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Skylake-X Top Model: Intel Core i9-7900X Review

Silvio Werner, Klaus Hinum (translated by Martina Osztovits), 08/04/2017

The new Intel Core i7-7900X for socket 2066 proved to be the fastest CPU for desktop systems so far. However, it is disproportionately expensive and also suffers from other problems.

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The Core i7-7900X

As of the end of July, the Core i7-7900X was still the fastest available Skylake-X processor. It features ten cores, Hyperthreading, and a cache capacity of 13.75 MB. The larger Core i9-7920X with twelve cores, yet reduced base clock rate is supposed to be launched in early August. In October, Skylake-X models with up to 18 cores are expected to be rolled out. The specification of the larger models are only official in part. Unofficially, they are already entirely leaked.

Skylake-X is - also because of its high price - markedly a HEDT platform. Hence, it does not target the normal users, but professional customers who require very high CPU performance. Currently, AMD does still not have a competitor in this market segment. First Threadripper is supposed to cater to this segment. For example, the 1950X with 16 cores, 32 threads, and a clock rate of up to 4 GHz is supposed to cost 1000 US dollars.

We have already discussed the innovations of the Skylake architecture, i.e. the replacement of the classic Ring Bus with a network, in an analysis of the first Core i9-7900X reviews. Analysis of the latencies within the processor has shown that the new Mesh structure ensures more consistent latencies. For the first few cores, they are significantly higher than AMD and Intel competitors'. However, this changes from the eight core; at least when compared to Ryzen CPUs.

Model Cores - Threads Base clock Turbo clock L3 cache TDP Straßenpreis, ca.
Core i7-7920X 12-24 2.9 GHz unknown 16 MB 160 Watt (1200 Euros)
Core i7-7900X 10-20 3.3 GHz 4.3/4.5 GHz 13,75 MB 160 Watt 1000 Euros
Core i7-7740X 4-8 4.3 GHz 4.5 GHz 8 MB 112 Watt 350 Euros
Core i7-7700K 4-8 4.2 GHz 4.5 GHz 8 MB 95 Watt 330 Euros
Ryzen R7 1800X 8-16 3.6 GHz 4/3.7 GHz 16 MB 95 Watt 450 Euros
Ryzen R7 1700X 8-16 3.4 GHz 3.8/3.5 GHz 16 MB 95 Watt 360 Euros

Synthetic Benchmarks

Cinebench R15

Cinebench R15 uses rendering of a photo realistic scene made of over 300000 polygons for quantifying the CPU performance. It can either use a single core (thread, respectively) or all threads. While the first test benefits from a high clock rate, the Multithreading test benefits from multiple cores, Hyperthreading support, and SMT. As usual for synthetic tests, the results need not automatically apply to specific applications. Nevertheless, they are quite meaningful since each program has a different level of usage and optimization for high core count.

In extreme scenarios, a significantly cheaper processor with two cores and high clock rate can be significantly faster than a 16 core CPU which only uses a low clock rate in order to, for example, prevent exceeding specified power consumption. Turbo Boost 3.0, which can overclock two cores heavily, is supposed to prevent bottlenecks. Professional, modern software which is used on HEDT platforms should usually be optimized for parallel computing.

As expected, the Core i9-7900X remains behind the Core i7-7740X and the i7-7700K in single-core tests, but it outclasses all AMD competitors by far with plus 20%. The Ryzen 7 1800X is only half as expensive and basically belongs to a different market segment however.

