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The Hardware Show: Processador Intel Core i9-7900X – Review

he processor joke has gotten pretty serious this year. After the turmoil caused by AMD with its Ryzen chips and also with the announcement of the Threadripper models, Intel decided to roll up the sleeves and drop some surprises to give the change.

Announced during Computex 2017, exactly one year after the arrival of the processor Intel Core i7-6950X, Core i9 line comes to show that the manufacturer continues at a frantic forward to deliver more performance and technology to the consumer.

Although there are some doubts about the real power of the product, this new device stood out among the many recent ads, mainly because it is a chip aimed at the desktop market.

Belonging to the Skylake- X family , the i9- 7900X comes to repaginate the Extreme series , which gains a number of new members. This processor is manufactured with 14-nanometer lithographs, comes with ten cores (which means it can run 20 threads simultaneously) that run at 3.3 GHz and have a TDP of only 140 watts.

Of course this is not a big breakthrough if we think about last year’s component, which had very similar specifications. However, there are promises that it will be significantly higher than the i7-6950X and deliver good competition with Ryzen 7 and future Threadripper. It is worth considering that this news arrives with new socket and other details, being necessary to discuss these questions in detail.

Overall, the Intel Core i9-7900X is focused on tasks that use multiple cores. Now, the question remains: is it worth it for the consumer who wants to play or perform tasks at home? As usual, we spent a few days running multiple tests , including benchmarks and recent games. Check out our verdict now.


What is this new Intel Core i9 series ?

If you follow the hardware market, you may already know that Intel has split (or split until recently) its high- performance processor into three categories: entry, middle, and high performance . The input chips are labeled with the name Intel Core i3, intermediaries such as Intel Core i5 and the more powerful ones like Intel Core i7.

In recent years, with the idea of taking performance beyond what the Core i7 family could offer consumers who bet on desktop PCs, Intel launched model s with more cores and bold specifications that could deliver significant benefits to players and professionals needed Agility in processing.

The series of devices with more cores was titled Extreme , being integrated in the line Core i7 to avoid more confusion to the consumer. As competition progressed, Intel was forced to separate the latest and most robust models from the Extreme line into a new category: the Core i9 family.

Thus, currently, the brand has new models s Extreme , that are distributed between series Core i5, Core i7 and Core i9. The most affordable CPUs with this badge have been integrated into families already common, while devices with 10 cores or more fit in the Core i9 division – just to be sure, Intelplans to launch a chip with 18 cores.

What’s the idea of the new Intel Extreme family ?

First, it is important to note that the Intel Core i9 and the other processor es Intel Extreme this generation use the new LGA2066 socket, which has a lot more pins and requires more space on the motherboard. In addition, they require the latest X299 chipset to operate properly, which means that only new adapters are compatible.

In practice, this means that the current cards compatible with Kaby Lake chips or even those that were used with the old Intel Extreme can not be used for these unreleased models . Of course, having more setup costs can be considered a disadvantage, but Intel had a pretty interesting idea for these new chips.

The new processor es Intel Extreme come to take performance beyond what is possible in each row, that is, the Intel Core i5 Extreme delivers higher performance than any Core i5 common, and the same goes for the Core i7 Extreme . The good part of this new Extreme line is that all models use the same socket.

Now you can opt for an Intel Core i5 Extreme to start your gamer setup and, if you feel the need, you can switch to an Intel Core i7 or Core i9 later. Of course, all Extreme chips cost more than regular models , so that’s a worthwhile idea if you really want to invest in a more robust and dedicated series for overclocking .

Meet the Intel Core i9- 7900X

The Intel Core i9 – 7900X processor is one of the few members of the Skylake – X family . As discussed earlier, it has 10 cores and can therefore run 20 threads. Basically, nothing new in this part, since the i7-6950X has this specification. So, what changes? Well, Intel made a lot of changes on the inside.

