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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  • bizantium - Saturday, April 13, 2019 - link

    Not linksys, but Cisco
    Cloudflare steals Cisco's IP address, too via
  • Kevin G - Wednesday, January 16, 2019 - link

    They're first have to release a Mac. The Mac Pro model they are currently selling is a 2013 design.
  • bizantium - Saturday, April 13, 2019 - link

    However, Apple will use their in-house Apple A-series chip on Mac in 2020, so it won't happen
  • Samus - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - link

    This is one of the weirdest things to ever come out of Intel...I can't believe they are going through all this trouble for a chip that will be sold in the hundreds. Just the binning, sampling and packaging of a chip that is produced in the hundreds is ridiculous enough - and if they skip the sampling part they are essentially selling engineering samples (which might explain the lack of warranty.) So they have engineers doing that, then they have PR doing the auction end with OEM's? To make, what, a couple hundred grand a quarter?

    This just doesn't fit into the overall idea I had of Intel being a company that focuses 3 comma's, not 1.
  • Beaver M. - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - link

    Most likely because it will be massively overpriced. A price of $3000 to $4000 would justify something like that easily.
  • FunBunny2 - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - link

    it really depends on how they identify the chips. if they fall out through standard in-process work (or, at least, eliminate say 90% from consideration), then it's not so expensive. OTOH, if the only way is a full-chip test of every completed chip, then, yeah, it's stupid.
  • Beaver M. - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - link

    Sounds nice. Even a 12 core version would still be something I would want.
    However the cooling of such things, especially if you overclock them to run on 5 GHz on all cores, is starting to become a problem. AiOs wouldnt be able to do that, air coolers neither. Water cooling would be mandatory, and I am not ready to dish out $600 just for cooling.
  • Gratin - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - link

    Does it mean it takes an addition of 90W to raise the base clock frequency from 3.3 to 4Ghz?
    54% more power to increase the frequency by only 29%?
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - link

    Sounds about right, they're already rising above their voltage/frequency sweet spot at that point. It only gets worse from there upwards!
  • RSAUser - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    Yes, same as AMD's Zen 1 sweet spot was around 3.6GHz clock vs power, with 4 usually drawing quite a bit more, and some having a doubling of power draw from 3.6 to 4.2-4.4 (about 20% higher clock) depending on binning.

    It's completely normal, GPU's have the same problem, it's also why Vega runs so hot as it's way overclocked from what its best power/performance ratio is in order to compete with Nvidia.

    Nvidia also does the same because users look at reviews performance charts, most don't care about the power usage/know how to interpret it, so higher numbers is all that matters.

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