As expected, the Core i7-7900X's performance is beyond any doubt when using all its cores. No other desktop processor can reach 2148 points. The Ryzen 7 1800X is about 23% slower. This proves that the Core i9-7900X is disproportionately expensive and is an indication for the market situation after the Threadripper launch - we will discuss this a little later.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Intel Core i7-7740X
195 Points ∼100% +1%
Intel Core i7-7700K
194 Points ∼99% +1%
Intel Core i9-7900X
192.74 Points ∼99%
Intel Core i5-7600K
191 Points ∼98% -1%
Intel Core i7-6950X
164 Points ∼84% -15%
Intel Core i7-6950X
147 Points ∼75% -24%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
164 Points ∼84% -15%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
157 Points ∼81% -19%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
157 Points ∼81% -19%
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
149 Points ∼76% -23%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
148 Points ∼76% -23%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700
147.65 Points ∼76% -23%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
147 Points ∼75% -24%
Intel Core i7-5960X
139 Points ∼71% -28%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
134.5 (min: 133.01) Points ∼69% -30%
Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2
105 Points ∼54% -46%
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4
100 Points ∼51% -48%
AMD FX-8350
97 Points ∼50% -50%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Intel Core i9-7900X
2148 (min: 2133.11) Points ∼100%
Intel Core i7-6950X
1859 Points ∼87% -13%
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4
1657 Points ∼77% -23%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
1647 Points ∼77% -23%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
1557 Points ∼72% -28%
Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2
1550 Points ∼72% -28%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700
1417.69 (min: 1413.38) Points ∼66% -34%
Intel Core i7-5960X
1387 Points ∼65% -35%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
1143 Points ∼53% -47%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
1125 Points ∼52% -48%
Intel Core i7-7740X
988 Points ∼46% -54%
Intel Core i7-7700K
984 Points ∼46% -54%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
817.5 Points ∼38% -62%
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
738 Points ∼34% -66%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
692 (min: 676.26) Points ∼32% -68%
Intel Core i5-7600K
688 Points ∼32% -68%
AMD FX-8350
636 Points ∼30% -70%

Truecrypt

Truecrypt quantifies CPU performance with the help of different encryption algorithms, i.e., Serpent, Twofisch, and Rijndael. The latter won out over its two competitors and as AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) it is publicly quite well-known. Apart from very specific application scenarios, the real-world relevance of the Truecrypt benchmarks might be relatively low. It is not an entirely synthetic benchmark however.

Since encryption algorithms benefit to a high extent from parallelization, the Core i9-7900X is taking the lead again and performs 31% faster than the Ryzen 7 1800X. The Core i9-7900X is more than twice as fast as the Kaby-Lake-X Core i7-7740X processor.

Performance Rating
Intel Core i9-7900X
95.2 pt ∼95%
Intel Core i7-6950X
89.2 pt ∼89%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
72.8 pt ∼73%
Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2
71.2 pt ∼71%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
69.2 pt ∼69%
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4
68.6 pt ∼69%
Intel Core i7-5960X
60.2 pt ∼60%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
49.9 pt ∼50%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
45.9 pt ∼46%
Intel Core i7-7740X
43.5 pt ∼44%
Intel Core i7-7700K
43.2 pt ∼43%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
36.4 pt ∼36%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
31.3 pt ∼31%
Intel Core i5-7600K
28.6 pt ∼29%
TrueCrypt
Serpent Mean 100MB
Intel Core i7-6950X
1.4 GB/s ∼100% +17%
Intel Core i9-7900X
1.2 GB/s ∼86%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
0.945 GB/s ∼68% -21%
Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2
0.917 GB/s ∼66% -24%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
0.898 GB/s ∼64% -25%
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4
0.862 GB/s ∼62% -28%
Intel Core i7-5960X
0.712 GB/s ∼51% -41%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
0.655 GB/s ∼47% -45%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
0.649 GB/s ∼46% -46%
Intel Core i7-7700K
0.554 GB/s ∼40% -54%
Intel Core i7-7740X
0.551 GB/s ∼39% -54%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
0.465 GB/s ∼33% -61%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
0.41 GB/s ∼29% -66%
Intel Core i5-7600K
0.367 GB/s ∼26% -69%
Twofish Mean 100MB
Intel Core i9-7900X
2.1 GB/s ∼100%
Intel Core i7-6950X
1.7 GB/s ∼81% -19%
Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2
1.6 GB/s ∼76% -24%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
1.5 GB/s ∼71% -29%
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4
1.4 GB/s ∼67% -33%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
1.4 GB/s ∼67% -33%
Intel Core i7-5960X
1.3 GB/s ∼62% -38%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
1 GB/s ∼48% -52%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
1 GB/s ∼48% -52%
Intel Core i7-7740X
0.944 GB/s ∼45% -55%
Intel Core i7-7700K
0.939 GB/s ∼45% -55%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
0.744 GB/s ∼35% -65%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
0.647 GB/s ∼31% -69%
Intel Core i5-7600K
0.611 GB/s ∼29% -71%
AES Mean 100MB
Intel Core i9-7900X
12.1 GB/s ∼100%
Intel Core i7-6950X
10.5 GB/s ∼87% -13%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
9.6 GB/s ∼79% -21%
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4
9.4 GB/s ∼78% -22%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
9.3 GB/s ∼77% -23%
Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2
8.7 GB/s ∼72% -28%
Intel Core i7-5960X
8.2 GB/s ∼68% -32%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
6.7 GB/s ∼55% -45%
Intel Core i7-7740X
5.6 GB/s ∼46% -54%
Intel Core i7-7700K
5.5 GB/s ∼45% -55%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
5.3 GB/s ∼44% -56%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
4.9 GB/s ∼40% -60%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
4.1 GB/s ∼34% -66%
Intel Core i5-7600K
3.7 GB/s ∼31% -69%

