When Intel launched its new high-end desktop platform a few weeks ago, we were provided with Core-X CPUs from quad cores on the latest Kaby Lake microarchitecture, and 6/8/10 core parts on the Skylake-SP microarchitecture derived from the enterprise line and taking a different route to how the cache was structured over Skylake-S. At the time we were told that these latter parts would be joined by bigger SKUs all the way up to 18 cores, and up to $2000. Aside from core-counts and price, Intel was tight lipped on the CPU specifications until today.

Skylake-X goes HCC

The original Skylake-X processors up to 10 cores used Intel’s LCC silicon, one of the three silicon designs typically employed in the enterprise space, and the lowest core count. The other two silicon designs, HCC and XCC, have historically been reserved for server CPUs and big money – if you wanted all the cores, you had to pay for them. So the fact that Intel is introducing HCC silicon into the consumer desktop market is a change in strategy, which many analysts say is due to AMD’s decision to bring their 16-core silicon into the market.

Both the new HCC-based processors and the recently released LCC-based processors will share the same LGA2066 socket as used on X299 motherboards, and all the processors will differ in core count, with slight variations on core frequencies, TDP and price.

The Skylake-X line-up now looks like:

Skylake-X Processors
  7800X 7820X 7900X   7920X 7940X 7960X 7980XE
Silicon LCC   HCC
Cores / Threads 6/12 8/16 10/20   12/24 14/28 16/32 18/36
Base Clock / GHz 3.5 3.6 3.3   2.9 3.1 2.8 2.6
Turbo Clock / GHz 4.0 4.3 4.3   4.3 4.3 4.3 4.2
TurboMax Clock N/A 4.5 4.5   4.4 4.4 4.4 4.4
L3 1.375 MB/core   1.375 MB/core
PCIe Lanes 28 44   44
Memory Channels 4   4
Memory Freq DDR4 2400 2666   2666
TDP 140W   140W 165W
Price $389 $599 $999   $1199 $1399 $1699 $1999

Along with this, we have several release dates to mention.

  • The 12-core Core i9-7920X will be available from August 28th
  • The 14-18 core parts will be available from September 25th (my birthday…)

On the specification side, the higher-end CPUs get a kick up in TDP to 165W to account for more cores and the frequency that these CPUs are running at. The top Core i9-7980XE SKU will have a base frequency of 2.6 GHz but a turbo of 4.2 GHz, and a Favored Core of 4.4 GHz. The turbo will be limited to 2 cores of load, however Intel has not listed the ‘all-core turbo’ frequencies which are often above the base frequencies, nor the AVX frequencies here. It will be interesting to see how much power the top SKU will draw.

One question over the launch of these SKUs was regarding how much they would impinge into Intel’s Xeon line of processors. We had already earmarked the Xeon Gold 6154/6150 as possible contenders for the high-end CPU, and taking the price out of the comparison, they can be quite evenly matched (the Xeons have a lower turbo, but higher base frequency). The Xeons also come with multi-socket support and more DRAM channels, at +60% the cost.

Comparing against AMD’s Threadripper gives the following:

Features Intel Core
Intel Core
AMD Ryzen
Threadripper 1950X
Platform X299 X299 X399
Socket LGA2066 LGA2066 TR4
Cores/Threads 18 / 36 16 / 32 16 / 32
Base/Turbo 2.6 / 4.2 / 4.4 2.8 / 4.2 / 4.4 3.4 / 4.0
GPU PCIe 3.0 44 44 60
L2 Cache 1 MB/core 1 MB/core 512 KB/core
L3 Cache 24.75 MB 22.00 MB 32.00 MB
TDP 165W 165W 180W
 Price $1999 $1699 $999

We fully expect the review embargoes to be on the launch dates for each CPU. Time to start ringing around to see if my sample was lost in the post.

Related Reading

Update on 8/8:

Due to some sleuthing, PCGamer managed to obtain turbo frequencies based on per-core loading. I'm surprised Intel doesn't give this data out like candy when the products are announced, but we're glad to have it nonetheless.

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  • ImSpartacus - Monday, August 7, 2017 - link

    It's cool that Anandtech is marking the actual die used.

    Do we know the physical cores present on the LCC, HCC and XCC die?

