Intel announces Core i9 Extreme Edition, "most extreme desktop processor ever" with 18 cores

Earlier this month, AMD revealed its monstrous new Threadripper processors, "targeting the world’s fastest ultra-premium desktop systems" with up to 16 cores and 32 threads. Today, Intel announced its own competitors in the high-end desktop space, introducing its new X-Series chips.

"The Intel Core X-series processor family introduces a series of firsts that reflect the extreme performance we are delivering," Intel said today. "This family includes Intel’s first teraflop desktop CPUs, a prime example of just how much raw compute these processors can handle. We’re also introducing the entirely new Intel Core i9 processor, representing the highest performance for advanced gaming, VR and content creation."

At the top of the range, offering over a teraflop of performance, is Intel's first consumer desktop CPU with 18 cores and 36 threads, the Core i9-7980XE, which will go on sale later this year for $1,999. Intel describes the i9 Extreme Edition as "by far the most extreme desktop processor ever introduced". But the new X-Series is larger than a single chip - there's a range of options to suit various budgets, delivering different levels of performance.

These options include Core i9 chips with 10, 12, 14, and 16 cores, priced from $999, all with a base clock speed of 3.3GHz. These are joined by a range of more affordable chips, with 4, 6, or 8 cores; the i5 CPU is priced at $242, while the i7 versions start at $339.

All of the latest X-Series chips run on Intel's new x299 chipset, replacing the x99 platform used by their predecessors. New x299-based motherboards and full desktop systems will be available "in the coming weeks".

Intel says it's also updating Turbo Boost Max 3.0, "which will now identify the two top performing cores and direct critical workloads to those cores for a big jump in single- or multithreaded performance." However, not all of the new chips it announced today will support it.

Further details about the new X-Series processor family can be found in this PDF from Intel.

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