wPrime

wPrime calculates square roots with the Newton algorithm for quantifying CPU performance and particularly benefits from a high core count and Hyperthreading. In view of the multi-core performance of the Core i9-7900X, it is absolutely not surprising that the Skylake-X model achieves a top place. The differences are approximately the same as in the previous benchmarks.

wPrime 2.0x
1024m
Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2
393.116 s * ∼100% -417%
Intel Core i5-7600K
259.5 s * ∼66% -241%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
237.3 s * ∼60% -212%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
210.6 s * ∼54% -177%
Intel Core i7-7700K
169.8 s * ∼43% -123%
Intel Core i7-7740X
167.2 s * ∼43% -120%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
149 s * ∼38% -96%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
149 s * ∼38% -96%
Intel Core i7-5960X
116.8 s * ∼30% -54%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
109 s * ∼28% -43%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
103 s * ∼26% -36%
Intel Core i7-6950X
94 s * ∼24% -24%
Intel Core i9-7900X
76 s * ∼19%
32m
Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2
12.308 s * ∼100% -323%
Intel Core i5-7600K
8.3 s * ∼67% -185%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
7.8 s * ∼63% -168%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
6.9 s * ∼56% -137%
Intel Core i7-7700K
5.5 s * ∼45% -89%
Intel Core i7-7740X
5.4 s * ∼44% -86%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
5.2 s * ∼42% -79%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
5.2 s * ∼42% -79%
Intel Core i7-5960X
4.25 s * ∼35% -46%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
4 s * ∼32% -37%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
3.8 s * ∼31% -31%
Intel Core i7-6950X
3.5 s * ∼28% -20%
Intel Core i9-7900X
2.91 s * ∼24%

* ... smaller is better

Other synthetic benchmarks

The results of other benchmarks primarily confirm the results of the previous benchmarks. WinRAR in particular provided reproducible, yet faintly meaningful values.

