Just in time for the much-anticipated reviews of AMD's Threadripper HEDT processors this Thursday, Intel is once again attempting to steal some of its competitor’s thunder by strategically unveiling the complete details of its high-end desktop processor lineup, revealing final specifications and pricing for 12-, 14-, 16-, and 18-core models.
Intel's lineup until today had peaked with the Core i9-7900X, the 10C / 20T Skylake-X. Conversely, AMD's Threadripper will debut with the 1950X (16C / 32T) and 1920X (12C / 24T). More than likely, AMD has a few more unannounced processors in its product stack, but for now we can get a better sense of the price/performance mix.
Intel's 18-core i9-7980XE 2.6GHz base clock speed may seem a bit low, but it’s the chip’s 4.2GHz Turbo Boost 2.0 and its 4.4GHz Turbo Boost 3.0 clock speeds that are impressive--especially considering this is an 18-core processor. All that performance comes at a price though. Intel's cream of the crop 18-core i9-7980XE processor costs a staggering $2,000 or $111.11 per core.
Let’s take a moment and put some perspective on pricing shall we? Intel’s i9-7960X 16C / 32T CPU is relatively cheaper than the i9-7980XE but, at $1,699, it is roughly $700 more than AMD’s flagship Ryzen Threadripper 1950X processor. Things aren’t much better in the middle of Intel’s product stack; the 12C / 24T i9-7920X will set you back $1,100 compared to AMD’s 1920X $799 MSRP. Further down the spectrum, pricing on Intel’s i7-7820X 8C / 16T processor is much more in line with AMD’s 1900X CPU, with only a $50 difference between the two CPUs. So, while Intel has the IPC advantage and higher clock speeds, AMD’s parts on the high end have a significantly price advantage.
What does all this mean? Simply put, end users faced with a platform upgrade could buy an AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X processor, a new TR4 motherboard, and a high-end graphics card for the same price as a single i9-7980XE processor.