Skip to main content

Intel Core i9-10980XE Reviewed by Lab501: Strong Performance, but Can It Beat AMD's Ryzen 9 3950X?

Romanian publication Lab501 has published the first review of the Intel Core i9-10980XE, and it is apparently unsanctioned by Intel. The 18-core, 36-thread processor is the flagship of the chipmaker's Cascade Lake-X family, which Intel announced earlier this month.

Intel Core X-Series Processor

Intel Core X-Series Processor (Image credit: Intel)

It's uncertain how the publication obtained the unreleased processor, or whether it's an engineering sample (ES) or retail chip. It's also unlikely that this sample is using production-class firmware. Lab501 paired the Core i9-10980XE with a Gigabyte X299 Aorus Master motherboard, 32GB (4x8GB) of G.Skill Sniper X DDR4-3200 memory with CL14-14-14-36 timings, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card.

Core i9-10980XE Application Performance

Office, Productivity, and Compression
BenchmarkCore i9-10980XERyzen 9 3900XCore i9-9900K
PCMark 107,214 points7,571 points7,112 points
WinRAR 5.824,656 KB/s28,156 KB/s28,804 KB/s
7-Zip137,310 MIPS110,845 MIPS68,123 MIPS

Lab501 inexplicably did not include Threadripper processors in its test pool. Bear in mind, those are the -10980XE's natural competitors. 

Lab501's results show the Core i9-10980XE falling behind the Ryzen 9 3900X in PCMark 10. When it comes to compression workloads, WinRAR 5.8 apparently favors the Ryzen 9 3900X, while 7-Zip puts the Core i9-10980XE ahead.

Rendering and Encoding
BenchmarkCore i9-10980XERyzen 9 3900XCore i9-9900K
3ds Max 2020518 seconds745 seconds934 seconds
Blender 2.8421 seconds483 seconds636 seconds
DaVinci Resolve 1596 seconds109 seconds165 seconds
HandBrake 1.2.245 seconds46 seconds55 seconds
Cinebench R20 Single-Core458 points522 points511 points
Cinebench R20 Multi-Core8,563 points7,076 points4,935 points
POV-Ray 3.7 Single-Core473 points492 points517 points
POV-Ray 3.7 Multi-Core7,303 points6,151 points4,276 points

The Core i9-10980XE has six more cores than the Ryzen 9 3900X, and this difference is enough to give the Intel chip the advantage with software that embraces cores, such as 3ds Max 2020, Blender 2.8, and DaVinci Resolve 15. In HandBrake 1.2.2., however, the Core i9-10980XE is only one second faster than the Ryzen 9 3900X.

On the flipside, the Ryzen 9 3900X has a better single-core performance than the Core i9-10980XE. The Ryzen 9 3900X performs up to 14% and 4% faster than the Core i9-10980XE in Cinebench R20 and POV-Ray 3.7 single-core tests, respectively. 

The tides turn in the Core i9-10980XE's favor in the multi-core tests. The six extra cores gives the Core i9-10980XE a 21% and 18.7% lead in Cinebench R20 and POV-Ray 3.7, respectively.

Core i9-10980XE Gaming Performance

Gaming (1920 x 1080)
GameCore i9-10980XERyzen 9 3900XCore i9-9900K
Grand Theft Auto V114 FPS124 FPS126 FPS
Far Cry New Dawn90 FPS106 FPS121 FPS
Shadow of the Tomb Raider175 FPS173 FPS176 FPS
Middle-earth: Shadow of War151 FPS146 FPS158 FPS
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III116 FPS130 FPS134 FPS
Batman: Arkham Knight184 FPS181 FPS184 FPS
Sleeping Dogs249 FPS262 FPS280 FPS
Metro Exodus91 FPS95 FPS93 FPS
Ashes of the Singularity98 FPS99 FPS98 FPS
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided100 FPS106 FPS114 FPS

Lab501 has a pretty extensive gaming test suit. For the sake of simplicity, we'll look at the 1920 x 1080 results. It's evident that gaming favors processors with high operating clocks, so the Core i9-9900K continues to be the fastest gaming processor on the planet. Nonetheless, if we compare the Core i9-10980XE and the Ryzen 9 3900X, the results reveal that AMD's chip is better at gaming.

