Intel Core i9-9980XE CPU Review: Supercharged, Many-Core Skylake-X

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Intel Core i9-9980XE - Our Summary And Verdict

Performance Summary: The Core i9-9980XE is easily the fastest many-core desktop processor Intel has released to date. It outpaced all previous-gen Intel processors and AMD Threadripper X series processors in all of the heavily threaded applications we tested. The 18-core Core i9-9980XE typically trailed the 24 and 32 core AMD Threadripper WX series processors in those same tests, however. The Core i9-9980XE also offered relatively strong single-threaded performance, that’s clearly superior to any AMD Ryzen processor. Only the higher-clocked, Coffee Lake-based Core processors beat out the 9980XE in the lightly threaded tests. The Core i9-9980XE also overclocked relatively well (much better than our 7980XE did) and power consumption, while significantly higher than the previous-gen Core i9-7980XE due to the 9980XE’s higher clocks, is not out of line with expectations, and came in lower than the Threadripper WX CPUs.

core i9 box
Intel 9th Generation Core X Series Processors -- Find Them At Amazon

Intel's 9th Generation Core X series’ updated 14nm++ manufacturing process, solder thermal interface material, and increased base and Turbo Boost frequencies have all paid dividends. Versus the previous-gen Core i9-7980XE, which features the very same architecture, core, and cache configuration, the Core i9-9980XE is cooler, faster, and more overclockable. That’s all good stuff. Pricing, however, is a concern. In light of AMD’s sub-$900 16-core Threadripper 2950X and $1,300 Threadripper 2970WX, the $1,979 price tag on the Core i9-9980XE is ambitious to say the least. All things considered, we think it’s fair to say the Core i9-9980XE offers a more well-rounded experience versus a Threadripper WX series processor, due to Intel’s higher IPC, strong multi-threaded performance, and more forgiving memory setup, but we’re not sure a 54% higher asking price than the 2970WX and over 2X the asking price of a Threadripper 2950X will be justifiable by many consumers in the current HEDT CPU landscape. The Core i9-9980XE is a beast of a processor, and it’s technically launching with a slightly lower price than the Core i9-7980XE it’s replacing, but we wish Intel was a little more aggressive on the pricing front.

In the end, Intel enthusiasts with deep pockets will likely be pleased that the company’s got a new flagship that’s faster and more overclockable than the last one. And we’re still excited that the competition in the desktop CPU market shows no sign of letting up. As we close in on our 20 year anniversary here at HotHardware, it’s great to see the verve exhibited by Intel and AMD and look forward to what the future holds.

 hot  not
  • Strong Multi-Threaded Performance
  • Easy Overclocking
  • Better Single-Thread Perf Than Ryzen
  • Extremely Pricey
  • Increased Power Consumption
  • Can't Catch The "Cheaper" AMD 2990WX In MT Workloads

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