After the leaks, the announcements, and the controversy, the Core i9 reviews we’ve been waiting for are here. The embargo has dropped on the gaming hardware sites that have been putting Intel’s newest processors through the ringer, and we can finally see that it’s not just all one elaborate Intel PR move.
You can and should read the comprehensive reviews from Anandtech and Tom’s Hardware, but the conclusion is simple: for $1,000, the new Intel i9-7900X is the most powerful consumer processor you can buy today. It’s also $1,000, which doesn’t sound like a bargain, but it’s a whole bunch cheaper than previous 10-core processors that Intel has sold.
The 7900X beasted the older Broadwell-E Core i7, the previous 10-core champion. That processor also cost $1,700, well above the $999 Intel is selling the 7900X for. \
But it’s not as simple as saying the Core i9 is a great deal: AMD’s new Ryzen chip has about 70% of the performance for half the price, and the cheaper $329 Ryzen has respectable scores for something a third of the price.
One thing to note, though, is that both AMD and Intel’s new chips score most of the improvement in the raw computing department. Video editing and compression will be much faster than previous generations, but when it comes to gaming, there’s barely any improvement. Some of that will come with time, as developers learn to use the advantages of the new multi-core processors, but these days, graphics cards have a much greater effect on gaming than a CPU. Anandtech recommends that “if you’re a gamer you should probably wait for the platform to mature a bit more and for the remaining gaming issues to be fixed before ordering anything.”
Tom’s Hardware paints a similar picture, with the verdict suggesting that “Intel’s Skylake-X-based Core i9-7900X weighs in with 10 Hyper-Threaded cores and architectural enhancements that benefit many workstation-class workloads, such as rendering and content creation. The processor struggles in some games compared to its predecessor, failing to match the Core i7-6950X in several titles.”
Conclusion: the Core i9 is a fantastic, “affordable” consumer-level processor for anyone who needs to crunch big computational challenges. For gamers, it’s probably not the massive step up you might’ve thought.