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Threadripper Competition Emerges As Intel Lets Core i9-7920X Details Slip

The Intel versus AMD battle is becoming more pitched. AMD is placing pressure on Intel with its new high-end desktop Threadripper models while also squeezing the low end of the market with the forthcoming Ryzen 3 models. Intel has its Core i9-7920X, the 12-core model in the Skylake-X lineup, waiting in the wings to challenge AMD's Threadripper, but the company has released little information on the new processor. The Core -7920X's sudden appearance on the company's July price list, though, suggests it will appear on schedule in August.

We knew the Core i9-7920X would come bearing 12 cores and 24 threads, which will contend with AMD's 12-core Ryzen Threadripper 1920X, but the base processor frequency and cache allotment are new information. The Core i9-7920X features a 2.9GHz base frequency, which is a substantial decline from its ten-core Core i9-7900X counterpart's 3.3GHz. We anticipated the -7920X's moderate base frequency reduction compared to the smaller Core i9 models (that's a trend with higher core count processors), but the disparity is much wider than expected. It's going to be interesting to see how much further the 18C/36T flagship Core i9-7980XE falls.

Threadripper comes in two models, and the low-end 1920X features a 3.5GHz base and 4.0GHz boost, which beats the comparable Intel processor handily. That helps offset some of Intel's IPC advantage. However, Intel's boost frequencies were one of the most surprising aspects of the Core i9 lineup. Intel's high core count models all boost to 4.5GHz, and although we can't be sure of the unannounced turbos of the -7960X and -7920X, Intel might hold the advantage. Intel's Turbo Boost implementation provides varying boost levels based upon the number of active cores. For instance, the Core i9-7900X's Turbo Boost 2.0 provides up to 4.3 GHz with two active cores, 4.1 GHz for up to four active cores, and 4.0 GHz for all ten cores. You also get an extra dual-core 4.5 GHz Turbo Boost 3.0 for two cores. Both Threadripper models boost up to 4.0 GHz, but AMD hasn't revealed XFR turbo frequencies. 

The Threadripper 1920X also retails for only $799, which is quite the savings compared to the Intel twelve core model, which weighs in at $1,189. It's notable that the Intel price list represents a whopping $10 price reduction compared to Intel's previously-announced -7920X pricing.

Core i5-7640XCore i7-7740XCore i7-7800XCore i7-7820XCore i9-7900XCore i9-7920XCore i9-7940XCore i9-7960XCore i9-7980XE
FamilyKaby Lake-XKaby Lake-XSkylake-XSkylake-XSkylake-XSkylake-XSkylake-XSkylake-XSkylake-X
Process14nm+14nm+14nm14nm14nm14nm
Cores/Threads4/44/86/128/1610/2012/2414/2816/3218/36
Base Clock (GHz)4.04.33.53.63.32.9???
Intel TurboBoost 2.0 Frequency (GHz)4.24.54.04.34.3????
Intel TurboBoost 3.0 Frequency (GHz)NANANA4.54.5????
L3 Cache688.251113.7516.5???
PCIe 3.0 Lanes1616282844????
Memory SupportDual Channel DDR4-2666Dual Channel DDR4-2666Quad Channel DDR4-2400Quad Channel DDR4-2666Quad Channel DDR4-2666????
TDP112W112W140W140W140W???165W
Socket206620662066206620662066206620662066
RCP Pricing (USD 1K Units)$242$339$389$599$999$1,189$1,399$1,699$1,999

The Core i9-7920X also features 16.5MB of L3 cache, which falls in line with the Core i9's standard 1.375MB of L3 cache per core. It's notable, however, that it has much more L2 cache than previous-gen models due to Intel's reworked cache hierarchy, although we'll have to wait for the official measurement. The price list also confirms that the -7920X employs the 14nm process, but that isn't a surprise. The -7920X will also likely come with Intel's full complement of 44 PCIe lanes compared to Threadripper's 64 PCIe lanes.