Due to the significant difference in cores, it's a no-brainer that the Core i9-10980XE would come out on top in software that scales with cores and memory bandwidth. The Ryzen 9 3900X undoubtedly put up a respectable fight. At the same time, we're more interested in seeing what the Ryzen 9 3950X can do, although given the segment in which the Core i9-10980XE is in, it would only be fair to compare it against AMD's Threadripper 3000-series offering.

  • nofanneeded
    excuse me but where is the
    Ryzen 9 3950X in this whole article ???
    Reply
  • justin.m.beauvais
    Yeah, buuuuuuuut the Ryzen 9 3900X and the 9900K are very much NOT the competition for this CPU... AT ALL. This thing is going to be priced more similarly (I'm saying generously, it is likely to be a lot more) to a 32 core Threadripper if Intel stays true to form. Why not just write an article about its performance? Why compare it to a CPU that isn't out yet? Why compare it to CPUs that are simply NOT the competition?

    Just write an article like "The first review of Intel's Core i9-10980XE 18-core chip has popped up in the wild" and talk about the strengths of the chip. You have a huge library of data to pull from to do some general comparisons, use that.

    My theory is that Intel sent them one to test, under the table. They probably didn't want a repeat of their last benchmark fiasco.
    Reply
  • kinggremlin
    justin.m.beauvais said:
    Yeah, buuuuuuuut the Ryzen 9 3900X and the 9900K are very much NOT the competition for this CPU... AT ALL. This thing is going to be priced more similarly (I'm saying generously, it is likely to be a lot more) to a 32 core Threadripper if Intel stays true to form. Why not just write an article about its performance? Why compare it to a CPU that isn't out yet? Why compare it to CPUs that are simply NOT the competition?

    Just write an article like "The first review of Intel's Core i9-10980XE 18-core chip has popped up in the wild" and talk about the strengths of the chip. You have a huge library of data to pull from to do some general comparisons, use that.

    My theory is that Intel sent them one to test, under the table. They probably didn't want a repeat of their last benchmark fiasco.

    From the review:

    "Unfortunately, I couldn't compare it directly to an equivalent processor, for several reasons. Thus, AMD Ryzen 9 3950X and AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3rd gen have not been launched yet, Intel Core i9 9980XE has not been tested according to the new methodology, and those at Intel have refused to provide it to us, and the top of the range AMD , The Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX is currently locked in a long-term test by my colleague Matei. "

    You can drop the conspiracy theories. They couldn't get their hands on anything else. If Intel shipped them one for a positive review, the website missed the memo. You should probably read the article conclusion. The only positive thing they had to say about the chip was the price reduction vs the last generation.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    justin.m.beauvais said:
    Why compare it to CPUs that are simply NOT the competition?
    The 3900X is definitely worth testing it against, since it's the closest processor available at this time to the upcoming 16-core 3950X that should be launching in a matter of weeks, as well as upcoming Threadrippers. Assuming these results are indicative of final performance, there's a very good chance that the 3950X will outperform this processor in nearly all software.

    Of course, you do get things like additional memory channels and PCIe lanes on an HEDT platform, which could allow the 10980XE to pull ahead in certain workloads, but the next-generation Threadripper platform should offer those things as well.

    justin.m.beauvais said:
    This thing is going to be priced more similarly (I'm saying generously, it is likely to be a lot more) to a 32 core Threadripper if Intel stays true to form.
    Intel had to slash the prices of these processors to keep them competitive, and as such, this 18-core model will be priced at just $1000, similar to what prior 16-core Threadrippers launched for, and half of what their existing 18-core 9980XE is selling for. So I would not expect a 32-core Threadripper to be priced at a similar level. The 24-core model might be though.
    Reply
  • hannibal
    Yeah! Threatripper 3000 will rip this apart ;)
    Competition is good! These will com down in price somewhat... maybe... it is intell, who knows...
    Reply
  • Olle P
    nofanneeded said:
    excuse me but where is the
    Ryzen 9 3950X in this whole article ???
    It's mentioned. Just not available yet.
    cryoburner said:
    The 3900X is definitely worth testing it against, since it's the closest processor available at this time...
    Available to the reviewer, yes.
    As mentioned the closest competitor of the current generation Threadripper was being used for a long-term test.

