gaming, 4K/12K VR gaming and live streaming, 360 degree 4K video editing, music creation with over 16 tracks and lastly those that do 3D modeling and animation. It also is coming to compete with AMD's new brand of processors called ThreadRipper that have up to 32 cores and will be coming out this summer as well. AMD is entering the HEDT market for the first time in years and the Threadripper is going to bring a solution derived off AMD's EPYC server processors just like Intel does with Xeon server processors. We all saw the AMD versus Intel battle in this segment coming, but it's actually here now! Intel Core Series Target Audience Here is the table of Intel's nine is processors that make up the Core X-Series processor family. The bottom two parts (Intel Core i5-7640X and Core i7-7740X) are based on Kaby Lake-X while all the rest are Skylake-X processors. Intel X Series Processor Family   The first thing you might notice is that Intel isn't revealing everything today.  Intel is only revealing clock speeds and details on the 4-core to 10-core parts and keeping the 12, 14,16, and 18-core parts a secret until mid June. As we already mentioned the Intel Core i9-7980XE is the flagship processor with 18c/36t for $1999, but don't let that price freak you out. Take a look at the Intel Core i9-7900X processor real fast. The Intel Core i9-7900X has 10 cores, 20 threads with 44 PCIe 3.0 lanes and clock speeds of up to 4.5GHz for $999.  Less than one year ago we saw Intel introduce the Intel Core i7-6950X with 10 cores, 20 threads, 40 PCIe 3.0 lanes and clock speeds of 3.5 GHz for $1,723. Intel has slashed the price of their 10-core processor by $724! So, you might get hung up on the fact that there is a $1,999 desktop processor now, but when you take a second look pricing has actually improved over last year thanks to pressure in this market space from AMD. All of the processors are interesting, but another standout would be the Intel Core i7-7800X at $389. This processor has 6 cores, 12 threads, a 3.5GHz base clock, 4.0GHz Turbo Boost 3.0 clock, 28 PCIe lanes and quad-channel DDR4 2666MHz support. That isn't a bad price as it is around $50 more than the current Intel Core i7-7700K quad-core processor and $10 less than the MSRP of the AMD Ryzen 7 1700X processor. A good number of high-end gamers are willing to spend $400 on a processor, so we see this processor being the most popular as to go up to the Core i9-7820X 8-core/16-thread processor will cost you over $210 more. Let's take a look at some of the new Intel technologies for the unlocked Intel Core X-Series Processor Family!

Intel Core i9 Extreme Edition Processor Details

The Intel Core i9 Extreme Edition Processor series supports new features like Intel AVX-512 and improved Intel Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 that was first seen on the Broadwell-E processor series. Intel Core i9 Processor Intel improved Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 by utilizing the two best cores on the processor and this means that you get a performance improvement in both single- and dual-core applications now. Two is obviously better than one, so Skylake-X processors will run at higher clock speeds at single- and dual-core workloads than ever before. Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0 All Intel Core X-Series processors are unlocked and Intel is continuing to embrace the overclocking community with per-core overclocking, per-core voltage adjustments and allowing for quad-channel DDT4 memory clocking over 2666MHz. The new overclocking features for the Basin Falls platform would be Intel Advanced Vector Extension-512 (AVX-512) ratio offset, Memory controller trim voltage control and PEG/DMI overclocking. Intel is also still offering the Peformance Tuning Protection Plan for those that are willing to pay extra to warranty their processor and will be updating the Intel XTU utility to support this platform. Intel Core X-Series Overclocking Both the Intel Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors are built using the 14nm process and we have been told that on Skylake-X there is 1MB of cache per core dedicated and 1.375 MB of cache per core shared. This is an interesting change over Broadwell-E where each core had 256KB of cache per core dedicated and 2.5 MB of cache shared. Intel Skylake-X die When it comes to power consumption the Intel Core i9-7980XE has a TDP of 165 Watts and water cooling is required. In fact water cooling is believed to be required on all processors once you get up to 12-cores on the Intel Core i9-7920X. Intel Skylake-X Processor Intel X299 boards should be coming out at the same time as Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors hit store shelves and from what we have seen so far they look pretty damn good. The Intel X299 chipset offers up to 24 PCIe 3.0 lanes versus just the 8 lanes of PCIe 2.0 that was on the Intel X99 chipset. This is a huge improvement and with 24 PCIe 3.0 lanes on the chipset and up to 44 on the Skylake-X processor it means you can have up to 68 PCIe 3.0 lanes on this platform for insane I/O capabilities. PCIe lanes left unused by graphics cards can be devoted to storage with Intel VROC technology, which combines multiple M.2 SSDs in a bootable RAID array connected directly to the CPU. An unknown number of PCIe drives can run in parallel to deliver staggering throughput and fast access for system drives. The Intel X299 platform also support Intel’s Optane Memory, which provides a solid-state cache to accelerate other storage devices. Intel X299 Chipset Final Thoughts AMD fired off some shots at Intel with Ryzen 7 and now Threadripper, but Intel has clearly responded with what looks like a solid platform with impressive processors. This sets the stage for a very interesting summer if you are looking for a new high-end desktop computer. We can't wait to get our hands on some samples to see how they perform!
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
TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD $1,999
Core i9-7960X
16C/32T
TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD $1,699
Core i9-7940X
14C/28T
TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD $1,399
Core i9-7920X
12C/24T
TBD
TBD
TBD TBD TBD $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