Intel refreshes the Skylake-X lineup for 2018

Shopping for a CPU in 2018 has been a bit of a moving target. Between the launch of AMD's Ryzen 2000 series processors in the beginning of the year, new AMD Threadripper X and WX-series products, and a consumer CPU refresh from Intel last month, it's been difficult to keep track of.

Now we are rounding out 2018 with new products for the last remaining platform that hasn't seen a refresh this year, Intel's Core X-series of processors, namely the Intel Core i9-9980XE.

Join us, as we talk about Intel's new 9th-generation Core X-series processors, and the current landscape of HEDT desktop platforms.

  Core i9-9980XE Core i9-7980XE Threadripper 2990WX Threadripper 2970WX Threadripper 2950X Threadripper 2920X
Architecture Skylake-X Skylake-X Zen+ Zen+ Zen+ Zen+
Process Tech 14nm++ 14nm+ 12nm 12nm 12nm 12nm
Cores/Threads 18/36 18/36 32/64 24/48 16/32 12/24
Base Clock 3.0 GHz 2.6 GHz 3.0 GHz 3.0 GHz 3.5 GHz 3.5 GHz
Boost Clock 4.4 GHz 4.2 GHz 4.2 GHz 4.2 GHz 4.4 GHz 4.3 GHz
L3 Cache 24.75MB 24.75MB 64MB 64MB 32MB 32 MB
Memory Support DDR4-2666 (Quad-Channel) DDR4-2666 (Quad-Channel) DDR4-2933 (Quad-Channel) DDR4-2933 (Quad-Channel) DDR4-2933 (Quad-Channel) DDR4-2933 (Quad-Channel)
PCIe Lanes 44 44 64 64 64 64
TDP 165 Watts 165 Watts 250 Watts 250 Watts 180 Watts 180 Watts
Socket LGA-2066 LGA-2066 TR4 TR4 TR4 TR4
Price (MSRP) $1979 $1999 $1799 $1299 $899 $649

With the relative specifications, all laid out, the changes between the Intel Core i9-7980XE and i9-9980XE seem few and far between.

With the move to the revised 14nm++ process technology that we first saw introduced on the desktop with the 6-core Intel i7-8700K last year, it seems Intel has been able to breathe a bit of additional life into what is the same Skylake-X architecture.

This improvement comes in the form of clock speed increases. The i9-9980XE manages a sizeable 400 MHz boost for the base clock, and a 200 MHz increase on the Turbo Boost 2.0 clock. The Turbo Boost 3.0 clock also sees a smaller 100 MHz increase.

As we saw with the Intel Core i9-9900K last month, Intel is using the same Solder Thermal Interface Material (STIM) between the CPU die and the heat spreader. 

There is a similar story across the entire 9th-generation Core X lineup, as seen above. In fact, all Core i9 CPUs have the same rated Turbo Boost clocks, pointing to a potential upper limit on the Skylake-X design on this process node.

The lowest end Core-X offering is now an 8-Core part instead of a 6-core part, providing parity with Intel's new consumer 9th-generation desktop processor lineup launched last month. 

Intel isn't introducing a new chipset alongside these CPUs, instead, the Core X CPUs will continue to use the same LGA 2066 socket, on the same X299 chipset. In fact, most motherboards have actually had the firmware update to support these new CPUs for quite a bit.

Review Terms and Disclosure
All Information as of the Date of Publication
How product was obtained: The product is on loan from Intel for the purpose of this review.
What happens to the product after review: The product remains the property of Intel but is on extended loan for future testing and product comparisons.
Company involvement: Intel had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.
PC Perspective Compensation: Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by Intel for this review.
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