When Intel launched its new high-end desktop platform a few weeks ago, we were provided with Core-X CPUs from quad cores on the latest Kaby Lake microarchitecture, and 6/8/10 core parts on the Skylake-SP microarchitecture derived from the enterprise line and taking a different route to how the cache was structured over Skylake-S. At the time we were told that these latter parts would be joined by bigger SKUs all the way up to 18 cores, and up to $2000. Aside from core-counts and price, Intel was tight lipped on the CPU specifications until today.
Skylake-X goes HCC
The original Skylake-X processors up to 10 cores used Intel’s LCC silicon, one of the three silicon designs typically employed in the enterprise space, and the lowest core count. The other two silicon designs, HCC and XCC, have historically been reserved for server CPUs and big money – if you wanted all the cores, you had to pay for them. So the fact that Intel is introducing HCC silicon into the consumer desktop market is a change in strategy, which many analysts say is due to AMD’s decision to bring their 16-core silicon into the market.
Both the new HCC-based processors and the recently released LCC-based processors will share the same LGA2066 socket as used on X299 motherboards, and all the processors will differ in core count, with slight variations on core frequencies, TDP and price.
The Skylake-X line-up now looks like:
|Cores / Threads||6/12||8/16||10/20||12/24||14/28||16/32||18/36|
|Base Clock / GHz||3.5||3.6||3.3||2.9||3.1||2.8||2.6|
|Turbo Clock / GHz||4.0||4.3||4.3||4.3||4.3||4.3||4.2|
|L3||1.375 MB/core||1.375 MB/core|
|Memory Freq DDR4||2400||2666||2666|
Along with this, we have several release dates to mention.
- The 12-core Core i9-7920X will be available from August 28th
- The 14-18 core parts will be available from September 25th (my birthday…)
On the specification side, the higher-end CPUs get a kick up in TDP to 165W to account for more cores and the frequency that these CPUs are running at. The top Core i9-7980XE SKU will have a base frequency of 2.6 GHz but a turbo of 4.2 GHz, and a Favored Core of 4.4 GHz. I suspect the turbo will be limited to 2-4 cores of load, however Intel has not listed the ‘all-core turbo’ frequencies which are often above the base frequencies, nor the AVX frequencies here. It will be interesting to see how much power the top SKU will draw.
One question over the launch of these SKUs was regarding how much they would impinge into Intel’s Xeon line of processors. We had already earmarked the Xeon Gold 6154/6150 as possible contenders for the high-end CPU, and taking the price out of the comparison, they can be quite evenly matched (the Xeons have a lower turbo, but higher base frequency). The Xeons also come with multi-socket support and more DRAM channels, at +60% the cost.
Comparing against AMD’s Threadripper gives the following:
|Cores/Threads||18 / 36||16 / 32||16 / 32|
|Base/Turbo||2.6 / 4.2 / 4.4||2.8 / 4.2 / 4.4||3.4 / 4.0|
|GPU PCIe 3.0||44||44||60|
|L2 Cache||1 MB/core||1 MB/core||512 KB/core|
|L3 Cache||24.75 MB||22.00 MB||32.00 MB|
We fully expect the review embargoes to be on the launch dates for each CPU. Time to start ringing around to see if my sample was lost in the post.
- The Intel Skylake-X Review: Core i9 7900X, i7 7820X and i7 7800X Tested
- The Intel Kaby Lake-X i7 7740X and i5 7640X Review
- The Intel Core i7-7700K (91W) Review
- The Intel Core i5-7600K (91W) Review: The More Amenable Mainstream Performer
- The Intel Core i3-7350K (60W) Review: Almost a Core i7-2600K