5 reasons you'll want Intel's crazy new Core i9 CPUs, and 3 reasons you won't

It’s more than just the sky-high cost that will keep you away from the latest Intel chips.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman
2 min read
Watch this: Need an extreme processor? Intel X-Series has 18 cores

At Computex 2017, Intel announced a new series of desktop processors , under the Core X name. That's an enthusiast platform for desktop PC owners who want to push for more performance through overclocking, play games at 4K and beyond and process video files at high speed.

The flagship will be the new Core i9 processors, which are the first CPUs to have the Core i9 branding -- previous CPUs have been tagged either Core i3, i5 or i7. These will directly take on AMD's new high-performance Ryzen chips, keeping the CPU power arms race going strong.


Here's why you're going to want one of these new Core i9 processors:

  1. The Core i9 will include an unprecedented 18-core model, in addition to 10-, 12-, 14- and 16-core versions. That refers to the number of individual processing units and means the CPU can handle more distinct tasks at once.
  2. These new chips include Intel's updated Turbo Boost 3.0, which allows the CPUs to temporarily increase their power for short bursts without overheating.
  3. Desktops and DIY kits with Intel's new X299 motherboard chipset will be available right away, so there's no delay on building your own Core i9 rig.
  4. Intel designed a new liquid cooling system, called TS13X to keep these 140-watt TDP chips under control (but you'll have to buy it separately for about $100).
  5. Intel says these will be up to 15-percent faster than the former enthusiast CPU family, Broadwell-E.

But, despite all that, here's why you're probably not going to get one of these new Core i9 CPUs.

  1. They're insanely expensive. Intel estimates $1,999 for the 18-core Core i9-7980XE, on top of the cost of the rest of your PC. Other Core i9 CPUs will cost $999-$1,699.
  2. These chips are desktop-only, at least for now. That means laptop, tablet and hybrid fans are out in the cold.
  3. Newer, faster Intel chips are on the horizon, as Intel is already teasing the not-yet-official eighth-gen "Coffee Lake" Core i-series CPUs, which it hints will be 30 percent faster than the current seventh-gen chips.

The first Intel Core i9 CPUs will go on sale in June, while the top-end models are expected in August. Read more about all of Intel's Computex announcements here