Summer 2017 saw a new round of Intel CPU releases, this time they are updating their ‘Enthusiast’ processor line up, replacing the Broadwell E chips with newer, more powerful Skylake X models.
We have put together your need to know information here so you know what the chips are good for and whether they will make short work of your workload.
The Enthusiast Range
The top performing computer processors on the market have been made by Intel for the past 5 – 10 years or so, there are some other chip manufacturers like AMD however they have not been able to match the performance levels of Intel for a very long time.
Intel have 2 series of CPU’s, mainstream and enthusiast, and within each series there are various CPU models which perform at different speeds and can handle different types of workloads.
The mainstream chips are what most people use, the latest series are the Kaby Lake chips which arrived in January 2017 and replaced the older Skylake mainstream chips.
Mainstream CPU’s tend to offer good levels of performance (at the higher end) and are generally lower cost than the Enthusiast chips.
The Enthusiast lineup are more expensive but can offer much greater performance under certain workloads, although not all.
What’s New With Skylake X?
These new chip releases under the Skylake X family generally improve both single core and multi-core performance levels over what Broadwell E offered.
There are some new motherboards to go with them which are the new X299 boards, and again, these use the newer DDR4 RAM which Broadwell E used, as do the mainstream Kaby Lake now a days.
At this time there are 3 Skylake X chips to choose from, the first is the i7-7800X which is a 6 core chip, then we have the i7 7820X, an 8 core CPU, and completing the range is the top i9 7800X chip which has massive 10 CPU processing cores on it.
It should be noted that this is the first i9 branded chip that Intel have released, previously they stopped at i7 (there are also i3 and i5 chips in the mainstream series).
So you can probably guess, i9 means top performance.
Performance Jumps over Broadwell E
Identifying the performance of a specific CPU is a difficult task, some processors are good at certain tasks, others are better at other tasks, so giving an overall figure to performance improvements will not be very straightforward or useful.
That being said, the ever reliable Anandtech.com have put together an indepth review of the new Skylake X chips v’s Broadwell E and some of the new AMD processors, definitely have a browse through their benchmarking charts, they are worth a look.
To sumerise the findings are (generally) as follows, for single threaded applications or processes the new Skylake X chips outperform the outgoing Broadwell E and the latest AMD processors, at times by up to 10%.
For multi-threaded applications (ones that can use lots of CPU cores) then the i9 essentially wipes the floor with anything that it is compared with, and whilst the i9 is the most expensive chip in this new lineup, it is worth noting that it is over Ł550 cheaper than the outgoing Broadwell E 10 core CPU which it comfortably outperforms in pretty much every benchmark.
From a price / performance point of view it offers a massive improvement.
More Chips to Come
These 3 Skylake X chips are the first to be released however there are 4 more chips in this series planned for later on in the year.
The 4 new chips will feature 12, 14, 16 and 18 cpu cores respectively meaning they will be beasts running multi-threaded applications, they are expected to have a lower clock frequency though which may make them lose out on certain workloads.
They will be highly expensive as well, take that as a given.
AMD, after years in the wilderness, have some new high core count processors on the near horizon as well, expectations of performance are quite high and AMD’s offerings tend to be lower priced than Intel’s, so as soon as we get hold of some test samples we will report back.
It may well be that we start to offer an AMD solution as part of our range, something we have never done as yet.
Skylake X in your new Multi-Screen PC
We have always offered our customers Intel’s enthusiast chips in our Extreme PC series, that will continue and as of right now all Extreme’s will ship with the i7 7800X 6 core CPU as standard.
The 7820X 8 core and the i9 7800X 10 core are available upgrades in the options for that PC.
As ever, I hope you found this a useful overview of the Skylake X chips and if you do have any questions about them, or anything else, just let us know.
Written by Darren @ Multiple Monitors
Last Updated: July, 2017