There's no question that the resurgent AMD Ryzen processors are pressuring Intel in the mainstream CPU market. Until now, Intel has stood unflinching in the face of the renewed competition and has stoically left its price structure unchanged (except for the Core i3-7350K). And AMD's recent announcement of its beefy 16-core/32-thread ThreadRipper processors made it clear that the company intends to bring the fight to the high-end desktop segment as well.
It was only a matter of time before Intel answered, either via lowering its prices or adding more cores. With the release of its new Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X products, it appears to be doing both. Intel announced several new high-end SKUs here at Computex 2017 in Taipei today, targeting gamers and content creators who need incredible amounts of power in their PCs.
Intel is segmenting its new X-Series lineup into i5, i7, and, for the first time, i9 processors and increasing the core counts. Surprisingly, the company is offering a much lower price point for its core-heavy i9 series. The new Skylake-X 10-core retails for only $1,000. Intel's new branding scheme finds the Skylake-X i9 series with 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18-core models with hyperthreading, which leads to a massive 36 threads on the high-end Core i9-7890XE. The i7 series spans four, six, and eight cores with hyperthreading, while the i5 series has a lone four-core, sans hyperthreading.
And perhaps most interestingly, we're seeing a jump in clock speeds for the high end lineup. The i9-7900X features a mundane 3.3 GHz clock, but that jumps up to 4.3 GHz with TurboBoost 2.0, and an impressive 4.5 GHz with TurboBoost 3.0. That implies there's plenty of room for overclocking.
Intel's also reorganized its cache subsystem to boost performance. Along with the normal advances borne of better process technology, the company claims the i9 series offers 15% more performance for single threaded workloads and 10% more for multi-threaded workloads.
Andrew E. Freedman contributed to this report.