Geekbench 4.0
64 Bit Multi-Core Score
Intel Core i9-7900X
27533 Points ∼100%
Intel Core i7-6950X
26761 Points ∼97% -3%
Intel Core i7-5960X
22382 Points ∼81% -19%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
22009 Points ∼80% -20%
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4
21194 Points ∼77% -23%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
21038 Points ∼76% -24%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700
19784 Points ∼72% -28%
Intel Core i7-7740X
18383 Points ∼67% -33%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
17937 Points ∼65% -35%
Intel Core i7-7700K
17800 Points ∼65% -35%
Intel Core i5-7600K
15030 Points ∼55% -45%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
14463 Points ∼53% -47%
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
14026 Points ∼51% -49%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
12785 Points ∼46% -54%
64 Bit Single-Core Score
Intel Core i7-7740X
5619 Points ∼100% +13%
Intel Core i7-7700K
5480 Points ∼98% +10%
Intel Core i5-7600K
5225 Points ∼93% +5%
Intel Core i9-7900X
4987 Points ∼89%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
4499 Points ∼80% -10%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
4333 Points ∼77% -13%
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
4321 Points ∼77% -13%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700
4179 Points ∼74% -16%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
4149 Points ∼74% -17%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
4130 Points ∼74% -17%
Intel Core i7-6950X
4049 Points ∼72% -19%
Intel Core i7-5960X
3980 Points ∼71% -20%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
3885 Points ∼69% -22%
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4
2961 Points ∼53% -41%
WinRAR - Result
Intel Core i7-6950X
8450 KB/s ∼100% +43%
Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2
7269 KB/s ∼86% +23%
Intel Core i7-5960X
7049 KB/s ∼83% +19%
Intel Core i7-7740X
6417 KB/s ∼76% +8%
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4
6323 KB/s ∼75% +7%
Intel Core i9-7900X
5918 KB/s ∼70%
Intel Core i7-7700K
5823 KB/s ∼69% -2%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
4120 KB/s ∼49% -30%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
3999 KB/s ∼47% -32%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
3910 KB/s ∼46% -34%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
3687 KB/s ∼44% -38%
Intel Core i5-7600K
3570 KB/s ∼42% -40%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
3147 KB/s ∼37% -47%
X264 HD Benchmark 4.0
Pass 2
Intel Core i9-7900X
121 fps ∼100%
Intel Core i7-6950X
101 fps ∼83% -17%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
95 fps ∼79% -21%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
90.6 fps ∼75% -25%
Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2
85.16 fps ∼70% -30%
Intel Core i7-5960X
82.3 fps ∼68% -32%
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4
79.1 fps ∼65% -35%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
68.7 fps ∼57% -43%
Intel Core i7-7740X
61.7 (min: 61.6) fps ∼51% -49%
Intel Core i7-7700K
61.6 fps ∼51% -49%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
49.5 fps ∼41% -59%
Intel Core i5-7600K
46.2 fps ∼38% -62%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
43.4 fps ∼36% -64%
Pass 1
Intel Core i7-7740X
233.6 (min: 231.9) fps ∼100% +8%
Intel Core i7-7700K
230 fps ∼98% +6%
Intel Core i5-7600K
223 fps ∼95% +3%
Intel Core i9-7900X
217 fps ∼93%
Intel Core i7-6950X
196 fps ∼84% -10%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
195 fps ∼83% -10%
Intel Core i7-5960X
191 fps ∼82% -12%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
186 fps ∼80% -14%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
177 fps ∼76% -18%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
177 fps ∼76% -18%
Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2
164.84 fps ∼71% -24%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
154 fps ∼66% -29%
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4
136.6 fps ∼58% -37%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Intel Core i9-7900X
5325 Points ∼100%
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
5234 Points ∼98% -2%
Intel Core i7-7700K
5167 Points ∼97% -3%
Intel Core i7-7740X
4977 Points ∼93% -7%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
4557 Points ∼86% -14%
Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2
4529 Points ∼85% -15%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
4511 Points ∼85% -15%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
4487 Points ∼84% -16%
Intel Core i7-6950X
4451 Points ∼84% -16%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
4431 Points ∼83% -17%
Intel Core i7-5960X
