Intel Rounds Out Its Next-Gen i9 Processor Family

Aug 2017 Intel Core i5 i7 i9By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

Back in June, Intel announced their 8th generation top-of-the-line desktop Core i9 processor, codenamed ‘Basin Falls.’ This X-series processor screams with up to 18 cores and a teraflop of processing power. But what was missing from the announcement was details on the lower-end chips that would round out this new series of processors. But not anymore. Here are some details on what Intel is calling the Skylake X family.

“The Intel Core X-series processor family introduces a series of firsts that reflect the extreme performance we are delivering. This family includes Intel’s first teraflop desktop CPUs, a prime example of just how much raw compute these processors can handle…representing the highest performance for advanced gaming, VR and content creation.” – Gregory Bryant, vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group at Intel, via press release

Intel plans to release four Core i9 processors with up to 18 cores priced at $1199 to 1999. Yikes. That’s a pricey chip, but Intel promises that the performance boost will far outpace AMD’s new Ryzen Threadripper chips, that were announced shortly after the Intel’s i9 in June.

The Threadripper 1920x promised similar performance, but tops out at 16 cores. While it’s a bit less powerful, it also costs nearly $1,000 less at only $999. But when you consider that the more cores you run, the slower the machine goes, AMD’s processors would actually be a little faster, at a cheaper price.

And according to AMD watchers, AMD has an ace up its sleeve that few are talking about… Threadripper currently uses only 2 of the available 4 CPU slots in its design, with the other 2 left open for future applications. So, in short order, AMD could put out a higher end model with 4 Ryzen cores, creating in effect a monster 32-core chip. And it would still likely be cheaper than the Basin Falls i9!

Intel has to be well aware of this, and not wanting to be scooped by the competition, the chip maker had to create a lower-end option that would mirror the Threadripper’s performance specs, but at a competitive price.

Though Basin Falls will be the flagship of the X-Series line, Intel is beefing up the current 6th generation Skylake processor by giving it some X-series architecture. There will be three Skylake X CPUs, which will be core i7 based, but with 6 and 8 cores, and a lower-end i9 with up to 10 cores of processing power. Then, Intel will bring along Kaby Lake X, an i5 processor, which sadly won’t have any hyper threading like its big brothers.

The Skylake X series will run at 2.9 GHz, and can be “Turbo Boosted” to 4.3 GHz. By contrast the Basin Falls i9 Processors will run at 2.6GHz to 3.1GHz, with a Turbo Boost of just over 4GHz. But here’s the thing: Turbo Boost has one caveat, in that it runs on a limited number of cores. So if you’re going to be dedicating all cores to a project, Turbo looks to only have a limited performance benefit, in contrast to boosting fewer cores. But what isn’t known is just how many cores Turbo Boost can affect, as Intel hasn’t shared that information.

Intel plans to ship the lower end Core i9-7920x processors (with up to 10 cores) at the end of the month, while the the higher end 14 to 18 core models will be available in late September. Hopefully, we’ll know by then what the final benchmarks are for the Basin Falls and Skylake X line. Here’s a good question: Will Apple include these in their next-gen modular Mac Pro? Time will tell.

Hat tip: RedShark News

About James DeRuvo

James has a multi-faceted career that spans radio, film and publishing. A writer about the technology in the video industry for nearly 20 years, James is also an award winning film director, having garnered a Telly Award for his short film Searching for Inspiration. He's also worked as a producer of many talk radio programs in Los Angeles with topics ranging from entertainment to travel to technology.