Intel's Core i9 Extreme Edition is an 18-core monster that retails for $1,999

This time last year, Intel rolled out the Core i7-6950X Extreme Edition, its first 10-core desktop CPU aimed at retail consumers. The processor was based on the Broadwell-E architecture, and retailed for $1,723. The company is now following it up with the Core i9-7980XE Extreme Edition, an 18-core/36-thread CPU that will retail later this year for $1,999. The 7980XE is also the first consumer chip from Intel to offer a teraflop of compute power.

The 7980XE is the flagship CPU in the new "Core X" series that's built on an updated version of the Skylake platform called Skylake X. The Core i9 series will feature a 10-core/20-thread model (the i9-7900X) that will retail for $999, along with 12-core, 14-core, and 16-core models. The Core X range also includes octa-core, hexa-core, and quad-core processors, with the base variant (built on Kaby Lake X) set to retail for as low as $242.

Intel Core X series

With the higher-end Core X processors aimed at enthusiasts, Intel is making improvements to Turbo Boost. With Turbo Boost Max 3.0, the company is touting 15% faster single-threaded performance over the previous generation, along with a 10% increase for multi-threaded performance.

The new processors are designed to run on the new X299 chipset (LGA 2066 socket), with compatible motherboards set to be rolled out by Intel's partners in the coming weeks. The new chipset offers up to 44 PCIe 3.0 lanes and support for quad-channel DDR4-2666 memory.

Finally, Intel talked up its eighth-generation Coffee Lake architecture, stating that it is seeing a 30% performance increase over Kaby Lake. However, there's no word on when Coffee Lake processors will make their debut.