4413 Points ∼83% -17%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700
4402 Points ∼83% -17%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
4401 Points ∼83% -17%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Intel Core i7-7740X
5347 Points ∼100% +2%
Intel Core i9-7900X
5239 Points ∼98%
Intel Core i7-7700K
5042 Points ∼94% -4%
Intel Core i5-7600K
4749 Points ∼89% -9%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
4746 Points ∼89% -9%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
4647 Points ∼87% -11%
Intel Core i7-4790K
4624 Points ∼86% -12%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
4613 Points ∼86% -12%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700
4485 Points ∼84% -14%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
4437 Points ∼83% -15%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
4346 Points ∼81% -17%
Intel Core i7-6950X
4323 Points ∼81% -17%
Intel Core i7-5960X
4122 Points ∼77% -21%
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
4069 Points ∼76% -22%
Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2
3816 Points ∼71% -27%
3DMark
2560x1440 Time Spy CPU
Intel Core i9-7900X
10131 Points ∼100%
Intel Core i7-6950X
9697 Points ∼96% -4%
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4
8470 Points ∼84% -16%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
8252 Points ∼81% -19%
Intel Core i7-5960X
7884 Points ∼78% -22%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
7806 Points ∼77% -23%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
7806 Points ∼77% -23%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700
7415 Points ∼73% -27%
Intel Core i7-7740X
5632 Points ∼56% -44%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
5542 Points ∼55% -45%
Intel Core i7-7700K
5490 Points ∼54% -46%
Intel Core i7-4790K
4970 Points ∼49% -51%
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
4189 Points ∼41% -59%
Intel Core i5-7600K
4152 Points ∼41% -59%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
4067 Points ∼40% -60%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
3700 Points ∼37% -63%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Physics
Intel Core i9-7900X
22626 Points ∼100%
Intel Core i7-6950X
21692 Points ∼96% -4%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
18915 Points ∼84% -16%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
18407 Points ∼81% -19%
Intel Core i7-5960X
16942 Points ∼75% -25%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700
16830 Points ∼74% -26%
Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2
16522 Points ∼73% -27%
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4
16369 Points ∼72% -28%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
15818 Points ∼70% -30%
Intel Core i7-7740X
14432 Points ∼64% -36%
Intel Core i7-7700K
14325 Points ∼63% -37%
Intel Core i7-4790K
12492 Points ∼55% -45%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
10848 Points ∼48% -52%
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
10455 Points ∼46% -54%
Intel Core i5-7600K
9292 Points ∼41% -59%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance Physics
Intel Core i7-6950X
16403 Points ∼100% +7%
Intel Core i9-7900X
15260 Points ∼93%
Intel Core i7-5960X
15217 Points ∼93% 0%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
14150 Points ∼86% -7%
Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2
13219 Points ∼81% -13%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700
13124 Points ∼80% -14%
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4
13047 Points ∼80% -15%
Intel Core i7-7740X
12322 Points ∼75% -19%
Intel Core i7-7700K
12026 Points ∼73% -21%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
11164 Points ∼68% -27%
Intel Core i7-4790K
11053 Points ∼67% -28%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
9566 Points ∼58% -37%
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
9462 Points ∼58% -38%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
8177 Points ∼50% -46%
3DMark 06 - CPU - ---
Intel Core i9-7900X
12678 Points ∼100%
Intel Core i7-6950X
10658 Points ∼84% -16%
Intel Core i7-7740X
10229 Points ∼81% -19%
Intel Core i7-7700K
10156 Points ∼80% -20%
Intel Core i7-5960X
9924 Points ∼78% -22%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700
8940 Points ∼71% -29%
Intel Xeon E5-2697 v2
8843 Points ∼70% -30%
Intel Core i5-7600K
8532 Points ∼67% -33%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
8222 Points ∼65% -35%
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4
8174 Points ∼64% -36%
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
7761 Points ∼61% -39%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
7403 Points ∼58% -42%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
6599 Points ∼52% -48%

