All Hail the Core i9 Era
Published on August 23rd, 2017
Come forth all you chip geeks as we travel back in time to 2006, a nascent era for much of the technology we use today. Facebook was a precarious two-year-old, while the iPhone was a year from launch. We were wrapping our heads around the reality and excitement of multi-core computing when Intel changed the game with the introduction of the Intel Core line of CPUs. It’s hard to believe those times were a distant eleven years ago. Enter 2017, and Intel is still at it, releasing the next generation of Core processors with the i9 series.
A glimpse across the Core i9 lineup reveals the continuation of tradition as these chips continue the top-flight features and speeds offered by Core predecessors. Of course, the awesome power of Intel’s latest and greatest takes common computing tasks like random number generating to new insane speeds.
With five models of Core i9s available, it might be a little tricky to grasp the differentiating factors. A good rule of thumb is that you will pay for performance, as more cores and threads lead to a higher cost.
Let’s venture through this mystical Core i9 landscape and break it down.
The first stop is the similarities. Intel’s spec sheet shows each processor in the series packs 44 PCI Express 3.0 lanes. The offered memory support is a hefty four channels of DDR4-2666. The TDP rating is a uniform 165 W across the board.
Another commonality with each Core i-9 is the speed achievable with Intel’s Turbo Boost 2.0 and Turbo Boost 3.0 technologies. Turbo Boost 2.0 servers up clock speeds of 4.2 to 4.3 GHz on these bad boys while Turbo Boost 3.0 touches tempos of 4.4 to 4.5 GHz.
Now onward we trek to examine some performance differentials.
The i9-7900X is the least tricked out of the i9s, but rest assured it’s a more than capable workhorse. Can anything less be said of 10 cores executing 20 threads? Released on June 20, the i9-7900x is the first of the series to make a public debut. Boosting a base clock speed of 3.3 GHz and 13.75 MB of L3 cache, expect to pay $999 for this one.
Next up is the i9-7920X and its 2.9 GHz base clock speed. There are 10 cores and 20 threads available for compute pumping in from 16.25 MB of L3 cache. Set for release on August 20, the price point is set at $1,199.
The upper echelon of the Core i9 series is slated for public availability on September 25.
There’s the i9-7940X, which boasts 14 cores and 28 threads operating at a 3.1 GHz base clock speed. The L3 cache sizes keep getting bigger, and this dude checks in with 19.25 MB. You can nab one for $1,399.
The i9-7960X is a power machine carrying 16 cores and 32 threads nestled in with the 22 MB of L3 cache. It’s all yours for $1,599.
Step to the mountain top and you’ll find the game changing i9-7980XE. The pinnacle of the Core i9 series is capable of shredding workloads at mind-blowing speeds, with 18 cores and 36 threads. Need some beefy on-board cache? We have 22.75 MB of the piping hot L3 variety here. i9-7980XE will retail for $1,999.
Take into account the super performance and lofty price points, and the Core i9 series isn’t for everybody. Go ahead and save your money if your computing needs tend towards Pinterest pinning, piano-playing cat videos, and emailing grandma. However, if you’re a gamer, developer, big app multitasker, or VR sensei, these processors may be the perfect fit.