Intel Core i9-10980XE Extreme Edition Review

Intel Core i9-10980XE Extreme Edition Review

The Core i9-10980XE Extreme Edition is Intel’s newest desktop Core X-Series processor. It’s part of Intel’s current 10th Generation CPU wave, although it’s nearly identical to its previous-generation Core X counterpart. The only notable enhancement is a significant price reduction of $979, down from $2,000 for the previous-generation model. While the price-to-performance ratio has improved, AMD’s rival processors are still a superior deal.

An 18-Core Powerhouse:

The Intel Core i9-10980XE Extreme Edition processor features 18 cores and 36 threads, with a TDP of 165 watts. For anyone who doesn’t run resource-intensive software on a regular basis, this chip is overkill. This CPU slices through practically any other consumer or prosumer computing workload, including 3D gaming, like butter. The new Intel Core i9-10980XE processor supports up to 256GB of memory in a quad-channel configuration, up from the previous generation’s limit of 128GB. In addition to the 24 lanes dedicated for the CPU, the chip offers 48 PCI Express lanes, up from 44 lanes in the previous iteration. Because all Core X-Series processors may be overclocked, you may be able to achieve even higher maximum clock rates provided you have the necessary expertise and equipment.

Overkill for Gaming:

The Intel Core i9-9900K is a much better CPU for gaming, especially at resolutions higher than 1080p. Most games can’t take advantage of anything close to 18 cores, thus the higher base and boost clocks are more beneficial. When combined with a high-end video card, all of the CPUs deliver frame rates significantly in excess of 60 frames per second (fps) on popular games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Test Setup:

At this point in the line-up, the Intel Core i9-10980XE is one of the most powerful X-Series CPUs available. For uniformity in cooling, we used an Asus ROG Strix X299-XE Gaming motherboard and a Corsair Hydro Series H150i PRO liquid cooler.

Enough Headroom to Overclock:

Depending on your sample, Intel’s Core i9-10980XE can provide plenty of headroom. Using Intel’s Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU) app’s one-click overclock capability, we were able to establish system stability at 4.9GHz. The quality of these components, as well as the enthusiast’s skill, have a big impact on overclocking results.

AMD Alternatives: Suddenly, a Killer Lineup

The current benchmark for high-end desktop CPUs (HEDT) is Intel’s Core i9-10980XE, although it isn’t a direct competitor to AMD’s flagship chip, the  AMD Ryzen 9 3950X. The AMD Threadripper 3960X and the Zen-powered AMD CPU are the two closest rivals, both of which are based on cutting-edge 7nm technology.

Power Consumption:

The Intel Core i9-10980XE is the newest and most powerful X-Series processor to be released by Intel. This means that upgrading your PSU shouldn’t be a big deal, especially if you already have an Intel i97960X.

CPU Performance Testing:

We used an Asus Prime X299-Deluxe motherboard and 32GB of Corsair RAM in a quad-channel configuration to test the chip. Unlike AMD’s Threadripper CPUs, Intel’s Core X-Series processors don’t come with built-in coolers; you’ll need to build your own. In our benchmark tests, Intel’s 14nm Core i9-10980XE CPU outperformed AMD’s Zen-powered Threadripper 3960X and the less-expensive, lower-TDP Ryzen 9 3950X.

 On the all-core test, the difference between the two CPUs is small, but the AMD chip still wins. This advantage isn’t significant, though, because such a strong chip is just too powerful for this type of operation. Cinebench R20 is a newer version of the Maxon 4D-based test that shows how well a CPU can handle modern rendering techniques.


  • Compatible with the X299 chipset ecosystem. 
  • Much less expensive than the previous generation. 
  • Up to 48 PCI Express lanes are supported. 
  • Overclocking potential is good. 
  • Enable for up to 256GB of memory on motherboards that support it.


  • On many performance benchmarks, it underperforms its less costly AMD Ryzen counterpart. 
  • A new motherboard is required to accommodate more than 44 lanes.


Intel’s Core i9-10980XE is an enthusiast-class CPU that can’t quite live up to the “Extreme” in its moniker, with limited enhancements over its predecessor and performance lagging behind a less-expensive AMD Ryzen equivalent in many circumstances.

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