Preliminary Verdict

In the synthetic benchmarks, the 10 cores of the Skylake i9-7900X deliver a performance so far unmatched by desktop processors and significantly outperform the (significantly cheaper) Ryzen processors.

Gaming Benchmarks

Test System

We use a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founder's edition, which is currently one of the fastest GPUs, in order to eliminate that the GPU is a limiting factor and create acceptable conditions for the comparison. The Skylake-X model was already tested in an Asus Prime X299-A with 16 GB of DDR4-2.666 RAM in dual channel mode. The test system for the Ryzen and other Intel models is described in detail in our Ryzen 7 1700, 1700X and 1800X review. It also features a GTX 1080 Ti.

Frame rates

With the exception of the CPU-intensive “Farming Simulator 17” - the results in low detail level are relevant in the gaming benchmarks. In combination with a powerful graphic card such as the used GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, the frames rates are only limited by the used CPU. This test method is anything but realistic. However, it is the only way to quantify the real-world performance of the CPU in very complex, real-world applications such as video games.

In “For Honor”, which apparently scales very poorly with high core count, the Core i7-7900X got last place by far. Above all, we want to mention that the frame rate is twice as high in the CPU limit as with realistic 4K-resolution and high detail level. Hence, the CPU should not even be a limiting factor with two 1080 Ti models in SLI. In contrast, the test system achieves the highest average frame rate so far in “Farming Simulator” and performs a significant 12% better than the Ryzen 7 1800X. 

The Core i7-7900X also took the lead in our main benchmark, “The Witcher 3”. With plus 18%, it performs significantly better than Ryzen CPUs. The performance gain falls to only 7% in comparison with the quad-core i7-7740X.

For Honor
3840x2160 High Preset AA:T AF:8x
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4
79 (min: 47) fps ∼100% +1%
Intel Core i7-7700K
79 (min: 46) fps ∼100% +1%
Intel Core i7-7740X
79 (min: 63) fps ∼100% +1%
Intel Core i7-6950X
78 (min: 50) fps ∼99% 0%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700
78 (min: 63) fps ∼99% 0%
Intel Core i9-7900X
78 (min: 62) fps ∼99%
Intel Core i5-7600K
77.9 (min: 23) fps ∼99% 0%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
77.8 (min: 63) fps ∼98% 0%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
77.6 (min: 63) fps ∼98% -1%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
77.1 (min: 62) fps ∼98% -1%
Intel Core i7-4790K
77 (min: 58) fps ∼97% -1%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
77 (min: 62) fps ∼97% -1%
Intel Core i7-5960X
76 (min: 30) fps ∼96% -3%
1280x720 Low Preset
Intel Core i7-7740X
347 (min: 240) fps ∼100% +124%
Intel Core i7-7700K
333 (min: 184) fps ∼96% +115%
Intel Core i7-4790K
318 (min: 198) fps ∼92% +105%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
271 (min: 193) fps ∼78% +75%
Intel Core i5-7600K
263 (min: 17) fps ∼76% +70%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
250 (min: 187) fps ∼72% +61%
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4
248 (min: 86) fps ∼71% +60%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
233 (min: 145) fps ∼67% +50%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
230 (min: 187) fps ∼66% +48%
Intel Core i7-5960X
224 (min: 168) fps ∼65% +45%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700
208 (min: 159) fps ∼60% +34%
Intel Core i7-6950X
161 (min: 125) fps ∼46% +4%
Intel Core i9-7900X
155 (min: 129) fps ∼45%
Farming Simulator 17 - 3840x2160 High Preset AA:2xMS AF:2x
Intel Core i7-7740X
213 (min: 195) fps ∼100% +6%
Intel Core i7-6950X
211 (min: 195) fps ∼99% +5%
Intel Core i5-7600K
205 (min: 191) fps ∼96% +2%
Intel Core i7-4790K
204 (min: 190) fps ∼96% +1%
Intel Core i7-7700K
204 (min: 188) fps ∼96% +1%
Intel Core i9-7900X
201 (min: 186) fps ∼94%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
195 (min: 188) fps ∼92% -3%
Intel Core i7-5960X
191 (min: 175) fps ∼90% -5%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
191 (min: 180) fps ∼90% -5%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
188 (min: 177) fps ∼88% -6%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700
181 (min: 172) fps ∼85% -10%
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4
179 (min: 167) fps ∼84% -11%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
170 (min: 164) fps ∼80% -15%
The Witcher 3
1920x1080 Ultra Graphics & Postprocessing (HBAO+)
Intel Core i7-7740X
102 (min: 87) fps ∼100% +5%
Intel Core i7-7700K
100 (min: 86) fps ∼98% +3%
Intel Core i7-6950X
99 (min: 85) fps ∼97% +2%
Intel Core i7-4790K
98 (min: 83) fps ∼96% +1%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700
98 fps ∼96% +1%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
97 (min: 83) fps ∼95% 0%
Intel Core i9-7900X
97 (min: 80) fps ∼95%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
96.4 (min: 84) fps ∼95% -1%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
96.3 (min: 83) fps ∼94% -1%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
95 (min: 80) fps ∼93% -2%
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4
89.5 (min: 77) fps ∼88% -8%
1024x768 Low Graphics & Postprocessing
Intel Core i9-7900X
349 (min: 260) fps ∼100%
Intel Core i7-7740X
327 (min: 258) fps ∼94% -6%
Intel Core i7-4790K
322 (min: 297) fps ∼92% -8%
Intel Core i7-6950X
317 (min: 279) fps ∼91% -9%
Intel Core i7-7700K
313 (min: 284) fps ∼90% -10%
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
297 (min: 267) fps ∼85% -15%
AMD Ryzen 7 1700
274 (min: 243) fps ∼79% -21%
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4
269.8 (min: 234) fps ∼77% -23%
AMD Ryzen 5 1600
254 (min: 237) fps ∼73% -27%
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
250 (min: 226) fps ∼72% -28%
AMD Ryzen 5 1400
225 (min: 202) fps ∼64% -36%

