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Intel Core i9-7900X X-Series Skylake-X CPU Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Intel CPUs in CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: Jun 19, 2017 1:01 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: Intel

This is where you can fast forward to the final section of the review, and get a quick recap and points on the Core i9-7900X.

 

What's Hot

 

Cache, Mesh, and IVR: Intel knows how to build huge CPUs, it's basically a huge chunk of their business, and they have become pros at it. When news of the mesh hit, I went back and did some research, and it turns out that Intel had been doing its research for over a decade into the most efficient CPU interconnect technologies for HCC (high core count) processors. Obviously, it and the change to cache allocation have paid off, as we are getting more regarding overall multi-core performance than we expected.

 

 

Big Multi and Single Core Performance Jump: Skylake-X has done better than I expected regarding raw performance. Intel also went to great lengths to increase multi-core performance through cache reallocation and the mesh, but that took a hit on single core performance. To remedy this hit, Intel used its secret weapon - its 14nm process. Skylake-X can overclock all cores to 4.5GHz, and with ease, but further than that you are battling heat, not the capability of the cores. Out of their high clocking 14nm process Turbo Boost Max 3.0 is born, and now native to the OS, you don't need a driver.

 

Price: Some of you might not agree with me on this, as you can get 8-Ryzen cores for less than half this price, but you can now get the latest 10C/20T Intel CPU for $700 less than you could yesterday. Compared to itself, there is an apparent price drop that Intel probably wouldn't have provided if Ryzen didn't do what it did - competition helped us all!

 

Memory Overclocking and All Cores 4.5GHz: While 4.5GHz is what most 7900X will be able to do without much effort (you might need to manual set VCore to 1.25v, so the CPU doesn't go wild with itself), you can take memory upwards of 4GHz with ease. While that might not sound so impressive, what is impressive is that out of the gate, motherboard vendors have support for memory faster than 4GHz at launch, and that is impressive.

 

What's Not

 

Power and Heat: The 7900X is best for cold regions, where you might as well get your bang for the buck and game for free instead of running your central heater - energy is never destroyed, just transformed. All joking aside, high performance does result in high power consumption, and the 7900X is not an exception. The IVR (integrated voltage regulator), the mesh, and the higher core frequency all have some disadvantages: heat is one of them.

 

TIM: I am not sure why Intel didn't use solder, as they almost always do since the larger die size allows for it on their X99 CPUs, but the TIM isn't helping thermals when overclocking. De-lid tools are going to be in demand.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Intel did a great job addressing the market of content creators who figured out that Ryzen was basically a steal at its price point. It had the same multi-threaded performance as the 6900K, but for half the price.

 

Intel has addressed that by adding two more cores, increasing multi-core performance, and even increasing single core performance. Without Turbo Boost Max 3 and its boost to the 7900X's single core performance, we could have come to a different conclusion. However, since the technology will be native and not require a driver, we can applaud Intel for thinking about all aspects of the processor.

 

intel-core-i9-7900x-series-skylake-cpu-review_46

 

However, the road here was a rocky one, and many of us in the media had to retest the Skylake-X CPUs last minute to see the effects of the Turbo Boost Max 3. Since that road was rocky, we also saw vendors invent their own Turbo profiles, most of which throttled the CPU, but now that most vendors seem to have things under control, the public will probably not see the BIOS versions of weeks past. I also want to mention AVX512, as it shows Intel's commitment to increasing compute power in their latest CPUs.

 

They increased peak FLOPs eight times over four generations, and that can't be ignored. Whatever made Intel drop the price of their 10-core part, also made the 7900X an attractive CPU for those with the budget.

 

If anything, we know Intel won't just sit around and play the game as it has done for the past few years, and the 7900X is evidence of that.

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance98%
Quality90%
Features94%
Value85%
Overall TweakTown Rating92%

The Bottom Line: Featuring a beefy 10-cores, the Skylake-X 7900X brings much stronger performance at almost half the price compared to its predecessor.

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