Rumor: Geekbench entry hints at 16-core Core i9-7960X performance


— 12:00 PM on July 25, 2017

Competition between AMD's hotly-anticipated Ryzen Threadripper and the high-thread-count chips in Intel's Core X family is sure to be the hot topic of late summer 2017. Intel is playing its cards pretty close to the vest and has yet to disclose the clock speeds and cache structures of most of its Core i9 lineup. A recent entry in the Geekbench database may provide some insight into that information as well as an early (and very rough) comparison to AMD's 16-core, 32-thread silicon. Track down your wintertime supply of calcium chloride, because it's rumor time.

The database entry in question is for a Skylake-E/EP chip running on an Asus Prime X299 Deluxe motherboard. The CPU has 16 cores and 32 threads. Each core has the expected 32 KB for holding L1 instructions, 32 KB of L1 data cache, and 1 MB of L2 cache. Intel hasn't revealed the clock speed or amount of L3 cache for the Core i9-7960X, but the CPU in the Geekbench entry runs at a base clock 2.5 GHz and has 22 MB of L3 cache. For comparison's sake, the 12-core, 24-thread Core i9-7920X has a 2.9 GHz base clock and 16.5 MB of L3 cache.

While it might be tempting to look across the field and see how early samples of AMD's Ryzen Threadripper CPUs are doing in the Geekbench database, numbers for those chips are so far not exceeding the performance of a Ryzen 7 1800X—clearly a sign that the engineering samples of those chips that have ended up in the database aren't ready for prime time yet. We can, however, establish a rough comparison between the posted Core i9-7960X scores and existing figures for the 10-core i9-7900X. The single sample of the Core i9-7960X earns a single-threaded score of 5238, roughly 4% lower than the 5446 median score for the Core i9-7900X. As for multi-threaded comparisons, the Core i9 posted a score of 33,672, almost the same exact figure as the 33,699 median for its i9-7900X brother. This latter result suggests that Geekbench may not be utilizing the 7960X's 16 cores to their fullest potential.

Intel has already released its X299 motherboard chipset and several of Core i9-7960X's smaller siblings. AMDs's Ryzen Threadripper is coming some time next month. August is certainly shaping up to be an interesting time for well-heeled PC enthusiasts and workstation builders.

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