After years of just the Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7, Intel decided they need to make a statement at Computex 2017 — especially with AMD making a lot of waves with their Ryzen processors. At the Intel keynote in Taipei, Vice President Gregory Bryant confirmed the rumors and unveiled the company’s new enthusiast Core X CPUs, along with a superpowered Core X i9 line that is without equal — for now, anyway.
While gaming and VR are driving the development of these new chips, they aren’t exactly made to run those things better individually. The Core X line is all about multitasking, enabling high-end gamers to play games, interact with others in shared VR spaces, stream their gameplay, chat, render video, and play music all from one machine.
That explains why the new Core X CPUs are going to have so many more multi-core options. Blowing past four cores, the new line will have chips that go all the way up to 18 cores and 36 threads. That means these chips will be able to handle more processes at one time than chips with fewer cores, so all that multitasking can happen without slowdown (or without the CPU just about catching fire). The Core X CPUs also feature Intel’s Turbo Boost Max 3.0 tech, which helps route the most processor-intensive tasks to the best performing cores on the chip — a bit of optimization that helps guarantee you get the most out of your CPU.
The crown jewel of the Core X line will be the i9 chips. There will be multiple chips available, from 12 cores/24 threads up to the monster 18-core/36-thread option. And make no mistake, we’re well into enthusiast territory here — just those CPUs alone will all cost $1,000 and up.
One thing enthusiasts should note is that these new Core X chips can’t be swapped in for existing chips. They’re part of Intel’s new X299 platform, which means new motherboards are in order. X299 motherboards from several brands have been announced at Computex in parallel with Intel’s big reveal, so while supply won’t be a concern, it’s another purchase that will have to be made.
As impressive as that 18-core/36-thread Core X i9 is, we might not be ogling it for too much longer. AMD was also the subject of many Computex rumors this year, and they could have more to say about their upcoming 16-core/32-thread processor, dubbed Threadripper. The AMD press conference is set for tomorrow, so we’ll know more about this suddenly very competitive high-end CPU war soon.
Check out more of our Computex 2017 coverage right here!
Disclosure: Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), an organizer of COMPUTEX, covered our travel expenses to attend COMPUTEX 2017. All thoughts and opinions are 100% our own.