Enlarge (credit: Mark Walton)
Intel’s latest 10-core, high-end desktop (HEDT) chip—the Core i9-7900X—costs £900/$1000.
That’s £500/$500 less than its predecessor, the i7-6950X.
In previous years, such cost-cutting would have been regarded as generous. You might, at a stretch, even call it good value.
But that was at a time when Intel’s monopoly on the CPU market was as its strongest, before a resurgent AMD lay waste to the idea that a chip with more than four cores be reserved for those with the fattest wallets.
The i9-7900X—which debuts the “i9” moniker alongside the new X299 platform, replacing X99—is the most powerful consumer desktop chip money can buy.
In nearly every benchmark, it delivers the highest scores.
In multitasking and heavily multithreaded applications like photo editors, video editors, and 3D computer graphics, it ably demonstrates the appeal of more cores.
But as a product, a piece of aspirational tech to flaunt on Reddit, Intel’s HEDT chips are far less alluring.
It doesn’t help that X299 is a confusing mess of chips, PCIe lanes, and consumer-unfriendly feature lockouts that hint at a rushed launch in the wake of increased competition from AMD. Nor does it help that, like Intel’s mainstream Kaby Lake architecture before it, Skylake-X offers little in the way of raw instructions-per-clock (IPC) performance improvement over Broadwell-E.
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