Unfortunately, we’re hearing some not-so-good news about the latter processor for those that have $1,999 to blow. A representative for ASUS provided this statement when asked about the usefulness of obtaining an 18-core processor at the enthusiast level:
The 18-core CPUs are not scheduled until later this year. Won't have them for a while. Either way, unless you're using the rig for rendering or encoding to make a living, no need.
We already knew that we would likely be waiting a while before seeing the 12-, 14-, 16- and 18-core processors arrive in the retail channel. Even though all of the other processors in the new Core X-Series had concrete details regarding their base/turbo clock frequencies, L3 cache counts, PCIe lanes, memory support and TDP, those same specs for the four most exclusive members of the Core i9 family remain a mystery.
We don’t know if this late-2017 availability will extend to the 12-, 14- and 16-core chips, but it stands to reason that they too will have a staggered rollout, at least compared to the lesser members of the Core X-Series processors, like Core i9-7900X. The Core i9-7900X has already found its way on to the market, as the processor recently claimed two Cinebench world records for a 10-core processor.
Regardless of when Intel’s top four Core i9 SKUs arrive, it will likely give AMD an opportunity — at least for a few months — to throw its weight around and dominate CPU benchmarks. The company’s Ryzen 9 “Threadripper” family will launch this summer, and will be headlined by the 16-core, 32-thread Ryzen 9 1998X. That processor will reportedly feature a base clock of 3.5GHz and a boost clock of 3.8GHz. It will also have a TDP of 155 watts and will support DDR4-3200 memory.
AMD just reduced prices on its newish Ryzen 7 family of processors, and we have the feeling that the Ryzen 9 lineup will be attractively priced compared to the Core X-Series. Let the multi-core processor games begin!