If you ever wanted proof that competition in the marketplace is good, take one look at Intel’s latest announcement. After years and years of offering littler more than quad core chips, in the last 12 months we have seen an introduction of CPUs from Team Blue that cover six-core bargain chips all the way up to 28-core, hyperthreaded monsters, and things don’t appear to be slowing down. Intel just announced a whole new set of CPUs that run the gamut from mainstream to extreme performance, and we couldn’t be more excited.
The biggest news for most users will be the mainstream chips built for the bulk of the market. These include the Core i5-9600K, a six-core CPU with clock speeds of 3.7 GHz base and 4.6 GHz boost and the Core i7-9700K, an eight-core chip with a 3.6 GHz base clock and a boost clock of 4.9 GHz. But the big news for mainstream users and gamers is the new Core i9-9900K, an eight-core chip with Hyperthreading, meaning it has 16 threads, and a boost clock of 5.0 GHz. The base clock is a more modest 3.6 GHz. Other improvements to the new chips include a move back to soldered thermal interfacing of the heat spreader, which should mean better temperature control and faster overclocks for a lot of users.
Along with these new mainstream chips, Intel has refreshed the X-series chip for the HEDT platform. Tht means that we could upgrade Project ZR1 with new chips. The lowest level chip here is the i7-9800X. It is essentially the replacement for the 7820X we have in Project ZR1, features the same 8-cores and 16-thread die configuration. Where the new 9800X improves on our chip is a slightly faster base-clock of 3.8 GHz, an increased L3 cache, and most importantly for our uses, an increase to 44 PCI-e lanes. Intel has an entire family of these new X chips that bump up in core counts by two for each level up the stack all the way up to the new range-topper.
The new king of the Intel product stack is the i9-9980XE. At first glance it looks identical to last year’s 7980XE, complete with the same core counts, the same cache sizes, the same power consumption and a nearly identical price. But then we get to clock speed, and Intel has made some serious progress. The old chip featured a base clock of just 2.5 GHz with a boost clock of 4.4 GHz. The new 9980XE however boasts a base clock of 3.0 GHz with a slightly higher 4.5 GHz boost clock to boot. All-in-all this should make the 9980XE much more competitive in single-threaded workloads and basic computing tasks.
Now as with all things, we can’t truly express how these new chips will perform until we can get our hands on one, or verify some third-party performance metrics. That said, Intel looks to have taken all the criticism it got last year on performance and temperature problems, and fixed them all. These CPUs look mighty impressive indeed.