Intel's 28-core 56-thread powerhouse Xeon W-3175X is undoubtedly the most powerful processor ever released for the consumer market, but there has been some confusion regarding its availability as a boxed retail product. Several media outlets reported that the processors would only come to market in OEM and system integrator systems, a byproduct of Intel's own press release that states the same. But as we reported in our full review, Intel confirmed to us before launch that the processor will come to market as a boxed retail unit, albeit with no firm date set for availability.
True to Intel's word, the processor has now shown up at Newegg and the Tokyo Tech Plaza in Japan, which reveals an entirely new packaging design for Intel's new flagship. We expect more widespread availability from other retail outlets in the coming days.
Currently, only ASUS's ROG Dominus Extreme and Gigabyte's AX1 support the processors, and there were also reports that neither company planned to bring these motherboards to market outside of full systems. The Dominus Extreme is now listed for $1,799 at CompSource and ShopBLT.com.
Newegg has the Xeon W-3175X listed for pre-order for $2,977, but the processor is currently out of stock. If the eye-watering price tag gives you sticker shock, consider that it undercuts Intel's recommended $2,999 customer pricing by a whopping $20. And you get free shipping, too (/s).
Intel redefined its lackluster packaging with the Core i9-9900K's funky docdecedron, obviously as an answer to AMD's exotic Threadripper packaging, and that trend continues with the W-3175X. The Xeon W-3175X comes with a completely new packaging with a flap that opens to reveal the W-3175X in all of its glory.
Overclocking a processor always comes with some risk, killing a chip is easy, and that's even more of a concern when you plunk down $3,000 for a processor. Luckily, as listed on the inside of the flap, Intel offers a performance tuning protection plan for the processor. This plan gives you one shot at cooking the processor to death but getting a free replacement. This is an additional level of coverage beyond the standard warranty, so you have to purchase the plan separately.
Protection plan pricing spans from $30.00 for the Core i7-7700K up to $150.00 for the Core i9-7980XE. As such, we can expect the plan to cost even more for Intel's flagship product, but the company hasn't listed pricing for the W-3175X yet. We're following up for more detail.
Buying the W-3175X is the first step–you'll need to pair it with a ridiculous motherboard for overclocking. ASUS has you covered there, as CompSource, PC Canada, and ShopBLT.com all have the ridiculously-awesome ROG Dominus Extreme listed for sale. You'll have to plunk down ~$1,799 for the beastly kit, but you get a board that features two 24-pin ATX connectors, a quartet of eight-pin inputs, and a pair of six-pin connectors that feed the 255W chip through a ridiculous 32-phase power delivery subsystem.
Of course, these prices will restrict the number of customers interested in building systems with these ultra-high-end motherboards, but we expect that cheaper models will come to market in the future. As we noted in our review, we were able to easily overclock our liquid-cooled system with a single power supply. Intel tells us that the second power supply is really only needed for pushing the edge for waterchillers and LN2 cooling, so it makes sense that motherboard vendors will eventually come out with motherboards that only support one PSU, thus lowering prices tremendously.
Now that you have a chip and a board, it's time for cooling. The W-3175X marks the debut of the unique LGA 3641 socket for the consumer market, and as such, there are very few cooling options available. Asetek has its 500W 690LX-PN 360mm AIO cooler available for $399, highlighting the fact that nearly every component of a W-3175X-powered system will set you back some serious coin.
EKWB also has its EKWB EK-Phoenix 360 Annihilator cooler (foreground) coming to market. We used this beefier cooling for our overclocking efforts, and it is sure to please. However, we still await word on pricing and availability.