Intel’s new Skylake-X CPUs have taken over our top two tiers, Extremist and Monstrous. They have effortlessly dethroned Intel’s previous line of high-end CPUs, Broadwell-E.
The new additions to our highest-end CPU recommendations are the i9-7900X (10 cores; $1,000) and i7-7820X (8 cores; $600). They replace last generation’s i7-6950X (10-cores; $1,700), i7-6900K (8 cores; $1,100), and i7-6850K (6 cores; $600).
Considering their price and performance, replacing the older generation with the new CPUs was a no-brainer. The i9-7900X outperforms the i7-6950X in nearly every measure, and for $700 less — with the exception of L3 cache-sensitive workloads. The 7820X follows moderately behind, but still well ahead of its price equivalent from last generation, the 6850K.
For now, we have excluded the i7-7800X (6 cores; $400). It’s just a little too slow and expensive compared to AMD’s Ryzen chips.
We are also excluding the two new Kaby Lake-X CPUs, the i7-7740X and i5-7640X. These new chips are ~2% faster versions of the i7-7700K and i5-7600K, but they require more expensive motherboards that support the X299 chipset, and they use more power. The only logical reason we can see someone buying these would be as a stepping stone before upgrading to a Skylake-X chip when they have saved up more money. To us, that is not a very compelling use-case worthy of recommendation.
Our high-end CPU recommendations may be shaken up even more next month, as AMD is expected to release its Threadripper CPUs in late July. Stay tuned!