Intel Cascade Lake-X 18-Core Pricing Slashed, Frequencies Boosted To Compete With Threadripper

core i9 x series
Intel wasn't kidding when it said that the new Cascade Lake-X processors (the foundation of the upcoming Core-X family) would offer anywhere from a 1.74x to 2.09x uplift in performance per dollar compared to their Skylake-X predecessors. Intel is slashing prices by roughly 50 percent with its upcoming Cascade Lake-X processors, putting its chips on more equal footing with AMD's second-generation Ryzen Threadripper processors.

For starters, the top dog in Intel's HEDT product stack, the Core i9-10980XE will now be priced at $979. To put this in perspective, the Core i9-9990XE carries an MSRP of $1,979. Given what we heard from Intel in a "leaked" memo about the threat that AMD poses to its business on many fronts, it's understandable that the company would price its processors to be more competitive. Here's what the Core X-series family now looks like at a high level, with pricing...

intel core x lineup and pricing

Intel Cascade Lake-X Pricing

Pricing for the Cascade Lake-X processors is listed below:

To put that in perspective, here is pricing for AMD's current generation Ryzen Threadripper parts:

  • Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX (32-cores/64-threads): $1,799
  • Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX (24-cores/48-threads): $1,299
  • Ryzen Threadripper 2950X (16-cores/32-threads):  $899
  • Ryzen Threadripper 2929X (12-cores/24-threads):  $649

New Features and the AMD Ryzen Threadripper Threat

The new Cascade Lake-X processors will reportedly launch alongside new X299X motherboards, but existing X299 boards will support the processors with a BIOS update. In addition to the reduced pricing, however, Intel is also adding a number of new features and capabilities.

intel core x features

Upcoming Core X processors will boost up to 4.8GHz, and updates made to Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0 will allow for two cores to achieve max boost simultaneously, not just one like curren-gen parts. DL Boost has been integrated into the processors and the total number of platform PCIe lanes will remain stable at 72 (processor + chipset) across all SKUs. Intel is also throwing in support for Wi-Fi 6 and multi-gig Ethernet, increasing maximum memory support to 256GB and increasing the peak frequency to DDR4-2933. 

Intel was planning on announcing the Cascade Lake-X line of processors on October 7th, but has since lifted the embargo due to the leak. The processors won't be available until a few weeks later, however.

Core i9 X Series

The real wildcard in all of this drama is the third-generation Ryzen Threadripper family. AMD has already announced that the first members of the family will launch in November, and will be headlined (at least initially) by a 24-core/48-thread SKU. According to previous rumors, however, there will be a 32-core/64-thread SKU as well

amd threadripper 3rd

Will AMD attempt to further undercut Intel's pricing with these Ryzen Threadripper 3000 processors? Given AMD's value-driven approach, this is quite possible -- at least with the 16-core and 12-core parts. The introduction of these new Threadripper processors also means that we'll see the still potent second-generation Threadripper processors drop in price as well. 

If you're in the market for a new HEDT processor for your workstation, hold your horses at least until next week to see what Intel has on the docket. And if you don't mind waiting another month or so, AMD's counterpunch might be worth waiting for as well.