Instead of having 25 MB of cache memory, such as the i7-6950X, this new chip comes with 13.75 MB of cache at the L3 level. The reduction at this point is rather curious, since given the similarities, such a shift may, in theory, cause some disadvantage in the processing part. Of course, we are only going to find out how much that impacts at test time , but such a change is at least intriguing.

In addition, Intel was able to raise the base clock to 3.3 GHz – the old i7-6950X was running at 3.0 GHz by default – and the turbo clock reaches an incredible 4.3 GHz. The Intel Turbo Max technology , which in certain cases can take the clock to 4.5 GHz automatically, always checking the voltage and temperature settings .

For you who do not know this technology, we will explain in detail. Suppose a particular software is programmed to take advantage of only two or four cores. In this case, instead of the processorincreasing the frequency of all cores, Intel Turbo Max technology allows to change the clock only of the cores that are in use.

Another advantage of this processor is its ability to work with absurd amounts of RAM. Designed for professional activities, this model can take advantage of up to 128 GB of DDR4 memory.

All of these features are beneficial to softwares that allocate a lot of data and require fast response from memory modules.

Test s performance

We performed some tests with the Intel Core i9 – 7900X processor to check the performance of the chip in different applications. The main goal here is to see how this model behaves when performing specific activities, such as graphical applications and benchmarks (which simulate different tasks that you would perform on a daily basis).

In the same way, we performed the tests on other CPUs , in order to verify the gain of this new Extreme processor compared to its predecessor (i7-6950X) and more common (and economically viable) chips, such as Intel Core i7 -6700K, the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X and the AMD Ryzen 5 1600X.

Machine used in the tests s

  • System: Windows 10 Pro
  • CPU: Intel Core i9- 7900X @ 3.30 GHz
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM Corsair DDR4 2.133 MHz
  • Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080Ti
  • SSD1: Intel 540s Series 480 GB
  • SSD2: WD Blue 1 TB
  • Source: Corsair AX1500i
  • Cooler: RioToro Bifrost 240mm

The platforms for comparison (with Skylake chips and AMD) had different motherboards – since they use other sockets. Video card, power supply, SSD and operating system were identical in all tests .


PCMark is focused on mixed tests , which simulate from the more traditional use of a computer, such as internet browsing, to playing movies and other tasks. We use Home Conventional and Creative Conventional checks to check machine performance .

The Home test is more focused on day-to-day tasks such as web browsing and running office applications. The result of the Intel Core i9- 7900X was very similar to the Intel Core i7-6700K, which shows that the advantages of this CPU are not as noticeable in routine activities.

In the Creative analysis, however, this Core i9 model is even more superior to Core i7 or even to Ryzen 7.


Cinebench is a test of benchmark that checks your computer’s capabilities for rendering three-dimensional graphics (using the OpenGL technology) as well as the main chip processing power of the machine for rendering images.

The focus of this analysis was to specifically check the potential of the CPU, so we did not run the OpenGL test . The CPU results were very surprising, proving that optimized software can have a significant advantage with the Intel Core i9-7900X .

The Core i9 was very agile to process several parts of the image separately, completing the job in half the time we see on an Intel Core i7 Skylake . Obviously, this advantage is reflected in the benchmarktotal score , which guarantees more than 100{60744f0919d53124c03a11d98318193fda80b8dce065a9d207ce3efef73ed2c9} gain compared to the Intel Core i7-6700K and almost 30{60744f0919d53124c03a11d98318193fda80b8dce065a9d207ce3efef73ed2c9} higher than the i7-6950X.


This ASUS benchmark performs a series of practical tests , simulating how the machine behaves on a daily basis. RealBench analyzes the power of the computer when editing images, encoding videos, working with OpenCL, and performing multiple tasks. The overall result indicates the machine’s capacity in points.

Considering the practical focus of this benchmark , especially with respect to multi-core situations (and effectively activating the 20 CPU threads), we can see that the Intel Core i9-7900X leaves the Skylake chip far behind. The result is not as expressive when compared to Ryzen 7, but it’s still surprising.


