Thermal Interface Material: The change to solder from paste as the thermal interface material between the CPU die and the internal heat spreader has resulted in many doors being unlocked for the 9980XE. For starters it lowers thermal barriers, allowing the CPU to run cooler. That thermal headroom then results in the ability for the CPU to run at faster frequencies.
Frequency Bumps: As the base, Turbo Boost 2, and Turbo Boost Max 3 frequencies have all been increased, so have the turbo tables it would seem. We can see the effect of the changed Turbo table in our gaming results and mixed workload results. All core maximum frequency appears to have also changed, as all core Turbo has gone up by a small margin from 3.4GHz to 3.8GHz (3.8Ghz is also AVX all-core). AVX 2(256) all core has gone from 3.2GHz to 3.3GHz, and AVX3 (512) is rated for 2.8GHz.
Platform Expansion : Intel offering up all 44 PCI-E 3.0 lanes from the CPU to all SKUs is excellent news for both CPU buyers and motherboard vendors. It should make motherboard design slightly better for PCI-E lane output, and since there are no 4-core SKUs, future boards that support 9th gen CPUs will hopefully be cheaper.
Motherboard Selection: Power consumption is very high, and you will need a powerful motherboard to fully support and overclock the 18-core 9980XE. Then again, if you are spending $2K on a CPU, you shouldn't cheap out on a $300 board, and you should get a board that is designed to support these new CPUs, although it will add on to the price tag.
We will say it; the 9980XE is what the 7980XE should have been, and Intel should have never used PTIM (paste) instead of STIM (solder), as the resulting gains are impressive for no other significant changes.
We are just happy Intel didn't raise the price of the CPU. What we like even more are those considerable gains in the turbo tables we obtained above, 200MHz across the board, and 400MHz from 14-18 core usage. Those are substantial gains and take advantage of the thermal headroom, but power is still going to be a bit higher. In the end, these CPUs will only be limited by cooling when it comes to overclocking.
While we were able to get above what we got when overclocking the 7980XE by a few hundredMHz, we don't think our stability test would have passed something like Prime95, which takes the CPU to the edge. You should expect the same overclocks that people with delidded 7980XEs are getting. Price is still very high, but we don't expect Intel to budge on it. Overall, this is a solid CPU with excellent performance, and since its predecessor won the performance award we see it fit to award the 9980XE the same.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Overall TweakTown Rating||91%|
The Bottom Line: With its new STIM, the 9980XE's extra thermal headroom allows it to reach frequencies its predecessor couldn't by a decent margin.
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