After finally letting the world know about their progress with 10nm at CES, Intel has decided to stir the pot of high-end processors. The tech giant has decided to add to their i9 series with the expected i9-9990XE, which will sit one above the i9-9980XE. What’s interesting this time around is that you can expect to see this on retail shelves around the better part of never. That’s right folks, this processor is no ordinary high-end chip. Dare we say, it’s for the 0.1 percent of the computer world. This ‘off roadmap’ chip, as they are calling it, will be sold in closed auctions to select system integrators. These auctions will be held once every quarter, which makes four a year. From this information, the price cannot really be determined as chips could be sold anywhere in the range of thousands of dollars. However, what we can tell you is exactly how much of a monster this chip is.
The chip, for fair comparison, will be compared with the last best thing from Intel. Hence, we’re comparing it to its little brother, the i9-9980XE. The new chip has 14 cores and 28 threads compared to the 18 cores and 36 threads of the 9980XE. It’s an interesting route that Intel has taken with the 9th generation of processors in general. Fewer cores and threads yet higher clocks on the 9th generation of chips have people wondering how far the 8th generation can really be pushed, but that’s a discussion for another time. As for right now, the i9-9990XE will sport a base clock of 4.0 GHz and a boost clock of a staggering 5.0Ghz. 5 Ghz is higher than any chip has come with as standard and it’s a whole 0.5 GHz more than the i9-9980XE.
In terms of how power efficient the new chip is. Well, we may as well call it power hungry because the intel i9-9990XE has a listed TDP of 255W. By contrast, the 9980XE, with more cores and threads, is rated for 165W, 90W Less!
The socket for this chip will be the usual 2066 on the X299 platform.
The keen PC enthusiast will most probably have spotted something by this point. That being that the 9990XE shares the same core count and thread count as the 9940XE. We did too and this got us wondering if it’s the same cores and same threads, is it just a massively factory overclocked version of the same chip? or is it maybe the binned version of these chips that they decided to sell at a massive premium? if so then why didn’t they just do that with the binned versions of the 9980XE’s? this may all be just speculation but it makes for mighty fine dinner table discussion.
As far as the final word goes on the i9-9990XE, The first auction for the chip is scheduled for the third week of 2019. Furthermore, only 3 system integrators have been invited to participate. As far as the chip itself is concerned; where we can expect the performance to be a spectacle to behold, the power figures are cause for some concern. These chips are demanding quite a lot of power. With a lot of power comes a lot of heat. Even motherboards with actively cooled VRMs will be struggling to contain this monster of a chip at its maximum. But then, people who can afford to buy the chips through auction can probably also afford all the means to keep it running at peak performance.
It will be interesting to see what hands these chips end up landing in, and at what cost. Guess we’ll have to wait and see
Performance Figures courtesy of AnandTech