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First Intel Core i9-10980XE review gives an early look at performance

Intel officially announced its new line of Cascade Lake-X HEDT CPUs a few weeks ago, with SKUs all the way up to 18 cores and more competitive pricing to combat the growing popularity of Ryzen. The full launch is coming in November with reviews set to drop around the same time as retail availability. While most outlets are still waiting on samples for testing, one site was able to get their hands on the Core i9-10980XE and has delivered some early performance comparisons. 

Romanian tech site Lab501 apparently managed to get an early sample for the upcoming Extreme Edition chip and got it running on a Gigabyte Aorus Master X299 motherboard with an updated BIOS. The CPU-Z screenshot lists this chip with (ES) in the specification, indicating that it is an engineering sample, rather than the final retail version. 

Since the Ryzen 9 3950X and 3rd Gen Threadripper CPUs have not launched yet, the Core i9-10980XE is compared to the Ryzen 9 3900X, Ryzen 7 3700X, Ryzen 7 2700X, Core i9-9900K, Core i7-9700K and Core i7-8700K. 

We’ll run down a few examples of benchmark results, starting off with DaVinci Resolve 15. In this test, Lab501 reports the Core i9-10980XE crunching through a 4K/UHD video file in 96 seconds, which is closely followed by the Ryzen 9 3900X at 109 seconds. The next closest score came from the Ryzen 7 3700X, which got through the test in 157 seconds.

In a single-thread run of Cinebench R20, the Core i9-10980XE does fall behind the Ryzen 9 3900X, scoring 458 points versus 522. However, while running it in multi-thread mode, the 10980XE gains a big advantage, scoring 8563 points compared to the Ryzen 9 3900X’s 7076 points. In a PCMark 10 run, the Core i9-10980XE is shown as scoring 7214 points, while the Ryzen 9 3900X edges it out with 7571 points.

In gaming tests, results show the Core i9-10980XE coming within a few frames per second of the Core i9-9900K and trading blows with the Ryzen 9 3900X depending on resolution and the specific game. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the Ryzen 9 3900X beats the Core i9-10980XE by one frame per second at 4K with an RTX 2080Ti. However, the two CPUs get matching scores at 1440p and 1080p with 4x AA enabled. In Metro Exodus, the results are similar, with the Ryzen 9 3900X getting a 1fps advantage at 4K, although AMD’s CPU is able to maintain a small lead at 1440p and 1080p as well.

There are a bunch of other benchmarks in their review if you want to take a look at the full post. Just keep in mind that we can’t verify any of these results ourselves at this point in time, as we still need to do our own testing. With that in mind, take the results with a pinch of salt until additional sources start posting their results for final retail samples. We should know the full extent of performance within the next few weeks as we get closer to the full launch.

KitGuru Says: It will be a little while before we start to see final retail sample performance results and of course, 3rd Gen Ryzen Threadripper and Ryzen 9 3950X comparisons are also going to be very interesting. November is shaping up to be a rather big month in the CPU world. Are any of you waiting on new HEDT CPUs before upgrading? 

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