    One irritating detail in the review is that it's not mentioned if the archiving software was used for compression or decompression. Compression is a bit more demanding but decompression is used way more often. Ryzen is known to not handle 7-zip compression that well but excel at decompression.
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    justin.m.beauvais said:
    Yeah, buuuuuuuut the Ryzen 9 3900X and the 9900K are very much NOT the competition for this CPU... AT ALL. This thing is going to be priced more similarly (I'm saying generously, it is likely to be a lot more) to a 32 core Threadripper if Intel stays true to form. Why not just write an article about its performance? Why compare it to a CPU that isn't out yet? Why compare it to CPUs that are simply NOT the competition?

    Just write an article like "The first review of Intel's Core i9-10980XE 18-core chip has popped up in the wild" and talk about the strengths of the chip. You have a huge library of data to pull from to do some general comparisons, use that.

    My theory is that Intel sent them one to test, under the table. They probably didn't want a repeat of their last benchmark fiasco.

    Well it will depend on pricing. If AMD keeps it similar to TR2 then this would price near AMDs 16 core 32 thread TR3. I doubt they will, since Intels pricing is out on these AMD will price accordingly.

    What I want to know is why is the 9980XE is not present to see if any gains have been made if at all.
    Reply
  • PCWarrior
    Three things worth pointing out:
    1. This review from this Romanian website is about an engineering sample of a stock 10980XE tested on a previous gen X299 Gigabyte motherboard with an early bios for the new gen support (one month prior to actual launch). Gigabyte is notorious when it comes to early BIOSes.

    2. Some cross checking against some 9980XE benchmarks shows that the reported 10980XE scores are worse than those of the 9980XE by about 3%. The 10980XE is expected to be better than a 9980XE by 5-10%, not worse by 3%.

    3. There appears to be something off in this review. I find it very peculiar that in this review in the 10 gaming tests the 9900K won none against both the 9700K and 8700K at the same time. It instead got beaten by either the 8700K and/or 9700K in 8 out of the 10 cases and it only managed to draw twice. The 8700K alone won against the 9900K in 5 games and in 3 it was a draw. On the 5 occasions the 8700K won it was with a bigger margin than on the 2 where it lost.

    1080p gaming:GTA V: 9700Κ:129, 8700Κ 128, 9900Κ:126Far Cry New Dawn: 9900K: 121, 8700K: 121, 9700K: 120
    Rise of the Tomb Raider: 9900K: 176, 8700K: 176, 9700K: 175
    Shadow of War: 8700K: 162, 9900K: 158, 9700K 155
    Dawn of War 3: 8700K 145, 9900K: 134, 9700K: 134
    Batman Arkham Knight: 9700K: 193, 9900K: 191, 8700K 189
    Sleeping Dogs: 9700K: 287, 9900K: 280, 8700K: 276
    Metro Exodus: 8700K: 101, 9700K 94, 9900K: 93Ashes of the Singularity: 9700K: 99, 9900K: 98, 8700K: 98
    Deus EX:Mankind Divided: 8700K: 117, 9700K 115, 9900K 114I can understand why the 9700K could perform better on some games due to the lack of hyperthreading and 8 physical threads being more than enough for these games. But the 8700K winning against both the 9900K and the 9700K is very strange as it has both lower clock speeds and uses hyperthreading. And has fewer physical cores too. Probably some might say it might be due to the ring bus latency being smaller on a hexacore but I have never seen such a performance delta between a stock 9900K and a stock 8700K in any other review. In fact, the 9900K always prevailed against the 8700K in the vast majority of games. Never were these two cpus shown to trade blows, especially with the 8700K operating at stock and not being overclocked.
    Reply
  • joeblowsmynose
    PCWarrior said:
    Three things worth pointing out:

    2. Some cross checking against some 9980XE benchmarks shows that the reported 10980XE scores are worse than those of the 9980XE by about 3%. The 10980XE is expected to be better than a 9980XE by 5-10%, not worse by 3%.

    Yeah these numbers don't quite look right to me either, best to wait for proper reviews. It can't possibly be this underwhelming.
    Reply
  • evilhf
    1w0u0tmELxUView: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w0u0tmELxU
    I lovelly Lisa Su ❤💕
    Reply