Intel is to release its first 18-core PC processor, a ‘teraflop-speed’ chip aimed at high-end home desktops and workstations.
The $1,999 Core i9 Extreme Edition processor, the i9-7980XE, is aimed at users carrying out heavy tasks such as VR video editing, 3D modelling, and special-effects creation, at serious multi-taskers, and at livestreaming gamers with deep pockets.
The i9-7980XE chip has specs that far outstrip the four-core Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors typically found in home PCs but is also considerably more expensive.
Intel’s reveal follows the announcement by rival chipmaker AMD of its 16-core ThreadRipper desktop processor, due to be released this summer. In part, the i9-7980XE seems designed to allow Intel to hold onto its multi-core crown in the desktop space, however Intel has not revealed when the part will be available.
Those thinking of buying a i9-7980XE or AMD ThreadRipper processor might not see the performance gains they hope for however, as a lot of consumer software will not be written to efficiently spread workloads between the many cores and caches in these chips.
Other CPUs in Intel’s Core i9 X-Series CPUs are available with 16, 14, 12 and 10 cores, costing $1,699, $1,399, $1,119 and $999 respectively. Intel hasn’t revealed the base clock speed of its Core i9 chips, apart from the 10-core Intel Core i9-7900X, which is clocked at 3.3GHz. Typically the higher the core count of a processor, the lower each core is clocked.
Intel also announced new i7 processors in the Core X-series, including an eight-core chip for $599, a six-core for $389, and four-core for $339. All of the Core X-series processors are based on Intel’s Skylake architecture. Also available will be a four-core Core i5 chip for $242 based on the Kaby Lake architecture.
The new X-series processors will work with motherboards based on Intel’s X299 chipset, due for release in the coming weeks.