Intel Core i9-7980XE And Core i9-7960X Review: Intel Attacks AMD Threadripper

Intel Core i9-7980XE And i9-7960X - The Verdict

Performance Summary: The Intel Core i9-7980XE and Core i9-7960X are multi-threaded beasts. In most of the multi-threaded tests we ran, these two processors posted the highest scores we have witnessed to date. The Core i9-7980XE and Core i9-7960X, however, also offer relatively strong single-threaded performance, that clearly outpaces AMD’s Ryzen processors. Power consumption was surprisingly good as well and only marginally higher than the 10-core Core i9-7900X. In lightly-threaded workloads, however, that don’t necessarily leverage all of the compute resources and bandwidth available with these ultra-high-end CPUs, higher-clocked processors based on newer micro-architectures (like Kaby Lake) will still pull out in front. We also saw some anomalous results in a couple of tests (Jetstream, 3DMark Physics, etc.), but we suspect those will be addressed with future firmware, driver, and Windows updates.

core i9 chips
Intel Core i9-7980XE And Core i9-7960X Processors -- Find Them At Amazon

We can’t wrap up this article without referencing AMD’s impressive Threadripper processors. Whether it’s publicly acknowledged or not, the stealthy nature of Threadripper’s development, and its subsequent surprise arrival, forced Intel to react and bring out products like the ones we have shown you here. If the 16-core / 32-thread Threadripper processors hadn’t been released, it’s possible the Core X Series would have topped out at the 10-core Core i9-7900X, which would be a logical successor to the previous generation 10-core Core i7-6950X. If Threadripper didn’t exist, pricing on Intel’s latest HEDT CPU line-up would probably have been different as well. If you recall, the Core i7-6950X debuted at over $1,700, whereas the newer Core i9-7900X arrived at $999.

Intel often takes flack for being a lumbering giant that can’t react fast enough to potential threats, and that may be true in some markets. However, in terms of desktop CPU technology, it reacted well to Threadripper and has released some ultra-powerful desktop processors that outpace Threadripper in a number of key workloads. Pricing, however, is a concern. In light of AMD’s flagship 16-core Threadripper 1950X which is available for $999, the $1,999 price tag on the Core i9-7980XE seems out of line. Yes, the Core i9-7980XE is arguably the fastest high-end desktop processor for the majority of workloads today, but its advantages don’t necessarily justify asking for double the price. The same can be said for the $1,699 Core i9-7960X – yes, it’s fast, but it’s also pricey. Enthusiasts that want nothing but the best have always been asked to pay a premium, but Intel is definitely pushing the limit with this launch and we’ll have to see how consumers react.

Stepping back for a moment, as long-time PC enthusiasts, we are psyched by how the desktop CPU market has exploded with excitement over the last few months. Between Ryzen, Threadripper, the Core X series, the impending Intel 8th Gen Core processors, and their associated platforms, there has never been a better time to be a computing enthusiast. The systems DIY enthusiasts are able to build today are on another level in comparison to what was available not too long ago. If you’re teetering on the idea of a desktop upgrade, just do it – you won’t be sorry.

 hot  not
  • Killer Multi-Threaded Performance
  • Good Power Consumption
  • Insane Performance When Overclocked
  • Better Single-Thread Performance Then Ryzen
  • Extremely Expensive
  • Some Anomalous Benchmark Results

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