Now, Intel is upping the ante with a new family of processors for enthusiasts, the Core X-series, and it's anchored by the company's first 18-core CPU, the i9-7980XE.
Intel® Core™ X-series Product Details
All of the i9 chips feature base clock speeds of 3.3GHz, reaching up to 4.3GHz dual-core speeds with Turbo Boost 2.0 and 4.5GHz with Turbo Boost 3.0. And speaking of Turbo Boost 3.0, its performance has also been improved in the new Extreme Edition chips to increase both single and dual-core speeds. Rounding out the X-Series family are the quad-core i5-7640X and i7 models in 4-, 6- and 8-core models.
While it might all seem like overkill, Intel says its Core i9 lineup was driven by the surprising demand for last year's 10-core chip. "Broadwell-E was kind of an experiment," an Intel spokesperson told Engadget. "It sold ... proving that our enthusiast community will go after the best of the best... Yes, we're adding higher core count, but we're also introducing lower core counts. Scalability on both ends are what we went after."
As you can imagine, stuffing more cores into a processor leads to some significant heat issues. For that reason, Intel developed its own liquid cooling solution, which will work across these new chips, as well as some previous generations. All of the new Core i9 processors, along with the 6- and 8-core i7 chips, feature scorching hot 140W thermal design points (TDPs), the maximum amount of power that they'll draw. That's the same as last year's 10-core CPU, but it's still well above the 91W TDP from Intel's more affordable i7-7700K.
Over the past few years, Intel's laptop chips have been far more interesting than its desktop CPUs. Partially, that's because the rise of ultraportables and convertible laptops have shifted its focus away from delivering as much computing power as possible, to offering a reasonable amount of processing power efficiently. The new Core i9 X-series processors might not be feasible for most consumers, but for the hardware geeks who treat their rigs like hot rods, they're a dream come true.
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