Frame time analysis

In the frame time analysis, the Core i9-7900X performs significantly poorer than to be expected from FPS alone; at least in “The Witcher 3”. The diagram clearly shows many unusual and large anomalies. Overall, it reaches entirely new - negative - dimensions. In order to put this into perspective: Even a frame time of 32.000 µS corresponds to a frame rate of just above 31 frames per second and is still far from real stuttering. Nevertheless, the performance appears significantly less smooth due to the erratic frame times. By the way, the higher average frame rate directly shows in the diagram - the baseline is slightly lower than all other processors'.

The statistical analysis confirms the visual impression: The Core i9-7900X shows a relatively high frame rate variability for an Intel CPU, especially in view of higher deviations. Hence, the Skylake-X CPU often has problems maintaining its basically very high frame rate; at least in “The Witcher 3”.

Frame time analysis
Frame time analysis
Model Core i9-7900X Core i7-7740X Core i7-7700K Core i7-4790K Ryzen 7 1800X
Frame time (Median, in µs) 2815 3032 3169 3084 3525
deviations ≥ 20% 2.572% 1.891% 1.555% 2.711% 0.473%
deviations ≥ 50% 0.616% 0.266% 0.187% 0.276% 0.141%
deviations ≥ 100% 0.382% 0.091% 0.049% 0.049% 0.068%
deviations ≥ 300% 0.134% 0.032% 0.000% 0.005% 0.018%

Energy efficiency

We have to mention again that we only measure the total power consumption. Hence, the motherboard causes a relative error which should not be underestimated. This is particularly true of the idle results.

The used X299 motherboard already requires about 4 watts more with i9-7900X than with i7-7740X. Without exception, all Ryzen models require less energy in this scenario. On the other hand, the Skylake-X processor shows to be quite energy efficient in Cinebench 15 in our comparison. Nevertheless, it cannot catch up with the Ryzen CPUs. Anyhow, it should be noted that the power consumption of the entire system increases to 243 watts in Cinebench - which causes a waste heat not to be underestimated.

Energy efficiency in idle mode
Energy efficiency in idle mode
Energy efficiency in points per Watt
Energy efficiency in points per Watt

Verdict

It is not surprising, that the Core i9-7900X is the fastest desktop processor we have tested so far. It delivers so far unmatched performance in synthetic benchmarks and games. The frame rate variability is remarkably high however. The high performance is at the expense of thermal problems and high power consumption. The efficiency is acceptable at least. It would be presumptuous to call it the "top end of the flagpole". However, the Core i9-7900X appears a bit like a counterattack born out of distress and huge effort.

