Ever since Intel launched their lineup of “Core” processors, the standing joke was whether the Core i9 would be launched. For those of you not getting the joke, the Intel Core series lineup of processors consisted of the Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 models. These scaled up in terms of performance and core-count as well as thread count. Simply put, this means that a Core i7 would be a lot more powerful when it comes to doing multiple things at the same time when compared to a Core i3.
Meet the Intel Core X Line up of Processors
Recently at Computex Taipei, Intel announced their Core X lineup of Processors. These consist of Core i5 and Core i7 models (there’s no Core i3, sadly). In addition, Intel actually went ahead and launched the Core i9 Processor lineup as well.
What’s so special about the Intel Core X lineup?
Well, for starters, it sounds cool when you say it. But apart from that, the Intel Core X lineup is pretty much an updated version of Intel’s sixth generation Skylake platform now called Skylake X. However, two quad core models which are the the Core i5-7640X and the Core i7-7740X are built on Kaby Lake X.
You’ll also need Intel’s new X299 motherboard chipset to run these processors. the X299 is the successor to Intel’s X99 platform. The X in this platform denotes that it is a HEDT or High End Desktop. While this is not necessarily aimed at industrial and enterprise use, people can use it as such as well. Whilst X99 chipset boards used the LGA 2011-3 socket, the new X299 chipset boards will use the LGA 2066 socket. The socket will support DDR4 memory with a base RAM speed of 2666Mhz with faster speeds being achievable via overclocking.
As you can see from the image, the Intel Core X lineup starts from the Core i5-7640X which is a 4-core/4-thread processor clocked at 4.0Ghz, priced at USD 242. The Core i7 lineup begins at the Core i7-7740X which is a 4-core/8-thread processor clocked at 4.3Ghz and priced at USD 339 and goes upto the Core i7-7820X which is a 8-core/16 thread processor clocked at 3.6GHz, priced at USD 599.
This is where things get interesting.
Right after the Core i7 models, you get the Core i9-7900X which is a 10-core/20-thread processor clocked at 3.3Ghz, priced at a steep USD 999. But wait, there’s more. The king of the hill (so far) is Intel’s Core i9-7980XE. An 18-core, 36-thread behemoth. We don’t know what it’s base clock is or what memory speeds it will support as Intel is yet to release this information. We DO know that the Core i9-7980XE will be priced at a whopping USD 1,999.
Who will make use of the Intel Core X lineup?
Well, basically anyone can use these processors, but they are primarily aimed at gamers playing the latest games at 4K and are also streaming their game play and also those who work with 4K VR content. If you’re into heavy duty video editing and rendering, then you can use the Core X lineup to handle multiple, CPU-intensive tasks, all simultaneously. This includes editing videos, rendering 3D effects, composing and adding soundtracks as well.
Thus far, a Core i9-7900X has been successfully overclocked To 5.7GHz. Using liquid nitrogen, Elmore, a Swedish overclocker known for breaking benchmarks, successfully overclocked this processor and proceeded to pretty much outdo the current world record benchmark for Cinebench, which is a real-world benchmark that stresses your PC’s performance capabilities.
What’s the catch?
Well, there’s no catch per se. But there are a few points that you’d have to take into account. For starters, you’ll have to go for a new platform AKA the X299 motherboard. If you look at the current market for an X99 based motherboard which is the older generation of the X299, these motherboards start off at around the LKR 40,000 price range. Processors for this start off at around LKR 70,000/- So you’re looking at a minimum of around LKR 80,000/- for just these two components if you’re going with the Core X series. That’s with the Core i5-7640X.
In addition, while processors such as the Core i9-7980XE offer insane performance in terms of cores and threads, they are also insanely expensive. If you’re thinking of overclocking something like a Intel i9-7900X, you’ll also have to get a separate cooler as these processors have a TDP of 140W which cannot be met with a conventional cooler. How much is this separate cooler? Well, the TS13X by Intel retails for around USD 100. It does look pretty but comes at a price as well.
Furthermore, despite Intel stating that the Intel Core i9 will be upto 15% faster than the former Broadwell-E platform, Intel’s eighth gen Coffee-Lake series of CPUs are already being teased by Intel. According to Intel, these will be 30% faster than the current 7th-generation Skylake chips.
If you still want it..
If you’ve read all this and still want to go for a Intel Core X build, and you’re adamant on getting a new Core i9, then The first Intel Core i9 CPUs will be available for purchase from June (aka this month). The higher end models including the jaw dropping Core i9-7980XE will be hopefully available in in August.