Intel Core i9-7900X And Core i7-7740X - The Preliminary Verdict
Performance Summary: Unfortunately, we don’t have a complete set of benchmark numbers to share with you here, due to some unexpected shipping issues, but the scores and overclocking data we were able to obtain paint a fairly clear picture. Rest assured, we will be updating this article with more full-system and gaming tests as soon as possible.
The Intel Core i9-7900X is easily the most powerful desktop processor we have tested to date. Its combination of 10-cores, with relatively high clocks, and larger L2 cache propel it into the lead in all of the multi-threaded benchmarks. The Core i7-7900X’s support of Turbo Boost Max 3 on two cores at up to 4.5GHz also make it one of the better performers in single- or lightly-threaded workloads. The chip is also a decent overclocker, though you’ll need to take the additional power and thermal output into consideration to keep things stable and manage temps.
The Intel Core i7-7740X isn’t quite in the same category, but it a good performer nonetheless. This processor’s performance is right on par with the Core i7-7700K. With only four cores, it won’t be the same kind of multi-threaded beast as the Core i9-7900X, but it is a speedy CPU in its own right and is a good entry point for someone considering Intel’s high-end desktop platform. Our chip was also a heck of an overclocker, so there’s plenty of additional performance to be had for those that like to tinker.
Both the Intel Core i9-7900X and Core i7-7740X are available for pre-order now, with prices of $999 and $339, respectively. The processors will start shipping on June 26.
With all that said, there are other high-end chips with up to 18 cores coming from Intel in the weeks and months ahead, but frequencies, cache and PCI Express lane configurations haven’t been revealed. Of course, AMD’s ThreadRipper processors are on the horizon as well. If a 16-core ThreadRipper arrives at a price lower than the Core i9-7900X and multi-threaded performance is as strong as many expect it to be, Intel may have to react with a different price scale for the initial Core X series processors – time will tell.
There are also some platform considerations to make with these new Intel processors, due to their differing PCI Express lane configurations. There are 16, 28, and 44-lane processors in the line-up at this point, which means the slot configurations on many X299 motherboards will behave differently, depending on which processor is installed. This probably won’t be an issue until you throw multiple GPUs and PCIe SSDs into the mix, but it is something to consider should you be interested in the platform.
Although the high-end desktop processor market will be in a constant state of flux over the next few months – which we think is an awesome development for enthusiasts – as it stands today, the Intel Core i7-7900X is the new king of the hill, even if only for a relatively short time. The 12-core Core i9-7920X is scheduled to ship in August and the i9-7940X, i9-7960X, and i9-7980X Extreme Edition are coming in October. The Core i9-7900X’s arrival at half the price of its previous-gen 10-core counterpart is also a welcome development. The Core i7-7740X, though not quite as extreme as a Core i9, is a strong performer in its own right and is a great overclocker as well. We look forward to getting our hands on the rest of the Core X line-up and eagerly anticipate AMD’s next move.