The consumer should not have a real reason to actually buy the 1000 Euro Skylake-X processor however, since the Ryzen 7 1800X and for those on a tighter budget who prefer Intel to some extent the Core i7-7740X are products which more than adequately speed up all current programs and video games. The Ryzen 7 1800X in particular also performs well in complex application scenarios thanks to its 16 threads. Hence, it is our current recommendation for consumers who require the highest possible performance, but want to stay within a reasonable level.   

Finally, Intel has not targeted consumers (or even gamers), but professional users with the HEDT processor. Hence, the Ryzen 7 1800X actually belongs to a different category. Nevertheless, it can keep up excellently in terms of price performance ratio. For example, the Core i9-7900X performs 30% better than the Ryzen for twice the price.

Hence, a comparison of Skylake-X and AMD's Threadripper might be exciting. Citing AMD's public video, which compares the Cinebench performance of Threadripper 1920X and 1950X to the Core i9-7900, we attest Threadripper a relatively high performance advance. Moreover, the CPUs should suffer less from thermal problems due to soldering and larger size.

Test Samples

Most of the test samples for this review have been provided by Intel (CPU), AMD (Ryzen CPUs, Asus Board, memory kit, Noctua cooler). Intel lent us the Core i7-6950X and i7-5960X. The X99-E motherboard and X299 motherboard were provided by Asus. Noctua provided us with a NH-U12S cooler for the AMD AM4, and the X99/X299 board.

Addendum

Intel Core i9-7900X

SeriesIntel Core i9
CodenameSkylake-X
Clock Rate3300 - 4500 MHz
Level 3 Cache13.8 MB
Number of Cores / Threads10 / 20
Max. Power Consumption (TDP = Thermal Design Power)140 Watt
Manufacturing Technology14 nm
SocketFCLGA-2066
FeaturesDDR4-2666 Memory Controller Quad-Channel, HyperThreading, AVX, AVX2, AES-NI, TSX-NI, Quick Sync, Virtualization, vPro
64 Bit64 Bit support
Announcement Date05/30/2017

Benchmarks

Cinebench R15 - CPU Multi 64Bit
2148 Points (100%)
Cinebench R15 - CPU Single 64Bit
192.7 Points (99%)
Cinebench R11.5 - CPU Multi 64Bit
23.9 Points (100%)
Cinebench R11.5 - CPU Single 64Bit
2.2 Points (100%)
Cinebench R10 - Rendering Single 32Bit
7287 Points (92%)
Cinebench R10 - Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
49738 Points (100%)
wPrime 2.0x - 1024m *
76 seconds (1%)
wPrime 2.0x - 32m *
2.9 seconds (1%)
X264 HD Benchmark 4.0 - Pass 2
121 fps (72%)
TrueCrypt - Serpent Mean 100MB
1.2 GB/s (71%)
3DMark 06 - CPU
12678 Points (100%)
Super Pi mod 1.5 XS 1M *
8.1 Seconds (2%)
Super Pi mod 1.5 XS 2M *
17.8 Seconds (1%)
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M *
449 Seconds (2%)
3DMark - Fire Strike Physics 1920x1080
22626 Points (100%)
Geekbench 2 - 32 Bit - Floating Point
34866 Points (100%)
Geekbench 2 - 32 Bit - Integer
32467 Points (100%)
Geekbench 2 - 32 Bit - Total Score
26145 Points (100%)
Geekbench 3 - 64 Bit Multi-Core Score
37608 Points (100%)
Geekbench 4.0 - 64 Bit Multi-Core Score
27533 Points (100%)
Geekbench 4.0 - 64 Bit Single-Core Score
4987 Points (89%)
Power Consumption - Prime95 V28,10 Stress Power Consumption (external Monitor) ultra *
232 Watt (100%)
Power Consumption - Cinebench R15 Multi Power Consumption (external Monitor) ultra *
243 Watt (100%)
- Range of benchmark values for this graphics card
- Average benchmark values for this graphics card
* Smaller numbers mean a higher performance

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