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.
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.
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