Intel Kaby Lake X & Skylake X – More Cores for Desktops

Posted on 16 Jun 2017 by
Nail Garejev

Intel has announced their latest line-up of high performance desktop CPUs, ranging from 4 to 18 cores, and all of them use Intel’s X299 platform and LGA2066 socket, but there is a lot of variety in their specifications.

At the lower end of the core scale, there are Kaby Lake X based quad-core i5-7640X and i7-7740X, which are the same CPUs as i5-7600K and i7-7700K, but without an integrated GPU and with higher thermal ceiling (112 W). While that should allow them to overclock higher, they do not utilize some of the advanced features X299 motherboards provide. These CPUs have 16 PCI-Express lanes and can use dual-channel DDR4 memory.

Going beyond core count provided by mainstream Intel CPUs, there are “low core count” Skylake-X CPUs. All of them support quad-channel DDR4 and have 140 W TDP. Core i7-7800X is a hexa-core CPU, with 3.5 GHz base and 4.0 GHz boost clock, 8.25 MB of L3 cache, 28 PCI-Express lanes, costing $389 USD. Next up, is octa-core i7-7820X, with 3.6 GHz base, 4.3 GHz boost and 4.5 GHz boost max clock, 11 MB of L3 cache, 28 PCI-Express lanes, costing $599 USD. The boost max frequency can be achieved on workloads that use up to two cores to provide maximum single-threaded performance.

Finally, there is the first Intel CPU named i9 – Core i9-7900X. It has 10 cores at 3.3 GHz base, 4.3 GHz boost and 4.5 GHz boost max clock, 13.75 MB of L3 cache, 44 PCI-Express lanes, costing $999 USD. It seems like the increased number of PCI-Express lanes is Intel’s chosen border between i7 and i9 CPUs. All these CPUs will be released on June 26th. Then there are “high core count” Skylake-X CPUs, with 12, 14, 16 and 18-core processors, with prices from $1199 to $2000 USD. They will be coming out later this autumn and the only thing known about them at the moment are names, core counts and prices.

It seems very likely that AMD Ryzen’s release and upcoming 16-core Threadripper have pushed Intel to put their high core count CPUs not just into Xeon server line, but for consumers as well, bringing healthy competition and innovation.

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