IN­TEL IS PLAY­ING THE SAME GAME

HWM (Malaysia) - - FEATURE -

The fastest In­tel Core X pro­ces­sor you can buy now is the 12-core/24-thread In­tel Core i9-7920X, and since AMD an­nounced in May that Thread­rip­per was com­ing, the two have locked horns in a back-and-forth bat­tle to up­stage the other.

Just days be­fore Thread­rip­per was slated to hit the shelves on Au­gust 10, In­tel un­wrapped the re­main­der of its ul­tra-en­thu­si­ast Core i9 fam­ily, re­veal­ing de­tailed spec­i­fi­ca­tions and a Septem­ber 25 avail­abil­ity date.

That came as a bit of a sur­prise, see­ing as how the lack of de­tail dur­ing the ini­tial Core X launch had some spec­u­lat­ing that we wouldn’t even see the 18-core Core i97980XE un­til 2018. There was also talk that Thread­rip­per had taken In­tel by sur­prise, and the chip­maker was scram­bling to re­spond.

How­ever, it turns out that In­tel ac­tu­ally de­cided to make the mon­strous 18-core chip as early as Au­gust 2016, spurred on by the sur­pris­ing suc­cess of the 10-core Broad­well-E Core i7-6950X. It might be a niche au­di­ence that pur­sues any­thing above four cores, but it clearly was an au­di­ence worth cater­ing to.

Af­ter all, when smart­phones and tablets are be­com­ing more pow­er­ful and in­creas­ingly ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing out ba­sic com­put­ing tasks for most peo­ple, desk­top chips need to try harder to find their own rai­son d’être.

That rea­son may turn out to be the ul­tra­en­thu­si­ast mar­ket, which de­mands a level of per­for­mance and par­al­lel pro­cess­ing that mo­bile chips won’t be touch­ing any time soon.

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