Ghost Recon: Wildlands

The new Ghost Recon: Wildlands is a very demanding game that can consume many processorresources . Of course, it should not be a very significant challenge for the Intel Core i9, because even slower CPUs account for taking the game with very robust boards. However, it’s worth testing to see if there are advantages to a 10-core chip.

Full HD


Rise of the Tomb Raider

The last title in the Tomb Raider series is already stamped in our benchmarks , so we decided to take tests to see if the Intel Core i9 could deliver some advantage in this game that uses DirectX 12 and impressive graphics.

The Division

The Division consumes a lot of computer resources, including constant processor performance . The game takes advantage of many filters and technologies to deliver visuals first. A feature present in it is the automatic benchmark system , something that facilitates the comparison between different systems.

Temperature and overclocking

To complete our analysis, we performed some temperature checks and also made adjustments to check the performance of the processor when configured to operate clockwise over what is specified by the manufacturer – that is, under overclocking conditions .

The checks were performed with the help of the RealTemp program, which records the values in real time, as well as stores information on minimum and maximum levels. We tested the CPU with two watercoolers: the Intel TS13X and the RioToro Bifrost.

Unfortunately, it is clear that watercoolers from one fan are not enough to cool the Intel Core i9-7900X . The maximum temperature recorded during the tests that used all CPU cores exceeded 100 degrees Celsius and we had situations where the computer even hung up.

When we ran the tests with the watercooler of two fans (the RioToro), the temperatures ranged from 60 to 80 degrees Celsius. This model also possible to run the test are to overclocking (4.7 GHz) when the values rose to about 95 degrees.

Speaking of overclocking , the Intel Core i9-7900X was not as comfortable with frequency changes. We were able to increase the clock by about 10{60744f0919d53124c03a11d98318193fda80b8dce065a9d207ce3efef73ed2c9} and maintain stable performance in all situations, but the adjustment to 4.8 GHz has already presented blue screen problems.

Worth it?

There is no doubt that the Intel Core i9-7900X is one of the most robust CPUs today. The results are very clear and evidence that it outperforms most of the ” common models ” with a significant margin in several situations.

Despite this, Intel’s new technologies as well as the advantage of multi-core (and HyperThreading) does not mean that it will be better in any and every application. There are several game or software scenarios that may not be able to take advantage of these benefits as well as there are cases where the overpowering CPU power can not make that much difference.

Overall, we can say that it is not a processor for ordinary players or even for most professionals. The advantages presented in the results show that it can be very useful in rendering software. In practice, a Core i5 or Core i7 may still present similar results, but of course with some extra time in processing time.

Unlike what happened with the Intel Core i7-6950X, the new Core i9- 7900X should not miss the single thread type of tasks to processor es Intel Core i7, so here we have an advantage in this evolution of the line Extreme . Thus, even with reduced cache memory, the substantial clock increase ensures good performance in any activities.

Of course, the main advantages of the i9- 7900X are more significant in tasks that take advantage of the multi-threaded feature. So if you’re dealing with image editing, 3D modeling, video rendering, scientific research, and other tasks, that processor might be a great choice – even better than the Intel Core i7-6950X.

Considering all this and also taking into account the purpose of this processor , it is obvious that we can not indicate it for games or common tasks, since even the Ryzen 5 and similar chips can have very similar results (for a lot more prices). It’s not designed to replace Skylake , so it’s not the right fit for anyone who’s going to play – not even for enthusiasts.

Finally, we have the price issue. The Intel Core i9- 7900X costs $ 1,000 ($ 3,195) in the United States, which already indicates that it really is not for any consumer. Here in Brazil, the values are close to R $ 5 thousand, so it is clear that it is not an affordable gaming chip.

So, if your beach are games, there are much cheaper options and they will serve you very well. Now if your business is benchmarking , rendering images or performing other tasks that actually use so many cores, perhaps the Intel Core i9 is an option. Now, let’s wait for AMD’s response to think which one is most cost-effective (as soon as AMD sends us a chip for testing , we can have a better conclusion).