    I know that it's not always straightforward since some die might always disable a core or two for yield purposes.
  • Ian Cutress - Monday, August 7, 2017 - link

    10, 18 and 28. They're 3x4, 5x4 and 5x6 designs, with two segments earmarked for the DRAM controllers. Consumer parts being LCC/HCC is easy - the change in the Xeon line naming has made it harder to determine which is which on the enterprise side.
  • ImSpartacus - Monday, August 7, 2017 - link

    It's interesting how two "segments" get occupied by memory controllers. That explains the "odd" core counts.

    Thanks for sharing that.
  • PixyMisa - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - link

    It's quite visible in die photos - they have a neat grid of cores, then two odd things that look completely different.
  • marc1000 - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - link

    I was wondering here... AMD finally wakes up, gives 16 cores to consumer, then Intel responds by giving 18. but that TR4 socket is big enough to fit the 32core design from AMD.

    So I strongly suspect that AMD will launch new variants of Threadriper based on the recent Intel announcements.

    5*4 (20 cores), 6*4 (24), 7*4 (28) seems like a given, as it would still save quite a lot of dies that are not able to go to Epyc. in fact this seems very clever and I have to give credit to AMD again: single die to all segments. not the best at the top and not the best at the bottom. but great value in all mid-range segments.
  • Avro Arrow - Thursday, August 10, 2017 - link

    I'm willing to bet that the TR-1960X (20-core) and TR-1970X (24-core) are already made, packaged and sitting in an AMD warehouse somewhere ready to ship. I would expect AMD to announce them two, maybe three days before the i9-7980XE's launch date. I don't expect to see a 28 or 32-core because I think that they need to have at least some distance from EPYC. Since Intel has decided not to make Skylake-X support ECC RAM, they have that divide between Skylake-X and Xeon. On the other hand, AMD, being AMD, has a significantly more attractive offering that DOES support ECC RAM so they have to try a bit harder to keep that divide between Threadripper and EPYC. It won't matter though because the i9-7980XE would be no match for the (theoretically-named) TR-1970X's extra six cores. Since Intel is still using the conventional monolithic manufacturing process, there's no chance in hell that they'll be able to react quickly enough if AMD pulls a stunt like that. I would personally die laughing if that happened.
  • marc1000 - Friday, August 11, 2017 - link

    fully agreed. 24 core to fight against 18 core would be a great marketing and technical feat, while still keeping a safe distance from epyc (but with the possibility to go crazy and reach 28 or 32).

    let's see what happens, those are exciting time - CPU wars again!
  • T1beriu - Monday, August 7, 2017 - link

    10, 18, 28 cores on LCC, HCC and XCC die.
  • jabbadap - Monday, August 7, 2017 - link

    "The top Core i9-7980XE SKU will have a base frequency of 2.6 GHz but a turbo of 4.2 GHz, and a Favored Core of 4.4 GHz. I suspect the turbo will be limited to 2-4 cores of load, however Intel has not listed the ‘all-core turbo’ frequencies which are often above the base frequencies, nor the AVX frequencies here."

    You don't have to suspect anything it is given information from intel all ready.

    Both are for 2 core loads, lower turbo boost 2.0 and higher turbo boost 3.0

    Just wondering how high those all core freqs will be, Amds 16 core TB 1950x has all core turbo of 3.6GHz. And by looking those intel xeons that could be in same ball park.
  • ddriver - Monday, August 7, 2017 - link

    High turbo clock announcements are to smear on the reality of the rather lousy 2.6 base clock. Because you know what, the target market won't run single threaded workloads for short amounts of time, such machines are being worked 100% of the cores at 100% of load for many hours a day.

    Basically, even this revamped xeon, sold 1500$ cheaper just to save face will not be able to match TR. Well, at least it has more cores, that's gotta count for something.

    I mean the 7980XE will have to squeeze out at least 30% more performance than then 18 core 2699 v3 to get a definite edge over TR. It has 13% of clock advantage, which will not translate in less than 13% performance increase, and like 10% IPC advantage, which would put it on par or a tad lower than the top of the line TR, I am taking CB performance here.

    Oh, and it costs twice as much as the TR... Oh and no ECC.

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