The Bottom Line
Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Today we will take a look at Intel's i9-10980XE, which is the replacement part for Intel's 9980XE, but at less than half the cost. The CPU has the same TDP but also offers higher Turbo clocks. As the flagship of Intel's consumer series CPUs, the CPU is the best Intel is offering. However, the huge price cut is great news for consumers who want Intel's best and biggest CPU.
However, this price cut means that those who bought the 7980XE and 9980XE, both 18-core CPUs on the same design (14nm) and microarchitecture, might have some buyer's remorse since they spent more than double the price of this new CPU for almost the same thing. Let's see what Intel has in store for us.
The 18-core and 36-thread CPU has the same 3.0GHz base clock as the 9980XE but has a higher Turbo Boost 2.0 clock at 4.6GHz and a higher Turbo Boost Max 3.0 clocked at 4.8GHz. The CPU has the same 165w TDP and the same cache size. There aren't too many changes to the CPU itself other than some instruction additions such as Deep Learning Boost.
The Core i9 10980XE is priced at $979.
The CPU and Test Setup
The top of the CPU is the same as other Intel LGA2066 HCC CPUs, and since ours is an engineering sample, there isn't much to say.
The bottom of the CPU is also identical to the other LGA2066 HCC CPUs.
Steven's CPU Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: X299 Aorus Master
- CPU: Intel Core i9 10980XE
- Cooler: Corsair H150i Pro
- Memory: Dominator Platinum 3200MHz 4x8GB
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
- Storage - Boot Drive: Kingston KC2000 1TB
- Storage - USB Drive: Corsair Voyager GS 64GB
- Case: Corsair Obsidian 900D
- Power Supply: Corsair RM1000
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10
- Monitor: ASUS PA328 ProArt 32" 4K
- Keyboard: Corsair K70 LUX
- Mouse: Corsair M65 PRO RGB
- Headset: Corsair VOID RGB Wireless
CINEBENCH, wPrime, and AIDA64
Out of the Box Performance: CINEBENCH, wPrime, and AIDA64
AIDA64 FP and IOPS
AIDA64 Memory Bandwidth
AIDA64 Memory Latency
Intel's internal testing showed the 10980XE pretty much on par with the 9980XE, with a few percentage increases in multi-core performance. We found this to also be the case, with the CPUs being almost equal in those situations.
The single-core performance was much better than the 9980XE. Memory performance was pretty much equal.
Blender, Handbrake, ScienceMark, and SuperPI
Out of the Box Performance: Blender, Handbrake, SuperPI, and ScienceMark
HandBrake UHD Video Transcoder (x264)
HandBrake HD Video Transcoder (x264)
SuperPI Mod 1.5
In Blender, the 10980XE beats the 9980XE pretty easily. In Handbrake, both in encoding and transcoding, we see that the 10980XE is Intel's best CPU for the program.
In ScienceMark, we find that the 10980XE to be much more superior to the 9980XE. In SuperPI, we see the single-core superiority of the 10980XE.
UNIGINE and 3DMark
Out of the Box Synthetic Gaming Performance: UNIGINE and 3DMark
3DMark Fire Strike
UNIGINE 4.0 720p
UNIGINE 4.0 1080p
In 3DMark FireStrike and CloudGate, we see slight improvements over the 9980XE, but of course, the gaming CPUs like the 9900KS and 3950X do much better.
In UNIGINE, we find steady improvements in performance over its predecessors.
Out of the Box Gaming Performance: Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, GTA:V, Ashes of Singularity
Resident Evil 6 Benchmark
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Ashes of the Singularity
In Resident Evil 6, we see the 10980XE perform basically the same as the 9980XE. In GTA:V, we get some decent improvements both in average FPS and minimums.
In Rise of the Tomb Raider, performance is basically the same. In Ashes of Singularity: Escalation, we find pretty much the same performance levels, which we expected.
Overclocking and Power Consumption
The Core i9 10980XE actually sipped slightly less power at stock settings than the 9980XE, which we did expect to see as Intel improves its process incrementally.
We set input voltage to 2.1v, VCore to 1.3v, enabled XMP, set LLC to Turbo mode on our GIGABYTE motherboard, and set a 4.8GHz all-core clock. The CPU didn't throttle, and temperatures stayed within acceptable levels.
With a custom loop, we wouldn't be surprised to see people hitting close to 5GHz with some AVX2/3 offsets. Here we didn't use offsets, but we also aren't running Prime95. For comparison, our 9980XE did 100MHz lower all core clock during its review.
What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts
Here is where you can fast forward to the final section of the review and get a quick recap and points on the Intel Core i9 10980XE.
Price: Intel's Core i9-10980XE is less than half the price of the i9-9980XE, but it offers basically the same performance with the same core and thread count.
Single Core: Single-core performance is much better than its predecessor, and now it's almost on par with Intel's gaming CPUs in regards to single-core performance.
Overclocking: The Core i9 10980XE has better overclocking results than the 9980XE, and while we didn't push the CPU to its maximum, we did get some solid OC results.
X299: The same motherboard that supported the 7980XE will also support the 10980XE, so if you are coming from that CPU or any of its lower core-count brothers, you will not need to buy a new motherboard.
Not much of an upgrade from 9980XE: The performance of the 10980XE isn't that much better than that of the 9980XE, so this is pretty much the pinnacle of the X299 platform.
The 10980XE at half the price of the 9980XE makes it a no brainer when it comes to buying Intel high-end CPUs. It has excellent single-core performance for a Cascade Lake-X CPU, and multi-core performance is slightly better than that of the 9980XE. If you want the best Intel has to offer, the 10980XE is the best Intel has to provide for their X299 platform.
It makes the 9980XE obsolete because it's significantly cheaper and is basically a higher tuned product with mostly the same multi-core performance, higher single-core performance, and better overclocking.
We are pleased Intel brought their prices back down to pre-Haswell levels, so now their top CPU costs under $1000, and for that, this CPU offers significant value over Intel's previous HEDT CPUs from the past few years.
At less than half the price of its predecessor with roughly the same multi-core performance and better single core performance, the Core i9 10980XE is a no brainer if you want to go Intel high-end.