On another note, the new price list also indicates that Intel isn't reducing prices in the face of the Ryzen onslaught. Unfortunately, the "% Decrease" column is barren. Intel did lower per-core pricing of its new Core i9 models compared to the previous generation, and many predict it will follow the same tactic as it releases newer models. At least it's something.

The renewed CPU wars may not be lighting a pricing fire, but it's apparent that Intel is attempting to stave off the Threadripper onslaught. We've reached out to Intel for an official release date and will update as more information comes to light.

  • TJ Hooker
    The Core i9-7920X features a 3.3GHz base frequency, which is a substantial decline from its eight-core Core i9-7900X counterpart's 3.3GHz
    The first "3.3GHz" should be "2.9GHz".

    Edit: Also, as @freak777power points out below, the "eight-core Core i9-7900X" should say "ten-core".
    Reply
  • falchard
    Larger L2 makes sense when working with large out of order tables. 256 kb is fine for consumer, but 512 kb may work better for professional workloads at the sacrifice of latency.
    Reply
  • PaulAlcorn
    19958493 said:
    The Core i9-7920X features a 3.3GHz base frequency, which is a substantial decline from its eight-core Core i9-7900X counterpart's 3.3GHz
    The first "3.3GHz" should be "2.9GHz".

    Oops! :no: Thanks!
    ;)
    Reply
  • gggplaya
    The side by side benchmarks will be very interesting when they both come out. Also, what it'll take to cool the intel chip to run at boost without dethrottling.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    19958506 said:
    256 kb is fine for consumer
    Except there is no such thing as "consumer" since the exact same dies are used for both desktop and server/datacenter CPUs. With dwindling desktop sales, it makes no sense to design chips specifically for desktop, which is why AMD designed the Zeppelin die for EPYC instead of desktop. AMD likely calculated that taking the hit on die size for its projected sales volume is cheaper than the R&D for a desktop-specific die.
    Reply
  • 16/32 Core Broadwell-E which i have has clock speed of 2.6Ghz but all cores run at 3.1Ghz and Turbo all the way up to 3.6Ghz. So, you guys are reading this chart wrong because Intel wasn't clear enough here.

    This CPU i assume will have all cores running 3.1Ghz as well. Base clock means nothing. It is a clock speed which CPU will run at if Turbo was entirely disabled in UEFI.
    Reply
  • The difference between AMD and Intel is that AMD glued two 8 core Ryzens together which allowed for same clock speed as single 8 Core Ryzen. Unlike AMD, Intel didn't slap together two cpus like they did back in a day with q6600. To keep CPU cool with that many cores it is not easy. Whether you like it or not 7900x is a monster and performs great beating everything else on the market but for a hefty price.

    Since i don't have lot of money, i will get AMD ThreadRipper because offer the most otherwise if money was not an issue i would go with 18/36 i9.

    Having said that...there is no bad product here.
    Reply
  • bloodroses
    Ouch, Intel really wasn't ready for massive core scaling. With that said, I know they'd spent quite a bit of resources trying to improve per core performance, integrated graphics, and wattage usage due to the ARM threat they had on small devices with their Atom chip; which they lost. Things are about to get quite interesting on the AMD/Intel multi-core front.
    Reply
  • JamesSneed
    19958596 said:
    The difference between AMD and Intel is that AMD glued two 8 core Ryzens together which allowed for same clock speed as single 8 Core Ryzen. Unlike AMD, Intel didn't slap together two cpus like they did back in a day with q6600. To keep CPU cool with that many cores it is not easy. Whether you like it or not 7900x is a monster and performs great beating everything else on the market but for a hefty price.

    Since i don't have lot of money, i will get AMD ThreadRipper because offer the most otherwise if money was not an issue i would go with 18/36 i9.

    Having said that...there is no bad product here.

    TH should look into if this account was hacked, that was way to sensible coming from Freak. :na:

    Reply
  • Article says eight-core Core i9-7900X counterpart's 3.3GHz

    It is 10 core i9-7900X
    Reply