Intel Core i9-7900X, Core i7-7820X and i7-7800X Evaluate

As you probably know, Intel announced the new Core X-CPU series at this year's Computex fair, which not only consists of three or four but also nine processors. It is the largest selection of high-end desktop CPUs that Intel has ever announced. Today we will finally try out some of them.

After Intel has remained unchallenged for years, with the introduction of the Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 AMD chips, it is finally facing serious competition. These parts have managed to fire on Intel's mainstream offerings, and apparently that's just the beginning. AMD has also announced a high-end desktop series called ThreadRipper, which is expected to include a 16-core, 32-thread chip while costing significantly less than Intel's 10-core Broadwell E offering.

Speaking of Broadwell-E, the stitch from this series is still fresh in my head. The 10-core 6950X cost a staggering $ 1,700 (now $ 1,450), while the 8-core 6900K wasn't much better at $ 1,050 (now $ 900). Those looking for a 6-core Intel CPU had to spend at least $ 430 (now $ 370) on the 6800K, but also sacrificed 12 PCIe lanes (40 to 28).

Needless to say, Ryzen mocked 7 Broadwell-E and Intel had to counter it sooner rather than later.

In his hurry, the company introduced Skylake-X as an emergency solution. In a world where the Ryzen 7 1700 is available for $ 310, it seems fair to wonder if Intel can make it for the 8-core i7-7820X core, one of the new processors, which we are examining today to ask about double.

Higher in the food chain is the Core i9-7900X, the cheapest of the new Core i9 CPUs from Intel. At $ 1,000, it's the cheapest 10-core CPU we've seen from Intel. However, it remains to be seen whether it is low enough to be competitive with AMD. Likewise, the company's new 6-core i7-7800X costs $ 390 less, but is still way above the Ryzen 7 1700 mentioned above.

Intel's new series also includes a pair of quad-core parts, the Core i7-7740X and the Core i5-7640X, though we're not looking at these models yet. So far I've mentioned 5 of the 9 new Intel Core X CPUs. The remaining 4 parts are premium models with 12, 14, 16 and 18 cores, which will only be available later in the year.

The exam

Warning: We have already covered specifications and other related information about Skylake-X during Computex. Since our coverage of this launch is a few days late, it seemed best to get straight to the point. A big thank you goes to Asrock, who provided us with his X299 Taichi motherboard for testing together with a Core i9 chip. Thanks to Asrock, we came to this rating earlier, as Intel's samples were terribly late.

We are currently focusing on Skylake-X chips with fewer cores: Core i9-7900X, Core i7-7820X and i7-7800X, which are expected to be available before the end of the month. You will learn how the three new CPUs are compared. In addition to their number of cores and the obvious price differences, the available PCIe lanes have to be considered here.

For the full 44 lanes, consumers have to invest no less than $ 1,000, while the parts for $ 600 and $ 390 offer 28 lanes – the same amount as last season's 6800,000.

In addition to the previous generation 10-Core i7-6950X, the Core i9-7900X looks impressive. You get the same number of cores and threads while paying ~ 40% less. You will also get a few more PCIe lanes and of course an updated CPU architecture, which I will discuss in a moment. Compared to the 2014 flagship Core i7-5960X, you can expect more cores and a higher operating frequency at the same price.

AMD ThreadRipper will pack up to 16-core / 32-threads and is expected to cost no more than the Core i9-7900X, although official prices have not yet been confirmed. What we do know is that the ThreadRipper platform will offer an incredible 64 PCIe lanes, while the CPUs will pack a huge 32 MB L3 cache.

Although we can't compare the new Skylake-X chips to ThreadRipper, we can see how they're compared to AMD's existing Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 parts.

Previously, we had a memory speed of around 2666 MHz for Broadwell E processors like the 6950X and 6900K. The Skylake-X models were happy to accept the 3600 MHz Xtreme memory profile of our G.Skill TridentZ RGB 32 GB memory kit. However, we thought that 3200 is a better speed for this test until we know how many memory modules, X299 motherboards, and Core X CPUs can reach that frequency.

Operating the memory with DDR4-3200 resulted in an enormous bandwidth of 63 GB / s for the Core i9-7900X, and the 6-Core 7800X also achieved a throughput of approximately 60 GB / s. Compared to the previous generation 10-core 9650X, the 7900X increased storage performance by around 18%.

Synthetic & application benchmarks

AMD's Ryzen 7 series is impressive in the Cinebench R15 multithread test, and as you can see, the 8-core CPU makes the 6900K shutdown relatively easy. In fact, the 1800X is not much slower than the 6950X with 10 cores, largely thanks to the higher operating frequencies.

However, the Core i7-7820 and its higher clock speeds make up for this. It roughly corresponds to the 6950X and offers an increase of almost 20% compared to the 6900K. The 6-core 7800X also outperforms the Ryzen 5 1600X – convenient for the single-core result.

Then we have the big daddy, the Core i9-7900X and its amazing score of 2201 points, which makes it by far the most powerful desktop CPU we've ever tested. The single-thread result is also impressive and is on the level of the 7700K.

If you want to compress and decompress archives in a hurry, you should consider this, because at least at the moment there is no desktop CPU that is as fast as the Core i9-7900X. The 7900X was 17% faster than the 6950X in this test, while it was 19% faster than the Ryzen 7 1800X when decompressed. When it comes to compression, Ryzen is nowhere near as efficient, so the 7900X was 65% faster for this test.

The 6950X was always a beast in Excel and only took two seconds to get the work done. This isn't a memory sensitive test, so the extra bandwidth doesn't really help the 7900X pull miles forward, but still offers an 8% increase in performance. In the meantime, the 7820X has measured itself against the Ryzen 7 1800X, and the higher clocked 7800X corresponds to the 6900K.

The PCMark 10 Essentials benchmarks aren't really designed to take advantage of heavy core CPUs, but rather simulate the everyday way people use a PC. The workloads from this test that we're looking at include Internet browsing and video conferencing.

As you can see, with its superior clock speed, the 7700K is the best for internet surfing. However, thanks to the strong single and dual core performance, the 7900X is still good, just like the other Skylake-X CPUs. The video conference test is more core-intensive and therefore the 7900X is 8% ahead of the 7700K, but can only reach the Ryzen 7 1800X.

The productivity test group measures system performance with everyday office applications, namely viewing spreadsheets and writing workloads. Again, no test using the workstation-class hardware, so quad-cores like the Core i5-7600K are still great here.

The digital content creation test group reflects the requirements of working with digital content and media. The tests include photo editing, rendering and visualization, as well as video editing. The graphic above shows the performance of the first two test groups. The following graphic shows the video editing.

As expected, the Core i9-7900X performs well in these tests and outperforms the Ryzen 7 1800X by 33% in the rendering test, although it was only 2% faster in photo editing because it uses far fewer cores.

Finally, we have the PCMark 10 video editing results, and again, editing is usually not as stressful for the CPU, and few editing applications use more than a few cores. This is certainly reflected here because the 7700K was by far the fastest CPU tested. The Core i9-7900X also did business, but wasn't much faster than the 1800X.

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