56 Comments
  • WOW , JUST WOW . super monster here . thanks for this article .
  • Yeah but honestly, are there people who use these CPU's on a daily basis? Certain businesses might but individuals? Not many right?
  • Small number of people buy these, they are for bragging rights and some heavy duty threaded tasks. Basically people with extra money to blow or they actually use their computer to do video production or 3d graphics for a living. Personally never spent more than about $300 on a processor.
  • Being an occasional 3D Modeller every full moon or so I, as a consumer, could actually claim to make use of it =) Though most likely not at THAT price.
  • I used to use 3ds max a lot, it was my justification to get a quad core when they first arrived, and I could use Adobe software as an excuse to get these, but not for the price.
  • How often do you upgrade your processor? I spent $600 on an i7 980 in 2011, and am still running it today. Even the current top of the line mainstream i7 only offers a 50% PassMark boost over my 6 year old processor. The $599 7820X listed above should over more than 2x power for the same price as what I spent. 7 years (assuming I buy next year) is a pretty good lifespan IMO.
  • Legit question, but the answer is that yes, many individuals would use this. In particular, anyone who uses software that can benefit from a high degree of multithreaded processing. That includes many kinds of graphics applications, including Photoshop, pretty much any 3D application out there, and video rendering.
    Now, that said, the processor isn't the only part of the equation that matters. You also need enough fast RAM to keep the data flowing, and a fast enough storage array to quickly put the resulting work into non-volatile storage.
    But long story short? Yes, there are individuals who can and will use this. And no, it's not just "bragging rights". That's a nonsense answer.
  • Reading your reply, I really wanted to ask. I had this doubt long ago but never asked anyone.
    .
    What would happen, if you use a very fast internet connection (DL) , say 500Mbps and then use a very old and slow writing HDD from the 90's and try downloading a large file. Will the data be saved? If not, how exactly would it be lost? It's not getting "deleted" right?
  • Your data would get stored no doubt, but at the slower of the 2 speeds - the actual download speed and the HDD's speed. Data is downloaded in packets, with confirmations sent back to the hosting server. So the data wouldn't be lost. If you have a Resumable Download facility on the hosting site, you could even start downloading at about the point where your previous download attempt ran aground!!
  • Ahh, thanks Surendran!! I knew about data being downloaded in packets but now it makes sense. You can actually see data being sent from the device in the task manager even when downloading stuff!! 😊
  • Don't forget music software, meaning recording/composing/production like Pro Tools or Cubase.
  • True! Anything that benefits from multiple threads
  • I don't have any firm data, but the actual percentage of people who actually have both the hardware and software to use this chip to its full potential us probably quite low I would wager that most are professional designer of some kind or they do simulations that need a lit if number crunching power. Such as engineers or scientist. As far as regular people go this chip wouldn't do much for gaming or Photoshop as there would be bottlenecks elsewhere.
  • Certainly none in our part of the world. Many here still use machines running on non Sata Hard disks and less than 1 GB SD RAM. !
  • Not sure about 18 cores but, moving from a QUAD core to a 6 core CPU ( i7-5820K)  made a world of differece in mutli-tasking larger apps. I even run FULL VMs (Windows 7,8.1 and 10) with NO SLOWDOWN on the main OS with the VMs running full screen. When I use some programs, I prefer to keep then in their own OS, as I can have a complete dev setup, with out taking the resuorces on the main machine. So my machine runs AWESOME for gaming and everything else but, when I want to use a large heavy app, pop open a VM. Even play classic games on Windows 98se (dos only games)and Windows XP VMS (early Windows games with 16bit code) So, day to say work and play, having more cores does help. Going to 18 cores I would love but, not at $2K... My motherboard supports the LGA-2011-V3 with DDR4 menory (32gb)
  • Nice!! Interesting stuff. So what you're saying is, even running VM's doesn't slow your PC down? Wow.
  • 10 years ago everyone said the same about the dual-core and 10 years before that the Pentium... :) But quite satisfied with our mix of i5's and i7 here.
  • Haha 😄
  • Stated that they are for consumers "enthusiast"..... Must be enough of them for Intel to target them.
  • I would. One of my machines is a dual proc, 8 core per proc. From compiling to data analysis, all those cores would speed up my work considerably.
  • Ooh, pretty
  • I better start spinning up the fan already, it might be hot :)
  • Reminds me of the time of the Pentium 4 release.
  • Real question is when does the mainstream get more cores? Intel has been selling us dual and quad core chips for 7 generations now with no increase in core count outside of server and enthusiast chips. Their processors haven't even gotten much faster in the last 5 plus years, it's minor performance gains and reduced power consumption. It's like Intel gave up as soon as they released the Core I7 and AMD still had Phenom II than released the failed Bulldozer. ARM crushed their attempt in mobile, maybe it'll take the laptops from them too.
  • If you look on that table, there are i7's with 6 and 8 cores. As an aside, Intel announced it would be making ARM chips about a year ago. 
  • Also of late, AMD is hitting the multicore/multithread consumer space pretty hard with Ryzen. So far they've mostly had great reviews and comparatively low prices
  • Not for the mainstream sockets. After 7 years you would think they could make a 6 core chip that works on the same motherboard as the I3 and I5 processors. It's literally been $200 for a quad core I5, $300 for a quad core i7 for 7 years now. More cores require the more expensive platform. Maybe it will change now that AMD has Ryzen.
  • That game has been going on for 30+ years. The only place Intel really took it's beating was mobile.
  • I don't think thats a case of giving up its a case of making tradeoffs in performance to match the workloads. If you add more cores with the same transistor budget you have to reduce complexity of the cores which reduces single threaded performance. Core count is the new version of saying you have an x Mhz or Ghz CPU its meaningless. At one point early on in multicore CPU's it was better for most poeples workloads to buy a cheaper higher clocked dual core than a lower clocked more expensive quad for instance. With hardware and software improvements that isn't the case anymore but quad core is still a pretty sweetspot for a home PC and most peoples workloads. A server supporting lots of different users or services however has many more chances to use the extra cores e.g. multiple virtual machines, serving lots of web users.... so naturally benefits from lots and lots of cores.
  • Intel historically reduces the clock speed for many of their higher core count CPUs (10+) in the same socket family, so I think it's more of a heat conern than transistor count. The 10+ cores I think were intended for running multiple virtual machines (think data center) rather than a single high workload computation, where the overall cost analysis favors many cores in a small space and lower power consumption versus superfast completion of complex tasks.
  • Coffee Lake. Intel has promised 6 core "mainstream" processors next year. This appears to mean 6 core/6 thread i5 but not a 6 core/12 thread mainstream  i7. My music machine needs the CPU but not GPU, so I was hoping for a 6/12 i7 with integrated graphics as an upgrade from my old i7 980.
  • Can it run Crysis?
  • two might
  • Looking forward to the announcement of the clock values..... 🤔
  • 30% gain over kaby lake for coffee lake was the most interesting part for consumers.
  • Costs just about 4 times more than my entire rig... But I don't mind since my rig does everything I need it for in a reasonable time frame
  • Wow
  • I'll be getting one for everyone in the family! Even the dogs!
  • Will it make Word load faster :P
  • No you'd need a fast ssd for that!
  • Well once you say SSD it's fast, there's no such thing slow ssd some can be faster than others but they still fast.
  • Seeing this i think I'm still gonna go for ryzen higher series chip when i rebuild. Clock speeds are comparable, the tdp is high on these. And the prices are still more. Guess intel thinks since they are who they are its ok. I'm ok with spending less for a very small performance difference.
  • haha, ryzen spurring intel good. no thanks intel.
  • Insane speed to spin-up my Labs VMs , Qube OS VMs and much more... We will also need faster RAMs
  • If you're running VMs, you might as well be looking at Xeons.
  • Is it for desktops or laptops...
  • rich people
  • >rich people No, for  business and servers for applications. It's where more cores are really needed,
  • lol, thanks Cpt. Obvious.
  • Desktops, these draw far too much power to cram into a laptop.
  • Looking at this chart, and how Intel's been releasing chips, it feels like these i9s are just the logical replacement for the i7 line.  The i7 line has felt more like the i5 line for a few generations now.  So, good on Intel for stepping it up.
  • This will make Civil 3d and Revit sing...
  • I'll wait for ThreadRipper, which will probably be several hundred less with its own capable offering of 16 cores and 32 threads. JK, I'm not paying a grand or more for a home CPU...couldn't if I wanted. I'll be waiting on Vega and hopefully pairing it with Ryzen in a few months.  
  • Now browsing Facebook and Instagram can be faster.
  • And just when I thought Core i7 was the flagship....