AnandTech has seen documents and supporting information from multiple sources that show that Intel is planning to release a new high-end desktop processor, the Core i9-9990XE. These documents show that the processors will not be sold at retail; rather they will only be sold to system integrators, and then only through a closed online auction. 

This new processor will be the highest numbered processor in Intel's high-end desktop line. The current top processor is the i9-9980XE, an 18 core part with a base frequency of 3.5 GHz and a turbo frequency of 4.0 GHz. The i9-9990XE, on the other hand, is not simply the 9980XE with an increase in frequency. 

Intel Basin Falls Skylake-X Refresh
AnandTech Cores TDP Freq L3
L3 Per
i9-9990XE $auction 14 / 28 255 W 4.0 / 5.0 19.25 1.375 2666 44
i9-9980XE $1979 18 / 36 165 W 3.0 / 4.5 24.75 1.375 2666 44
i9-9960X $1684 16 / 32 165 W 3.1 / 4.5 22.00 1.375 2666 44
i9-9940X $1387 14 / 28 165 W 3.3 / 4.5 19.25 1.375 2666 44
i9-9920X $1189 12 / 24 165 W 3.5 / 4.5 19.25 1.604 2666 44
i9-9900X $989 10 / 20 165 W 3.5 / 4.5 19.25 1.925 2666 44
i9-9820X $889 10 / 20 165 W 3.3 / 4.2 16.50 1.650 2666 44
i7-9800X $589 8 / 16 165 W 3.8 / 4.5 16.50 2.031 2666 44

The Core i9-9990XE will be a 14 core processor, but with a base frequency of 4.0 GHz and a turbo frequency of 5.0 GHz. This makes it a super-binned 9940X.

Intel is listing this processor as 'off roadmap', meaning it won't come to retail. Instead of selling to end users directly, Intel will offer it to select OEMs via a series of auctions, held once a quarter, with the first auction scheduled for the third week of 2019. This means the price of the processor is not fixed, and will depend on how much each system integrator is willing to pay. We also learned that only three system integrators will be at the first auction.

Overall, this method means that Intel does not have to commit to volume sales: because these chips are super binned, they likely can only build a few hundred a quarter, hence the one auction per quarter. 

Other details about the chip that we have learned include that it will have a listed TDP of 255W, which means the peak power will be higher. Motherboard vendors will have to support 420 amps on the power delivery for the chip (which at 1.3 volts would be 546 watts), and up to 30 amps per core. It will be for the socket 2066 X299 motherboards already on the market, and perhaps importantly, there is no warranty from Intel. This means that system builders will not be able to recoup costs on dead silicon, but they might give their own warranty to end users.

Well this is interesting. We have reached out to Intel for comments.

Update 1/16: Intel's official line on the matter is: 'We do not have a comment.'

Update 1/17: Intel has sent us a second comment, confirming its existance, the target market, and the reasons for the auction:

“The Intel® Core™ i9-9990XE is designed specifically for the financial services industry because of specific customer requirements. Because the Intel® Core™ i9-9990XE was built with unique specifications and high frequency to meet the workload needs of this targeted industry, it can only be produced in limited quantities and will not be broadly made available. The part will be offered through an auction to ensure fairness in supply distribution.” – Intel spokesperson 

Update 1/18: One of our sources is now stating that the Core i9-9990XE will offer an all-core turbo of 5.0 GHz, and a 'Turbo Max 3.0' frequency of 5.1 GHz.

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  • wickedwil - Monday, January 14, 2019 - link

    Who are the three system integrators?
  • eastcoast_pete - Monday, January 14, 2019 - link

    P.T. Barnum said it best: "There's a sucker born every minute". Intel's sales and marketing department is listening, and awaits your order.
  • myself248 - Monday, January 14, 2019 - link

    With today's modern computers, we're talking kilosuckers per second!

    (And that banner's been unchanged since at least 2002, likely earlier. We're probably up to megasuckers now.)
  • HStewart - Friday, January 25, 2019 - link

    Not just Intel and all of them do it including NVidia, Apple and AMD.
  • zepi - Monday, January 14, 2019 - link

    So which three OEM-sponsored professional overclockers will battle this one out?
  • twtech - Monday, January 14, 2019 - link

    Intel's existing Xeon Scalable processors put a cap on how much some of these unusual CPUs are worth for work purposes, even for someone who has need of a high-clocks and/or high core count.

    For example, if Intel tries to charge $8k for the W3175x, it would be competing with 2x 6416 with the same number of overall cores, but a higher all-core turbo @ 3.9 for $1,500 less, or even 2x 6154 for $1,000 less, which wouldn't clock as high as the 3175x when lightly-loaded, but would give you 1.5x the total cores, and an all-core turbo speed of 3.7GHz that the W3175x probably still won't be able to match.

    As for this processor, it doesn't accept ECC memory, can't be put in a multi-processor setup, and anything that benefits significantly from having 14 cores rather than 8 could probably also use a lot more. Ie. 14 cores at 5 GHz is impressive - but if that matters for what you're doing, twice as many cores at 3.5+ GHz is probably better still.

    So this probably won't be used for work - it will be the Ferrari/Lambo of CPUs, put in very expensive gaming machines.
  • fallaha56 - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - link

    Great points

    Except it won’t be 14C@5Ghz, just single core turbo

    And that’s before we activate AVX ;)

    Intel bit of a dead duck at the moment, I wish AMD would get a move on and get Zen3 out -or at least properly demo’d
  • valinor89 - Thursday, January 17, 2019 - link

    "Except it won’t be 14C@5Ghz, just single core turbo"

    As far as I understand what I read in the article they don't say the all core turbo will be 5 GHz, do they?
  • HStewart - Friday, January 25, 2019 - link

    The article was updated and it confirms that all cores are at 5Ghz and not just a single core. Just remember all cores are not created equal and it depends on your applications. If application uses AVX-512 and it this speed, I would be it would dominate a non-AVX 512 xeon with twice the amount of cores.

    A lot depends on how machine is used and I would think anything that uses for graphics, the primary thread is most important.
  • Kevin G - Wednesday, January 16, 2019 - link

    You are also forgetting that in a dual socket system, you can support more memory which also provides more memory bandwidth. The number of PCIe lanes is higher on a dual socket systems which for certain niche applications is even more important than processor speed too.

    The big down side to dual socket systems is of course NUMA as many applications take a performance hit being split across two sockets. There are avenues for tuning based on a particular application but generally speaking as long as a single socket has enough bandwidth, it'll be faster than a dual socket with similar core count/clocks.

    The thing about gaming systems is that clock speed is still generally preferred after you go beyond four cores in a system. Yes, some games are starting to utilize more threads but they're more of an exception and still scale with clock speed as well. The i9-9900K for gaming is better suited overall for that market due to its high base clock and good turbo.

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