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

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Project CARS, Far Cry Primal & Rise of the Tomb Raider

Project CARS

The Core i9-7960X offers leading performance against the rest of our field at stock settings, and tuning yields a solid 11.5% gain on average.

Given its price, the quad-core Core i7-7700K continues to complement our GeForce GTX 1080 well, while AMD's Ryzen Threadripper processors suffer in Game mode. Then again, we know this title slows down even more if you leave Threadripper in Creator mode, so Intel's advantage is likely a simple matter of getting more done per cycle.

Far Cry Primal

Far Cry Primal refuses to load on CPUs with more than 24 threads. Although we could have disabled eight of the -7960X’s threads, we instead chose to turn off half of them to match Ryzen Threadripper 1950X’s thread count in Game mode as an experiment. This gives us a look at “like” performance with the same number of threads.

The Threadripper models don’t take a lead, but they aren’t far behind after tuning. Meanwhile, Intel's Core i7-7700K shows why we don't typically recommend high-end desktop CPUs for gaming PCs.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

The Core i9-7960X unsurprisingly delivers impressive performance during our Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark, besting Core i9-7900X in stock and overclocked trim.


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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.