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Intel's workstation X-series chips are a bit faster and much cheaper

Intel also updated its W-Series Xeon chips used in the iMac Pro.
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Following a leak last week, Intel has officially revealed performance figures and other data for its 18-core i9 Extreme Edition and other 9th-gen X-Series chips. As we already knew, the 10-, 12-, 14- and 18-core chips can be boosted to speeds up to 4.8 GHz. That will apparently yield a modest performance bump of seven percent for Maya and 3DS Max rendering tasks compared to the last-gen models. The chips will also double the "inference" AI throughput, but that will only be of benefit to deep-learning specialists.

Intel didn't mention gaming performance increases, as the chips are aimed more at creators and researchers, but gamers can probably expect a similarly modest gain. Other new features include 72 PCIe 3.0 lanes, WiFi 6 support and faster ethernet. Unlike AMD, Intel doesn't plan to support PCIe 4.0 this year, despite the potential for incredible NVMe SSD speeds. Despite the confusing new 10xxx nomenclature, Intel has emphasized that these are 9th-generation, not 10th-generation chips.

Intel Core X-Series and W-series Xeon updates

As we've already noted, the best part about the X-Series is the much-reduced prices, ranging from $590 for the 10-core i9-10980XE to $979 for the 18-core i9-10980XE Extreme Edition. The original 18-core i9-7980XE chip, which could hit a 4.4 GHz boost, cost $2,000 at launch.

Along with the X-Series CPUs, Intel showed off its latest W-2200 Xeon CPUs. Again, it promised a minor performance increase of 10 percent over the last generation for 3D rendering and 11 percent for 4K editing, with 2.2 times better AI inference performance.

However, Intel lowered the prices of those products significantly, too. The 18-core W-2295 model is now $1,333 compared to over $2,000, while the 10-core model runs $778. Note that these W-series chips are the same ones used by Apple in its iMac Pro series, so hopefully we'll see an update to those models soon.

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