Intel Core i9-9980XE CPU Review: Still Too Expensive

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Far Cry 5, GTA: V and Hitman

Far Cry 5

Intel's Core i9-9980XE leads the high-end desktop field. But the Core i9-9900K, which drops into a more mainstream platform, is faster still. The Ryzen 7 2700X also fares admirably given its value-oriented price point.

Notice that the HEDT Core i9 models, -9980XE included, suffer a sharp dip in our 99.9th percentile measurements. In other words, they all incur notable frame time outliers during the benchmark run.

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V favors Intel architectures and, more generally, multi-core designs with high clock rates.

It’s no surprise, then, to see Core i9s up front in our benchmark. Ryzen Threadripper 2950X follows behind, offering solid performance at its price point, particularly after overclocking.


Our Hitman benchmark was rendered almost useless by a patch that imposed a 90 FPS performance cap. A subsequent update restored our test to its prior glory.

Hitman responds well to high core counts and clock rates, so our overclocked Core i9-7980XE is rewarded with a first-place finish. Remember, there wasn't time to tune the -9980XE before Intel's embargo. A stock Core i9-9980XE is faster than the -7980XE at its factory settings, though.


MORE: Intel & AMD Processor Hierarchy

MORE: All CPUs Content

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.

  • lperreault21
    so double the price per core with less than half the cores as the AMD equivalent, all within spitting distance in terms of performance, for a significantly more money, and no upgrade path on the socket (most likely) and a 4/5 ... wtf toms
  • rantoc
    How about just no for that price...
  • BulkZerker
    I'll pay about $950...
  • mikebabigian
    Does it fix all the Spectre problems? If not, then no way.
  • rs.anantmishra
    AMD's Ryzen Threadripper chips land quite a ways down our charts. With that said, we did test in AMD's recommended Game Mode.

    Does this turn off many of the TR's cores? If yes, then these benchmarks are no good right?
  • rs.anantmishra
    Also, why the hell this dude has included gaming benchmarks? This guy himself says that these are not gaming CPU's and then goes ahead and makes 3 of the 5 benchmark pages about gaming!!!!

    That's just super weird man! Are you sure what you're talking about???
  • rs.anantmishra
    This is just a terrible review. lol
  • velocityg4
    I'm curious as to why Adobe Premiere was not included in the Adobe tests? Premiere is one of the few Adobe programs which benefits from heavy multi-core performance. Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects are still mostly focused on one to a few cores.
  • pct8750
    Hi, Paul!
    Did Intel officially announce Skylake-X Refresh be manufactured on 14++ node?
    9980XE Stepping is the same as 7980XE.
    Stepping is 4, there is no change.
  • Kaz_2_
    Biased whole tome article dedicate to intel. This should be rated 2/5 like linus tech has said