Intel Core i9-7960X Review: Skylake-X At 16 Cores

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AotS: Escalation & Civilization VI

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation responds well to the addition of more host processing resources, and that's good news for Core i9-7960X's 16 cores and high IPC throughput.

The -7960X provides great performance at stock settings and even better results after some tuning. We did, however, encounter lower minimum frame rates from -7960X compared to the Core i9-7900X, though. The same behavior manifested on our -7980XE, so we suspect this issue is endemic to Intel's HCC die. You can see where the frame rates dip in our performance over time chart. This is accompanied by higher frame times in those problem areas.

AMD's Ryzen Threadripper 1950X lags behind, though it does achieve a higher minimum frame rate and 99th percentile measurement. The Threadripper models also don’t suffer as much during the latter stages of our benchmark.

Civilization VI AI Test

The Civilization VI AI test measures performance in a turn-based strategy game. Intel's Core i9-7960X offers middling performance at its stock settings, but benefits greatly from our overclocking efforts. It even outpaces an overclocked Core i9-7900X.

Civilization VI Graphics Test

Core i9-7960X trails most of the field, including a stock Ryzen 7 1800X, in its out-of-box configuration. Overclocking propels it to the top of our chart, though.

The tuned Core i9-7960X does encounter some turbulence during the opening stages of our Civilization VI benchmark, though, manifesting as a spike in the frame time variance chart.


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Paul Alcorn
Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech

Paul Alcorn is the Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech for Tom's Hardware US. He also writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage, and enterprise hardware.

  • lxd170
    Intel is the fastest when $ is no object, BUT AMD 1950 is a win for a average Joe.
  • mdd1963
    Please add yet another $500 for exotic liquid cooling....; well done, intel...
  • David_693
    I think there is something missing here: 'Similar to the other Skylake-X CPUs, the -7960X supports up to DDR4-2666 memory.'
  • David_693
    Also noted that one of the test systems uses an i5-7500k not i7
  • David_693
    Well, for now, my i7-7700k is no slouch, can't wait to see what the i7-8700K's will be able to do. No rush to upgrade yet as I've only had the 7700k since March. Thanks to AMD for pushing Intel to produce better options.
  • klipschkiller
    Really, Intel, is this a joke? Why release a chip that requires water cooling, have bad thermals and power consumption to previous AMD's bulldozer.
  • hannibal
    Well, it is good for competition that AMD have cooler and better behaving product this time compared to Intel. It forces Intel to do better next time!
    Go AMD go! And keep Intel in its toes! Better products, better prices (?) to the customers. I hope that Intel is forced to reduce the pricing...
  • zippyzion
    That is a supremely powerful chip... but, man... at what cost? I give a nod to the speed and power, but it is anything but practical. It isn't even that much faster than the competition in most tests, and a good deal of that competition comes from Intel themselves. It is really a case of, "why bother?". I'd suggest just getting the 7900 or the 1950 if you are looking at this segment. Why spend so much more for so little extra?
  • berezini.2013
    "Hail to the king baby"
  • phobicsq
    Intel needs to stop using paste and do it right. It's beyond comprehension that they charge a lot more and and yet AMD charges less and does it right.