Intel’s 18-core processor peaks above 6.1GHz with liquid nitrogen cooling

Intel’s new monster Core i9 processors boasting 18-cores and 16-cores have just gone on sale, and Asus has set some blistering new records overclocking these CPUs with its ROG Rampage VI Apex motherboard.

Using the Core i9-7980XE 18-core processor (with a base clock of 2.6GHz, Turbo to 4.2GHz) cooled with liquid nitrogen to around -100°C, expert ROG overclocker ‘der8auer’ managed to push the chip to 6.104GHz across all 18 cores (at 1.55V).

All without the CPU being reduced to a melted pile of goop, although the system wasn’t stable enough to run benchmarks at this speed.

To get some testing done, things had to be toned down to 5.6GHz with a voltage of 1.45V, at which point the multi-threaded Cinebench R15 benchmark could be run – Asus notes that there was almost 1000W coursing through the system.

The Cinebench R15 CPU score notched up was 5,635, a mind-boggling figure when you consider it almost doubled the previous record of 2,990 (another overclocker, ‘elmor’, pushed the chip even further to set a new record of 5,723).

New records were also achieved in 3DMark Vantage 2x with the CPU at 5.66GHz, with Italian overclocker ‘Rsannino’ achieving a score of 138,185 (compared to the previous record of 135,813).

He further blew away the Geekbench3 multi-core record – which stood at 48,004 – with a score of 92,307, again a massive leap.

Core i9 blimey

Furthermore, Rsannino clocked the Core i9-7940X (with 14-cores, base clock 3.1GHz) up to 5.7GHz, and again set a new Cinebench R15 record (4,339 compared to the previous 2,424) along with Geekbench3 multi-core (70,618 eclipsing the previous record of 40,155).

A load of other new highs were reached, and you can see the full list of benchmark records in this Asus article.

As ever, these sort of liquid nitrogen shenanigans are a far-cry from real-world overclocking and performance, but you can still gauge the relative power of Intel’s new monster processors in terms of how much they blew away the previous (equally super-cooled) records.

Of course, should you be tempted to invest in Intel’s flagship 18-core CPU, you’ll need deep pockets as it retails at $1,999 (about £1,480, AU$2,510), but it is exceptionally powerful, as these benchmarks illustrate – and as we found out in our full review.

However, it costs twice as much as AMD’s 16-core Ryzen Threadripper 1950X.

  • Maybe Black Friday will give us some hot deals on Core i9 CPUs

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).