Now that the megahertz race has slowed down in the desktop processor world, the new race is all about cores. To that end, Intel just announced its first 10-core desktop CPU, the Core i7-6950X Extreme Edition, today at Computex. (It’s had 10-core Xeon CPUs for servers since 2011.) The new processor will run at 3GHz (with boost speeds up to 3.5GHz), pack in 25MB of cache and feature Intel’s new Turbo Boost 3.0 technology. Just but be prepared to pay through the nose for the privilege of owning it, as the 10-core i7 Extreme Edition will cost $1,723.
So what does such an expensive processor get you? Intel claims it’s twice as fast as the quad-core i7 6700K when it comes to 3D rendering, and 35 percent faster than the last-gen Core i7-5960X. When it comes to editing 4K video, it’s 65 percent faster than that same quad-core chip and 25 percent faster than the previous i7. On the gaming front, it’s 25 percent faster than the 5960X when it comes to gaming in 4K while encoding and broadcasting a 1080p Twitch stream. Basically, if you’re dealing with massive amounts of content on a daily basis, it could be the ideal CPU for you.
The new Extreme Edition of i7 processors will also be available in an 8-core version (the i7-6900K for $1,089) and 6-core variants (the $617 i7-6850K and the $434 i7-6800K). Naturally, they’re completely unlocked, so you can overclock them to your heart’s content. All of the new chips also support DDR4-2400 RAM, a slight bump in speeds from the previous-gen processors.
If your head is spinning at the cost of these chips, then they’re probably not for you. But for demanding users, it puts Intel a step ahead of AMD, whose current high-end processor tops out at eight cores (though it’s notably cheaper than any of Intel’s chips). If you’re in the market for a new CPU and still want a decent amount of power, Intel still has its “Performance Unlocked” line of i7 CPUs around: the 6600K ($242) and 6700K ($339).