Intel has unveiled seven new X-series Core processors intended to take on AMD's Threadripper for high-end workstations. At the same time, the company has also launched a series of lower end CPUs targeted at AMD's mainstream Ryzen CPUs that, it claims, will offer a better option for PC gamers.
Like AMD, all the parts are overclockable out of the box - a break with the recent past from Intel.
The Core i9-9900K is targeted at AMD's Ryzen 7 2700X CPU. It features a clock speed of 3.6GHz that, Intel claims, can boost all the way up to the magic figure of 5GHz on a single core, and comes with eight cores and 16 threads. The Core i9-9900K is priced at $488, with Intel taking pre-orders now.
|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|
Intel claimed that the Core i9-9900K is "the world's best gaming processor", suggesting that it was capable of delivering more than 220 frames-per-second on Rainbow Six: Siege, Fortnite, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, although such frame-rates will depend heavily on the graphics card the CPU is running with.
The Core i7-9700K 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 hyperthreading for the recommended price of $374. The Core i5-9600K doesn't offer hyperthreading, 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|
In contrast, in the UK the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X can be had for £299.99, the Ryzen 7 1800X is available for £229.97 and the Ryzen 7 1700X and Ryzen 5 2600X are both priced at under £200.
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.
Despite AMD's advantage in terms of cores and threads, Intel also offered benchmarks indicating that its X-series CPUs will outperform their equivalent AMD Threadrippers.
However, 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.
On top of that, there are question marks over availability, with Intel admitting that there could be a shortage of CPUs for home and business use due to a surge in demand, not just from the expanding cloud computing market, but also for desktop PCs.
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.
Intel Core i9 CPU die
At the launch, which was live-streamed globally, Intel also announced the Xeon W-3175X CPU, a 28-core workstation processor for compute intensive workloads and applications. It will ship from December. The unlocked CPU is intended for architectural and industrial design, and content creation professionals.
The Xeon W-3175X will offer 56 threads, provide 38.5MB Smart Cache, 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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