Not to be outdone by AMD with its Ryzen 9 processors, specs have leaked for the first ever Intel Core i9 CPUs. Slotting in at the top of the traditional Core i3 > Core i5 > Core i7 hierarchy, Intel’s Core i9 CPUs will be introduced alongside a bunch of new i7’s. Two of the CPUs are based on the Kaby Lake-X architecture, while a further four are based on the Skylake-X Architecture.
In total the six new processors we’ll be getting are the Intel Core i7-7640K (Kaby Lake-X), Intel Core i7-7740K (Kaby Lake-X), Intel Core i9-7800X (Skylake-X), Intel Core i9-7820X (Skylake-X), Intel Core i9-7900X (Skylake-X) and Intel Core i9-7920X (Skylake-X).
The pick of the bunch is the Intel Core i9-7920X, although that’s also the one scheduled to release last. The Core i9-7920X is due to launch in August, while the other five processors are scheduled for June. The i9-7920X carries a huge 12 Core / 24 Threads along with a 16.5MB L3 cache, while final clock speeds are yet to be determined.
The Intel Core i9-7900X will be available in June and comes with 10 Cores / 20 Threads and a 13.75MB L3 Cache. It has a base clock speed of 3.3GHz, rising to 4.5GHz with boost clock. That’s a really hefty boost made possible thanks to the new Turbo-Clock 3.0 technology.
The Intel Core i9-7820X will be available in June and has 8 Cores / 16 Threads along with an 11MB L3 Cache. Out of the box, it’s got a 3.6GHz base clock, rising to 4.5GHz boost.
From here we get a little more into sensible territory with the final i9, the Intel Core i9-7800X. This will be the most affordable of all the i9 processors, packing 6 Cores / 12 Threads along with an 8.25MB L3 Cache. It carries a base clock of 3.5 GHz and a boost clock of 4.0 GHz.
Rounding off the new releases are the Intel Core i7-7740K and the Intel Core i7-7640K. The 7740K is quad-core with 8 Threads and an 8MB L3 Cache. It runs at 4.3GHz base and 4.5GHz boost. The 7640K is the only new CPU without multithreading support, running with a quad-core / 4 Threads and an 8MB L3 Cache. It has a base clock of 4.0GHz and a boost of 4.2GHz.
Considering these are by and large high-end, enthusiast chips, it's a little bit disconcerting to see Intel cut the number of PCI Express lanes in all but the two most powerful processors. AMD is rumoured to be sticking to 44 PCIe lanes for all of its Ryzen 9 processors, meaning power users are effectively going to be forced to go for the very highest end i9 CPUs.
L3 Cache PCIe Lanes Base Clock Boost Clock Launch Price Intel Core i9-7920X Skylake-X 12/24 16.5MB 44 TBA TBA August TBA Intel Core i9-7900X Skylake-X 10/20 13.75MB 44 3.3GHz 4.5GHz June TBA Intel Core i9-7820X Skylake-X 8/16 11MB 28 3.6GHz 4.5GHz June TBA Intel Core i9-7800X Skylake-X 6/12 8.25MB 28 3.5GHz 4.0GHz June TBA Intel Core i7-7740K Kaby Lake-X 4/8 8MB 16 4.3GHz 4.5GHz June TBA Intel Core i7-7640K Kaby Lake-X 4/4 6MB 16 4.0GHz 4.2GHz June TBA
One final sticking point is that we don't have idea of the pricing just yet. I suspect Intel will be trying to keep its cards close to its chest until it can ascertain what pricing structure AMD is going to go for with Ryzen 9. Whichever one manages to undercut the other is going to win a lot of hearts and minds.
With an entirely new line of processors on the way, is anyone thinking of upgrading to Core i9?