Intel launches 9th-generation X-Series Core i7 and Core i9 processors, taking aim at AMD | Computing

Intel has launched a series of new ninth-generation Core processors aimed squarely at AMD’s Ryzen and Threadripper CPUs.

Headlining the launch, which was live-streamed globally, were seven new X-series Core processors intended to take on AMD’s Threadripper, which offers enthusiasts and workstation makers a high core count and even higher thread count.

At the same time, though, Intel also launched three new more mainstream CPUs targeted at AMD’s core Ryzen line-up, targeted at home users and PC gamers.

All the parts launched yesterday by Intel are also overclockable out of the box – a break with the recent past from Intel.

Intel Core i9 CPU

The Core -9900K targets AMD’s Ryzen 7 2700X CPU, which was launched earlier this year. It features a clock speed of 3.6GHz that, Intel claims, can boost all the way up to 5GHz on a single core, and offers eight cores and 16 threads. The Core -9900K is priced at $488, with Intel taking pre-orders now.

The Core -9700K is priced at $374. It will run at 3.6GHz, boosting to 4.9GHz on a single core. However, its eight cores don’t offer hyper-threading for the recommended price of $374. The Core i5-9600K doesn’t offer hyper-threading, either, on its six cores. It has a base clock speed of 3.7GHz and a single-core boost clock of 4.6GHz. It will cost $262.

CPU Base speed Boost speed Cores/threads TDP Smartcache PCIe 3.0 lanes Price
Core i9-9900K 3.6GHz 5GHz 8/16 95W 16MB Up to 40 $488
Core i7-9700K 3.6GHz 4.9GHz 8/8 95W 12MB Up to 40 $374
Core i5-9600K 3.7GHz 4.6GHz 6/6 95W 9MB Up to 40 $262

The X-series CPUs, meanwhile, will cost from $589 for the Core i7-9800X and go all the way up to $1,979 for the top-of-the-range Core i9-9980XE, but pound-for-pound the higher end parts won’t offer the same number of cores and threads as AMD’s Threadripper.

The top-of-the-range Core i9-9980XE will offer 18 cores and 36 threads, compared to the AMD Threadripper 2990WX’s 32 cores and 64 threads, its direct competitor in terms of price.

However, Intel also offered benchmarks indicating that its X-series CPUs will outperform their equivalent AMD Threadrippers. But Kevin Krewell, principal analyst with Tirias Research, suggested that it won’t be until the parts are in the hands of independent analysts and journalists that real-world performance comparisons can be made.

CPU Base speed Boost speed Turbo Max Cores/threads TDP Smartcache PCIe 3.0 lanes Price
Core i9-9980XE 3.0GHz 4.4GHz 4.5GHz 18/36 165W 24.75MB Up to 68 $1,979
Core i9-9960X 3.1GHz 4.4GHz 4.5GHz 16/32 165W 22MB Up to 68 $1,684
Core i9-9940X 3.3GHz 4.4GHz 4.5GHz 14/28 165W 19.25MB Up to 68 $1,387
Core i9-9920X 3.5GHz 4.4GHz 4.5GHz 12/24 165W 19.25MB Up to 68 $1,189
Core i9-9900X 3.5GHz 4.4GHz 4.5GHz 10/20 165W 19.25MB Up to 68 $989
Core i9-9820X 3.3GHz 4.1GHz 4.2GHz 10/20 165W 16.5MB Up to 68 $889
Core i7-9800X 3.8GHz 4.4GHz 4.5GHz 8/16 165W 16.5MB Up to 68 $589

And the parts could quickly be superceded when AMD unveils its 7nm parts in January, with Intel also expected to announce parts running on its much delayed 10nm process in the first half of 2019.

At the launch, Intel also announced the Xeon W-3175X CPU, a 28-core workstation processor for compute intensive workloads and applications that will ship from December. The unlocked CPU is intended for architectural and industrial design, and content creation professionals.

The hyper-threaded Xeon W-3175X will offer 56 threads, provide 38.5MB Smart Cache, and support up to 512GB of six-channel DDR4 memory.

In addition to offering all the CPUs unlocked and overclockable – a feature Intel only used to offer on a few parts when it was unencumbered by robust competition from AMD – Intel has also shifted back to soldering its heat-spreaders to the CPU die.

In a cost-cutting measure since 2012, Intel had used paste, but users complained that paste wasn’t as effective as soldering in dissipating the heat generated by the CPU. The new CPUs, though, will use solder thermal-interface material (STIM), saving hardcore enthusiasts from the process of de-lidding Intel CPUs and replacing the paste with a better liquid-metal compound.

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