When Intel launched its new high-end desktop platform a few weeks ago, we were provided with Core-X CPUs from quad cores on the latest Kaby Lake microarchitecture, and 6/8/10 core parts on the Skylake-SP microarchitecture derived from the enterprise line and taking a different route to how the cache was structured over Skylake-S. At the time we were told that these latter parts would be joined by bigger SKUs all the way up to 18 cores, and up to $2000. Aside from core-counts and price, Intel was tight lipped on the CPU specifications until today.

Skylake-X goes HCC

The original Skylake-X processors up to 10 cores used Intel’s LCC silicon, one of the three silicon designs typically employed in the enterprise space, and the lowest core count. The other two silicon designs, HCC and XCC, have historically been reserved for server CPUs and big money – if you wanted all the cores, you had to pay for them. So the fact that Intel is introducing HCC silicon into the consumer desktop market is a change in strategy, which many analysts say is due to AMD’s decision to bring their 16-core silicon into the market.

Both the new HCC-based processors and the recently released LCC-based processors will share the same LGA2066 socket as used on X299 motherboards, and all the processors will differ in core count, with slight variations on core frequencies, TDP and price.

The Skylake-X line-up now looks like:

Skylake-X Processors
  7800X 7820X 7900X   7920X 7940X 7960X 7980XE
Silicon LCC   HCC
Cores / Threads 6/12 8/16 10/20   12/24 14/28 16/32 18/36
Base Clock / GHz 3.5 3.6 3.3   2.9 3.1 2.8 2.6
Turbo Clock / GHz 4.0 4.3 4.3   4.3 4.3 4.3 4.2
TurboMax Clock N/A 4.5 4.5   4.4 4.4 4.4 4.4
L3 1.375 MB/core   1.375 MB/core
PCIe Lanes 28 44   44
Memory Channels 4   4
Memory Freq DDR4 2400 2666   2666
TDP 140W   140W 165W
Price $389 $599 $999   $1199 $1399 $1699 $1999

Along with this, we have several release dates to mention.

  • The 12-core Core i9-7920X will be available from August 28th
  • The 14-18 core parts will be available from September 25th (my birthday…)

On the specification side, the higher-end CPUs get a kick up in TDP to 165W to account for more cores and the frequency that these CPUs are running at. The top Core i9-7980XE SKU will have a base frequency of 2.6 GHz but a turbo of 4.2 GHz, and a Favored Core of 4.4 GHz. The turbo will be limited to 2 cores of load, however Intel has not listed the ‘all-core turbo’ frequencies which are often above the base frequencies, nor the AVX frequencies here. It will be interesting to see how much power the top SKU will draw.

One question over the launch of these SKUs was regarding how much they would impinge into Intel’s Xeon line of processors. We had already earmarked the Xeon Gold 6154/6150 as possible contenders for the high-end CPU, and taking the price out of the comparison, they can be quite evenly matched (the Xeons have a lower turbo, but higher base frequency). The Xeons also come with multi-socket support and more DRAM channels, at +60% the cost.

Comparing against AMD’s Threadripper gives the following:

Features Intel Core
Intel Core
AMD Ryzen
Threadripper 1950X
Platform X299 X299 X399
Socket LGA2066 LGA2066 TR4
Cores/Threads 18 / 36 16 / 32 16 / 32
Base/Turbo 2.6 / 4.2 / 4.4 2.8 / 4.2 / 4.4 3.4 / 4.0
GPU PCIe 3.0 44 44 60
L2 Cache 1 MB/core 1 MB/core 512 KB/core
L3 Cache 24.75 MB 22.00 MB 32.00 MB
TDP 165W 165W 180W
 Price $1999 $1699 $999

We fully expect the review embargoes to be on the launch dates for each CPU. Time to start ringing around to see if my sample was lost in the post.

Related Reading

Update on 8/8:

Due to some sleuthing, PCGamer managed to obtain turbo frequencies based on per-core loading. I'm surprised Intel doesn't give this data out like candy when the products are announced, but we're glad to have it nonetheless.

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  • palladium - Monday, August 7, 2017 - link

    Ian, please review the overclocking potential and temps of these chips, particularly the 18 core ones, when they come out. There has been a lot of discussion about the the negative impact of Intel's decision to use TIM on these chips, and even how lower end MBs may struggle to deliver the required current these chips draw.
  • Lolimaster - Monday, August 7, 2017 - link

    Remember boys, the all core turbo only sustains for some seconds, when the cpu gets maxed with warm temps the cpu will be back to base clocks (intel all core turbo is basically create to look good on benchmarks, which don't take much time), while on the other side the 1950X already has a base clock of 3.4Ghz, no mater how you tax it, that's the minimum frequency you will get.
  • nevcairiel - Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - link

    Remember that the turbo is not a binary on/off toggle, and how long it can be sustained depends entirely on your cooling. It doesn't go Turbo -> Base in one step, it slowly backs down if it has to.

    Any high-end cooler will be able to sustain the rated all-core turbos, and with really good cooling you can go beyond that.
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - link

    That's assuming you can get the heat out of the die, which is not a given when toothpaste TIM is involved. You're also assuming that you can get adequate power to the CPU to provide for those frequencies, a problem which gets worse at higher temperatures.
  • Comdrpopnfresh - Monday, August 7, 2017 - link

    Anyone else getting the distinct feeling that this is a worse version of the 2006-ish core wars? How many $2000 and 165W Processors could Intel possibly sell in the consumer space? I feel like half of anything sold will be to folks that do not even need that much computing power. What application, in the consumer space, is there for this much silicon? Paired with 128GB+ of RAM and a mega raid, and we're talking about the ballpark of a hefty down payment toward a V6 Sports Car. I love the Anandtech Coverage, but am perhaps jaded about the meaning of it all- does it mean I'll be getting a hoverboard anytime soon? I think this is a surge before the deathknell of microcomputing companies, when they hit the 3-4nm wall and the global economy collapses. With that in mind, add in a solar and wind array with night time storage to the cost of ownership. Nope- just go with the car.
  • nevcairiel - Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - link

    "Consumer" is perhaps slightly misleading. I'm sure some ordinary consumers might buy this out of ignorance of what its really for, though.

    The real audience are enthusiasts as well as professionals with actual workflows that use this. Video rendering and encoding, 3D rendering, complex math computations of all sorts - workstation tasks.

    Clearly its a much smaller market then the mainstream consumer market, but it does exist.

    The same argument really applies to ThreadRipper (albeit at the lower cost, its not that "bad"). "Consumers" don't need more then 8 cores, and they likely don't even need 8. Not yet, anyway.
  • tamalero - Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - link

    Agree, This multicore war is gold for those who are now entering the 4k or 8k production of video or rendering.
  • jabber - Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - link

    A good proportion will be sold to those that just do benchmarks all day on their parents electric bill.
  • jwcalla - Monday, August 7, 2017 - link

    For $2,000 it better support ECC RAM.
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - link

    For $2000? It won't.

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