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Intel Core i9-7960X 16-Core Processor Review

Final Thoughts
As I said in my review of the Core i9-7980XE we are living in a very exciting time for CPUs. This processor is packing in 16-cores, 32-threads and it is not even at the top of the product stack! At its default clock speeds it is a work horse! It is going to rip through multi-threaded workloads. In our testing it only sits behind the Core i9-7980XE.

Sadly we were unable to test directly against AMD’s ThreadRipper processors because we do not have any on hand. If you are interested in that there are plenty of great sites out there that will have those results. Against Intel’s $999 Core i9-7900X the i9-7960X was about 35% faster in multi-threaded benchmarks. That is compared to the around 40% increase we saw with the i9-7980XE. So it really is up to you if the extra $300 is worth the 5% more performance.

When it comes to overclocking these higher-end chips you are going to want to make sure you have a good motherboard. I think that many motherboard manufacturers designed boards when the Intel roadmap only showed 12-core chips. There have been multiple reports of VRM issues and other things with higher core-count Intel chips. Also when you start overclocking these chips they are going to pull a lot of power. Talking with people who have these chips and with my testing these chips will pull anywhere from 400-500W when you put full load on it. That is a lot of power, especially if your motherboard only has a single EPS connector. So if you plan to do any type of 24/7 overclock I would highly recommend getting a motherboard that can handle that. In our testing we were able to get the chip up to 4.4 GHz at 90C under load with our NZXT Kraken X52 which was stable, but I would not recommend going any higher if you planned on running this overclock 24/7. The heat issues could have been solved by Intel using solder between the die and the heatspreader, actually that would have been a great feature of these higher clocked Core i9 parts, but it is not there.

These high core count processors are definitely for a certain type of person. Someone who is really executing multi-threaded workloads, like a video editor, photo editor, game creator etc. Studios and professional creators would be looking to build systems around this chip. With its performance we can definitely recommend this chip, but it does come at a hefty price tag of $1699. So just like the Core i9-7980XE this chip is in a different league.

Pros:
– 16 cores, 32-threads
– Incredible multi-threaded performance
– Good temperatures at default speeds
– 35% performance increase over the i9-7900X

Cons:
– You’ll need a good motherboard for overclocking
– Quite expensive

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