Intel’s Core i9-7980XE and Core i9-7960X CPUs reviewed

On the bench today, we have the 16-core, 32-thread Core i9-7960X and the newest Extreme Edition CPU: the 18-core, 36-thread Core i9-7980XE. The Core i9-7960X is a core-for-core, thread-for-thread match against the Ryzen Threadripper 1950X, while the Core i9-7980XE lays claim to what is perhaps the highest core and thread count available in a “consumer” CPU today.

Of course, neither of these chips come cheap. The Core i9-7980XE lives up to its Extreme Edition lineage with an eye-popping $1999 sticker price, and the Core i9-7960X isn’t far behind at $1699. These price tags put the highest-core-count Skylake-X CPUs in a somewhat uncomfortable spot for a couple reasons. For one, that kind of money for a CPU is well within workstation-class territory, but neither of these CPUs do anything to address Threadrippers’ higher CPU PCIe lane complement or ECC RAM support. Recall that Threadripper CPUs and the X399 platform have both ECC RAM support and 60 PCIe 3.0 lanes directly connected to the CPU. Those resources are available from every Threadripper, too.

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