Intel 18-core Cascade Lake-X leak gives us a glimpse of the CPU’s might

Intel Core i9-10980XE
(Image credit: Future)

Intel’s 18-core Cascade Lake-X flagship has been spotted again, or at least a benchmark of a processor (CPU) which appears to be the incoming Core i9-10980XE has appeared online.

As highlighted by @momomo_us on Twitter, the Geekbench 4 result shows an 18-core (36-thread), high-end desktop CPU which is presumably the i9-10980XE, with the spec and benchmark results roughly matching up with past leaked details we’ve seen ... with one caveat – more on that later.

The CPU is once again ensconced in a Dell Precision 5820 workstation, and the system information in the Geekbench database reports a 2.46GHz base clock speed with Turbo to 3.93GHz.

That looks much more peppy than the speeds we witnessed in an alleged 18-core Cascade Lake-X benchmark in August, just a month ago, which was likely an earlier engineering sample (it had a base clock of 2.19GHz with boost to 3.28GHz, which we noted looked pretty weak at the time).

This fresh leak also shows that the purported Core i9-10980XE keeps the same cache configuration as the prior 9980XE 18-core flagship.

What’s also interesting is that Tom’s Hardware scrutinized the Geekbench report file and reports that the benchmarking utility registers the Core i9-10980XE with a minimum CPU frequency of 4,108MHz (4.1GHz) and max frequency of 4,779MHz (nearly 4.8GHz).

Cores for concern?

As we saw above, in terms of the actual Geekbench 4 results themselves, the 18-core chip recorded a single-core result of 5,381 with multi-core hitting 51,514.

That’s a decent lick faster (4%) than the predecessor 9980XE which in comparison reached 5,174 in single-core, and as Tom’s notes, the system it was in benefited from faster memory, too.

And while the single-core result is bang in line with what we saw with the previous leak for the alleged 18-core Cascade Lake-X chip, multi-core is definitely out of whack – this is the caveat we mentioned earlier – and barely any faster than the outgoing 9980XE. That can’t be the case for obvious reasons, so it seems there’s some kind of error in the benchmark, with no other plausible explanation. 

Save that all this is faked, of course – which can never be ruled out with these sort of leaks.

At any rate, assuming the multi-core result is simply an error of some kind, it’s good to get a confirmation of single-core performance levels, and the higher clock speeds that the Core i9-10980XE looks set to run at (compared to what we saw in that previous 18-core leak).

One question that remains is how high those clock speeds might be set for the production chip, and how, in turn, that might push the thermal design power (TDP) threshold up – because as yet we don’t know anything about the power consumption of this CPU.

Via Tom’s Hardware

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).