Intel Core i9 7900x (LTT Review)

Skid_Marc_

Staff member
Admin
#1

I always feel the need to start off a topic like this by saying;

I'm not very tech savvy.

My opinions on computer components aren't going to be super in-depth, or complex. I'm not always looking to get the max performance per dollar. My goal with my pc, and electronics in general, is to have a stable platform that handles all of what I throw at it without having to struggle. I'd rather have extra horsepower that I don't use. I don't play a lot of brand new games, and I don't do heavy content creation, but when I do actually get motivated on a project, I don't want to fight with my PC.



So I've been watching Intel, and especially the i9 news, a lot recently because, as I've posted before, I have been looking at upgrading my i7-4790k.

Upgrading to 3x: 2760 x 1440 @ 144hz G-sync monitors has been cool, but has also really taxed my machine, and although my CPU/GPU can still handle most games with little issue, streaming said games reaches (and usually, frustratingly, exceeds) the limits of my machine, dampening my enjoyment of the upgrade. I had originally been looking at the i7 Broadwell-E chips, but then the i9 was leaked, and since than I have been content to wait.

  • Core Count
Duh, right? The whole point of upgrading from the chip I already have is more cores. The improvement I'm looking for isn't in gaming, as most games won't be able to take advantage of the added cores. However, the added cores would greatly improve my ability to stream and record while gaming.

The new i9 introduces, as shown in the video, a 10-core CPU at a price point lower than the current i7 10-core, and the counts go up from there from 12 to 18 cores!
  • Clock Speed
The downside to Broadwell-E was the negative effect the lower clock-speeds would have on gaming. As I said, my PC can handle most games as it is, but only barely. Reducing clock speed for the added streaming capability would actually reduce the quality that I'm streaming at.

The new i9 allows you to individually over-clock TWO cores (Most games, even iRacing, can utilize up to two cores; one for the game, one for sound) to, as shown in the LTT review, 4.5GHz. Without the overclock, it still Turbos to 4.3GHz which is still a lot closer to my current setup's 4.4GHz so I shouldn't see the loss of performance that I was looking at when considering Broadwell-E.. 3.0GHz #sadface
There are still a lot of questions and concerns surrounding the i9, and the X299 chipset in particular, most of which I'm not smart enough to understand or lucrative enough to utilize, AND we still haven't seen AMD's ThreadRipper. My CPU upgrade looks like it's been pushed back another year anyways, but just this new chip alone has peaked my interest and I'm curious how many of you have been following this and what you're opinion is of this new CPU?
 

Kenadian

Staff member
Site Admin
#2
I'm a bit embarrassed to say this is the first I've heard of this new Core i9 :oops:

I'm not surprised to hear of it given Ryzen so it will be interesting to see how they stack up.

Personally though I'd probably still go with Intel even if they came out a bit lesser performance wise when compared to AMD. I've had 2 AMD's in my lifetime and that's enough for me.

Intel's always just work for me and never give me headaches like both AMD's did.
 

Skid_Marc_

Staff member
Admin
#3
I feel the same way. I am extremely glad to see Ryzen, and AMD has always been there in the dollar-to-performance category, now more then ever, and I wish them all the best, but I personally would rather stay with Intel.

Unfortunately, this x299 platform seems like a bit of a mess, but a lot of the features aren't something I would use anyways..
 

Kenadian

Staff member
Site Admin
#4
I was reading a review at Tom's Hardware and although the i9 7900x is certainly a powerful chip, it's actually a step backward (currently) in a few areas. There are apparent latency issues as a side affect of it's architecture, it consumes a fair amount of power and although it will overclock well it will also produce a lot of heat.

Ryzen didn't perform as well but it wasn't exactly left in the dust either and they still have as of yet to review the Threadripper.

Given the price/performance model it doesn't sound that promising so far.
 
#5
The 7900x is a bit of a mess according to Guru3d and has been noted by many reviewers. Perhaps it was a little rushed now that the competition is back.

Wait until Coffee lake in Aug/Sept... supposed to be a 6 core treat coming out into *mainstream*, the 4 cores apparently 15% faster than the recent Kaby, here's hoping Intel does a price adjustment as I think they still want way too much.
 
#6
I think the i9-7900X is a terrible bet right now at it's price point given Threadripper and Coffee Lake are coming. On the other hand I think the i7-7820X, the high end Skylake-X part, is actually a good buy if your workload justifies it and you want to move to a HEDT platform. It's very unlikely Threadripper is going to solve the IPC problems of the Zen architecture. While having 64 PCI-e lanes and 18 cores is nice, it's completely unrealistic for most people's workloads and you're paying an IPC/single threaded performance penalty for it.

I think if you want to stick mainstream, than absolutely wait for the 6-core Coffee Lake part. That's likely to be the most obvious affordable upgrade for the higher end of mainstream. If you want to go HEDT, I don't see any particular reason to wait for Threadripper if you're happy on the Intel platform. It's unlikely it's going to dethrone Intel in the IPC department and the 7820X is reviewing quite well.

Outside of the technology though, I kind of have to shake my head at Intel over this whole thing. The marketing of X299 has been really bad and inconsistent. Trying to support two very different chips on X299 could be a big issue in the long run. Things like the required dongle for high end raid features and the disabling of PCI-e lanes on Skylake-X are really thinly veiled attempts to protect the Xeon market as the i9-7900X and Xeon E5's are eerily similar as chips (with the E5's costing 3x as much in some cases). I don't always agree with everything Linus says, but on this we definitely agree. The chips themselves are not disasters, they are good kit. The marketing and optics of the entire release have just been atrocious.
 
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