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AMD and Intel are in a CPU arms race, and Intel announced the latest products in its Core-X series to ensure it is keeping up with AMD’s Threadripper. This second-wave of chips all come in Intel’s new i9 configuration, and they start at 12 cores in the $1,199 i9-7920X and go up to 18 cores in the $2,000 i9-7980XE. The i9-7920X is due out August 28, and Intel will roll out the other three Core-X i9s on September 25.

Naturally, these new chips continue to run on Intel’s X299 chipset, so you’ll need to upgrade your motherboard (and probably a lot of other components) if you want to upgrade. If you are spending two grand on a CPU, however, I’m betting you have the dough to build a beefy new rig from scratch.

These new chips come at a time when PC gaming is growing quickly. Steam recently surpassed Xbox Live in terms of monthly active users, according to a Valve presentation from the Casual Connect gaming conference last week. Valve, the company that owns and operates the Steam PC gaming portal, also revealed that 1.5 million customers join Steam each month. We also touched on the growth of PC gaming during this week’s GamesBeat Decides podcast, where we point out that most modern trends in gaming — like streaming, free-to-play, games as a service, and more — all seem to work best on PC.

Whatever the reason for the growth, PC-gaming hobbyists are spending cash, and Intel is after that business with its Core i9 chips. While these are still overkill for most modern games in terms of power, Intel is still positioning these chips for the serious enthusiast who always wants to have the most powerful rig possible.


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Here are the details of each new CPU:

Core i9-7980XE

Release date: September 25
Price: $1,999

Architecture: Skylake-X
Cores/threads: 18/36
L3 cache: 24.75MB
PCIe lanes: 44
Base clock: 2.6GHz
Boost clock: 4.4GHz
Power draw (TDP): 165W

Core i9-7960X

Release date: September 25
Price: $1,699

Architecture: Skylake-X
Cores/threads: 16/32
L3 cache: 22MB
PCIe lanes: 44
Base clock: 2.8GHz
Boost clock: 4.4GHz
Power draw (TDP): 165W

Core i9-7940X

Release date: September 25
Price: $1,399

Architecture: Skylake-X
Cores/threads: 14/28
L3 cache: 19.25MB
PCIe lanes: 44
Base clock: 3.1GHz
Boost clock: 4.4 GHz
Power draw (TDP): 165W

Core i9-7920X

Release date: September 25
Price: $1,199

Architecture: Skylake-X
Cores/threads: 12/24
L3 cache: 16.5MB
PCIe lanes: 44
Base clock: 2.9GHz
Boost clock: 4.4 GHz
Power draw (TDP): 140W

For comparison, all of these CPUs are more expensive than AMD’s 1950X Threadripper, which features 16 cores and 32 threads at $1,000. Comparisons will be interesting because it’s likely that Intel’s chips will continue to have an advantage in gaming while AMD could have the advantage in multi-core processes like video rendering. But despite whichever one has more power-per-dollar, it’s clear that AMD and Intel are battling for position on the high-end. And that competition should keep both companies innovating for the foreseeable future.


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