Intel launched a new processor in their Core X series recently, and it is novel in many ways. It combines a fairly high core count with very high clock speeds, at the cost of power consumption and high heat output. It also is very limited in availability, being offered only to select system integrators via a private auction. We got our hands on one in the first auction, and have been putting it through several rounds of benchmarking to see if it is worth the price and hassle, as well as to determine if we will be offering it in our workstations.
Today Intel has officially announced the launch of new mainstream desktop processors, including the first Core i9 branded chip for this market segment. We are testing these processors now, and are excited about what we have found so far, but cannot publish performance data until October 19th.
Every time a new generation of CPUs is announced, I see a number of people writing about how they think it will be faster (or slower) than current technology because of the advertised specifications. CPU specs alone don’t tell the whole story, though, and comparing core count and clock speed across different brands or generations of processors is extremely misleading. Stop doing it!
AMD is releasing a whole spectrum of new CPUs this year, from the consumer oriented Ryzen to the server-class Epyc. In response, Intel has accelerated their normal processor release cadence and is putting out new products across the board as well. We are here to explain a bit about what is going on, what to look forward to, and whether it is worth waiting for.
We have published a short video looking at the basics of CPU cores and clock speed using the time honored tradition of a car analogy.
Clock speeds on modern Intel processors are not straight-forward, a fact that is attested to by the several articles we have published on that topic in recent years. This can lead to confusion over what CPU to pick when configuring a new computer, especially for higher-end workstations and servers with high core count processors. I am hoping this blog post will shed a little light on that subject, and help readers be better able to select the right CPU for their needs.