PROCESSCORS

CORE I9

PC & Tech Authority - - NEWS -

I ntel re­leased a new set of pro­ces­sors that are so “ex­treme” it broke out the i9 brand­ing for the first time. Un­til now, In­tel’s Core pro­ces­sors have been streamed into the i3 (en­try-level), i5 (mid-range) and i7 (high-end) cat­e­gories. The new X-Se­ries pro­ces­sors, which run up to 18 cores and 36 threads, push per­for­mance beyond those.

The Core i9 has an ex­treme price to match its ex­treme per­for­mance, with the 18-core i9-7980XE chip cost­ing around US$2,000. “I think the 18-core beasts will be of in­ter­est to peo­ple who per­form reg­u­lar CPU-in­ten­sive tasks that are par­al­lel in na­ture, [such as] 3D de­sign and ren­der­ing, video edit­ing and ul­tra-high res­o­lu­tion pho­to­graphic work,” said Ben Miles of sys­tem builder Chill­blast. “Peo­ple us­ing vir­tual ma­chines for soft­ware test­ing will also find them use­ful.”

At the lower end of the scale, there are four-core pro­ces­sors based on the Kaby Lake-X ar­chi­tec­ture. The i5-7640X and the i7-7740X, for ex­am­ple, have a higher power en­ve­lope than pre­vi­ous Kaby Lake chips and use Socket 2066, which is part of the new X299 chipset.

In­tel has also changed the pro­ces­sors’ cache con­fig­u­ra­tion, with less shared me­mory across the cores but each core given 1MB of pri­vate Level 2 cache, up from 256KB in Broad­well-E and Sky­lake.

“I’d ex­pect the X299 chips to fit in above AMD’s Ryzen line up in per­for­mance, but also in price,” said Miles. “Ryzen re­mains the best op­tion for users that need a lot of mul­ti­core per­for­mance and can’t a©ord In­tel’s ‘pro­thu­si­ast’ plat­form prod­ucts.”

Mov­ing up­wards through the price range sees chips based on the older Sky­lake-X, which is ba­si­cally a desk­top ver­sion of the Sky­lake-SP core that’s planned for the next gen­er­a­tion of Xeon chips.

The range has a rolling re­lease, with lower-end hard­ware avail­able now. High-end flag­ship prod­ucts, with as-yet-un­known clock speeds, won’t ar­rive un­til Oc­to­ber. KEY SPECS Pro­ces­sors range from Core i5-7640X (14nm, quad core, quad thread, 6MB L3 cache, up to 4.2GHz, $359) to Core i97980XE (14nm, 18-core, 36 -thread, cache and clock speed TBC, Aus­tralian and NZ price TBC)

In­tel’s new “ex­treme” X-Se­ries i9 pro­ces­sors run up to 18 cores and 36 threads

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