It's already been a big year in the CPU market with the successful launch of AMD's Ryzen CPUs. But it's not over yet: Intel has a new line of CPUs of their own, starting with Skylake-X in June this year.
It all started with this image, which has flown around enthusiast forums and sites like wildfire over the last 24 hours:
It's taken from what appears to be a manufacturing presentation outlining Intel's Skylake-X series of CPUs. The most important element is that it takes away one of the main advantages AMD has with Ryzen right now: the i9 series starts with the hexacore/12 threaded i9-7800X, and goes all the way up to a 12 core/24 threaded i9-7920X, which will presumably settle into the same territory that the Broadwell-E/Haswell-E CPUs have done.
For those focusing on more affordable gaming rigs, major changes include a bump in the available L2 cache to 1MB per core. The i7-7740K will become the new i7-7700K more or less, but from there every CPU will have 6 cores or more. Here's the rumoured specs from the deck above:
12C/24T 16.5MB L3 44 PCIe lanes
10C/20T 13.75MB L3 44 PCIe Lanes 3.3Ghz Base, 4.3Ghz Turbo 2.0, 4.5Ghz Turbo 3.0
8C/16T 11MB L3 28 PCIe Lanes 3.6Ghz Base, 4.3Ghz Turbo 2.0, 4.5Ghz Turbo 3.0
6C/12T 8.25MB L3 28 PCIe Lanes 3.5Ghz Base, 4.0Ghz Turbo 2.0
4C/8T 8MB L3 16 PCIe Lanes 4.3Ghz Base, 4.5Ghz Turbo 2.0
Clock speeds for the i9-7920X haven't been leaked or revealed, and the chip supposedly won't be out until August anyway. As an added note, it's worth noting that all of this is rumoured at this point.
That said, benchmarks have started to appear online. Earlier this morning, a listing surfaced on the SiSoftware benchmarking database featuring an Intel 6 core/12 threaded CPU running off the Basin Falls platform, which is expected to power Intel's Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X CPUs:
In short, you can expect Intel to pitch the i9-7820X against the Ryzen 7 1800X, the i9-7800X against the Ryzen 7 1700X, and the i7-7740K against the Ryzen 5 CPUs for the gaming enthusiast crowd. The rumoured leak adds that Skylake-X chips will also support DDR4-2666MHz memory, which isn't much of a surprise given that we're in 2017.
It will be nice to see a 12 core CPU in 2017, but the reality is the 6 core or 8 core will be the most affordable and logical options for most gamers and consumers. We'll find out more about the CPUs in the coming months: Intel might have cancelled their annual developer forum for this year, but they've overtaken AMD as the sponsor of the PC Gaming Show at E3, and there's always Computex later this month. And as always, as soon as we know local pricing we'll pass the word along.