Over the last few years, there has been a ton of newfound competition in the CPU space – reigniting the endless war of AMD vs Intel. Enter Skylake-X, Intel’s answer to AMD’s massively successful Ryzen and Threadripper CPUs.
First, a bit of backstory. Back in 2017, AMD revealed its Ryzen line of CPUs and caught Intel completely off-guard. For a minute, nobody knew how Intel was going to respond. There were of course rumors that Intel would announce Cannon Lake at Computex 2017, but that didn’t happen. Instead, Intel announced a new line of Core i9 processors aiming to reclaim the enterprise market.
And, in large part, it succeeded. Intel launched the Core i9-7980XE at Computex 2017, and while we all knew it was going to happen, we were still impressed by its beastly performance – even though it came in at a price that was prohibitive, to say the least. It isn’t over yet, though. Intel’s latest roadmap suggests that Skylake-X isn’t going anywhere, and we’re going to see a HEDT ‘Basin Falls refresh’ announced in October. We’re also going to get a 28-core HEDT Skylake-X A-series processor by the end of the year.
Keep this page bookmarked, as we’ll update it with all the Intel Skylake-X news that comes our way.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Intel’s high-end enterprise processors
- When is it out? June 2017
- What will it cost? From $389 (£329, AU$519) to $1,979 (£1,649, AU$2,729)
Intel released the lower-end Skylake-X processors immediately following their reveal at Computex 2017 with the Core i7-7800X, Core i7-7820X and Core i9-7900X. All of which released on June 19, 2017.
Intel didn’t stop there either, releasing three more enterprise-level processors over the following months in the Core i9-7920X, Core i9-7940X and Core i9-7960X all releasing by September 2017. Then, finally, Intel released the beast itself, the Core i9-7980XE in late September, absolutely blowing away the competition.
And, now that Kaby Lake-X chips are a thing – or, were a thing when they died unceremoniously – you might be thinking to yourself that all the fun ended with the 7980XE. However, Skylake-X isn’t dead yet. Intel’s latest roadmap shows a Basin Falls Refresh launching at the end of 2018, which will feature even better HEDT chips, including that 28-core A-series behemoth we saw at Computex 2018.
The biggest thing holding Intel Skylake-X chips from an easy recommendation is their price – they’re some of the most expensive consumer CPUs you can buy today. If you want to pick up a Core i9 processor for your latest build, you might actually need to sell your car first, as they start out around $999 (about £750, AU$1,340).
Now, the Core i7 Skylake X processors are a bit more reasonable, but you’re still paying to adopt a high-end platform, so don’t expect to base a budget build off of Skylake-X. Below you can find the pricing for all of the Skylake-X processors currently available.
- Intel Core i7-7800X: $383 ( £329, AU$519)
- Intel Core i7-7820X: $589 (£509, AU$799)
- Intel Core i9-7900X: $989 (£819, AU$1,309)
- Intel Core i9-7920X: $1,189 (£990, AU$1,589)
- Intel Core i9-7940X: $1,387 (£1,099, AU$1,899)
- Intel Core i9-7960X: $1,684 (£1,399, AU$2,279)
- Intel Core i9-7980XE: $1,979 (£1,649, AU$2,729)
As for the Basin Falls Refresh chips coming out later this year, we don’t know the pricing yet. However, we do know that the 28-core A-series chip is going to be extremely expensive – building a PC with that CPU slotted in will likely set you back $10,000.
This is where Intel flexes its silicon muscles with Skylake-X. If you have the cash, you’re going to have a hard time finding better performance from a consumer CPU. At least, until the CPUs Intel and AMD showed off at Computex 2018 make it to market.
With the Skylake-X Core i9 processors, you’re paying for core counts that are, frankly, bananas. Starting with the Core i9-7900X, you’re getting 10 cores with 20 threads – clocked at 3.3GHz with a boost clock of 4.3GHz and a 13.75MB L3 cache. Even at the baseline, the Core i9 processors are overkill for anything like gaming.
It only gets better from here. The Core i9-7920X includes 12-cores and 24-threads with a core clock of 2.9GHz that turbos up to 4.3GHz – with an even more impressive 16.5MB L3 Cache. Then, you have the Core i9-7940X with 14-cores and 28-threads, with core clock of 3.1GHz and boosting up to 4.3GHz. This is topped off with a whopping 19.25MB L3 cache.
Then, when you get to the top end of the Core i9 stack, you get processors that defy physics. The Core i9-7960X features 16-cores, 32-threads, a 4.2GHz boost clock and 22MB of L3 Cache. And, if that’s still not enough, the top-of-the-line Core i9-7980XE comes with 18 cores and 36 threads, clocked at 2.6GHz with a 4.2GHz boost clock.
If these absurdly high-end processors are a little out of your reach, there are still some high-performing Skylake-X processors that don’t cost as much as your car.
There are two Skylake-X Core i7 processors available in the Core i7-7800X and the Core i7-7820X. While they don’t reach the same highs as their Core i9 counterparts, they’re still worthwhile chips. The Core i7-7800X features 6-cores and 12-threads, clocked at 3.5GHz with a turbo boost of 4.0GHz. The Core i7-7820X is much beefier, with 8-cores and 16-threads, clocking in at 3.6GHz and boosting up to 4.3GHz.
Now, we’d actually recommend going with the Core i7-7800X or the Core i7-7820X for most average users. However, as you can see above, if your workload requires it, Intel Skylake-X allows for massive amounts of computational power – as long as you have the budget to support it.
Keep in mind, though, that none of these Skylake-X processors come with a heatsink in the box. However, if you’re using this high-end platform, you’re probably going to be using an aftermarket cooler anyways, so no big loss there.
Intel is rumored to release new HEDT chips in the near future, and we can’t blame it – especially when the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX and 2950X are out. However, we don’t know any actual specs. There is a rumor that the top end will be occupied by the 28-core, 56-thread A-series chip that we saw at Computex – but that’s all we know right now.
- Meanwhile, AMD is forging ahead with Ryzen Threadripper 2nd Generation