Benchmarking the Core X-Series


Buy Intel Core X series CPUs!




AMD launched Ryzen earlier this year, and it finally gave the CPU market a much-needed shakeup. AMD hadn’t competed with Intel in the high-end CPU space for a long time, and suddenly, people were drowning in more cores than they could shake a video render at. Well, Intel was shaking, they were shakin’ in their boots, I’ll tell you what, so they had to just.. Get some cores,… throw some cores in a …thing, get it, get it out there! And that’s the Core X-series.


Of course, I’m being a little facetious. These new Skylake-X CPUs are impressive in their own right, and, until AMD brings Threadripper onto the scenes, it looks like Intel’s Core-X series CPUs and the X299 platform again hand the performance crown to Intel. Sort of. Let’s talk about that.


As I mentioned, I’ve got 3 of Intel’s Core X series chips here. The 6-core Core i7 7800X, the 8 core Core i7 7820X, and the 10-core Core i9 7900X, which is the top model for this batch of Core X-series processors. Each has slightly lower clock speeds than the Kaby Lake X CPUs, but they have decent Turbo Boost speeds, and the 7820X and 7900X have a Turbo Boost Max 3.0 speed on top of that, so, that SHOULD bring their single core performance up a bit more than Broadwell-E was able to manage. The 7900X is the only part out of these of having all of those 44 PCIe lanes, so it gets the special “i9” designation and a price tag of 999, where Intel’s previous 10-core, the i7 6950X, went for 1700. But that was before AMD put the low-price pressure on, bless them.


We’ll be testing these against our numbers for Intel’s own Kaby Lake i7 7700K, and the Ryzen processors we had on hand. Our test system is the same as the one we used for the reviews for those CPUs, with 32GB of G.Skill TridentZ DDR4 memory, although it’s in quad-channel now, and an ASUS Strix GTX 1080.


Of course, we’re using a different motherboard though, MSI’s X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC. We’ll be going over the upgrades that the X299 chipset brings to the table over X99 in a future video, but this particular motherboard suited our needs just fine. It’s got two m.2 slots, a Turbo U.2 port, excellent audio quality with Audio boost, and 4 swappable accent plates to customize the look of your motherboard. It comes with carbon fiber ones by default, but MSI was awesome enough to make us custom NCIX Tech Tips covers! They’re so good to us.


Alright, so now we know what we’re dealing with, let’s get into the tests. I had to test 3 CPUs, so I’ll just be doing some basic performance tests, which shouldn’t be super surprising to regular viewers. I tested pure CPU performance in Cinebench, CPU-Z, and Handbrake, with game testing in Overwatch for a single-core intensive shooter and GTA V for a bit more multi-core gaming.


In Cinebench, we see a pretty predictable spread, with increasing single and multi-core performance going up the stack. I’ve seen some tests showing the 7900X getting single core performance on par with the 7700K, but I didn’t see that here. The Kaby Lake part still beat out every Core X-series chip in single core scenarios. And the two new Core i7s also beat out every Ryzen chip I tested in Cinebench, although I did not have a Ryzen 7 1800X on hand to put up a real fight.


My Handbrake video encoding test showed a slightly different story, with the Ryzen 7 1700X beating its most direct competitor in price, the Core i7 7800X in encoding time. But other than that, the 3 newcomers beat out the rest of the stack. Now, CPU-Z annoyed me this time, because they changed their benchmark back in May, so, I couldn’t directly compare my old numbers to my new ones. But. There are the numbers from the new benchmark if you want to see that. CPUz. Pah.


Now for the games, Overwatch is always slightly irritating for me to bench, as it gives me some weeeird numbers sometimes – it appears that each new Core X-series CPU got around the same performance in Overwatch because the game is so GPU intensive, so I’ll probably stop using that for CPU reviews. GTA V, however, is great for multi-core tests, and we can see that in the fact that the Ryzen 1700X again beat the Core i7 7800X AND the 7820X at 1080p and 1440p. We also got to see the Core i9 beat the 7700K in 1080p, although at 1440p they were pretty much on par. I didn’t test at 4K, but I’d wager those two parts would be closer in that scenario as well.


So, to wrap things up, it appears that once again Intel has crowned themselves the owner of the most powerful multithreaded desktop chip with the Core i9 7900X. How long its reign will last remains to be seen, as AMD is bringing Threadripper in the near future. But, then Intel will also be releasing its 12, 14, 16, and 18-core processors by October. It’s never been more exciting, and laborious, to shop for CPUs. To be honest, guys, it was easier when it was clear what the best CPU was for a given thing. But, options are good, and it’s great to see the CPU market heating up again.


Now, this was for sure some pretty surface-level content, but we’ll have more X299 videos coming up in the next couple weeks, so stay tuned for those. If you are interested in getting one of the new Core X-series CPUs, or anything else you need for your PC, you can click the button in the corner to shop at NCIX. There’s weekly sales and weekly weekend sales, so chances are you can find what you need at a discount if you keep your eye open.


Alright, that’s it for this episode guys, thank you so much for watching. Click over here for previous videos and check us out on Twitter over here. But as always, like the video if you liked it, comment below for fans with benefits and subscribe for more videos like this from NCIX. 

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