Intel’s Cascade-X HEDT squares off with AMD’s Threadripper

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Enlarge / Intel's clearly aiming squarely at AMD's Threadripper with the new Cascade Lake-X price cuts—and the shot lands hard against TR2—but we still don't know what will happen when TR3 lands in November. (credit: Intel Corporation)

Intel's new Cascade Lake-X high-end desktop lineup came out this week, and in this case, the performance news comes in second to the price. It costs you almost exactly half as much to buy any given Cascade Lake-X CPU as it would have cost for its Skylake-X counterpart last year, in obvious response to AMD's Threadripper CPUs—and likely in part to the Ryzen 9 3950X, due out in November along with the next generation of Threadrippers.

Skylake-X vs Threadripper 2x​

We don't have a firm set of specifications on the third-generation Threadrippers yet, but we can get a quick look at how Cascade-X compares with Threadripper 2000 below:
i9-10980XE 3.0GHz/3.8GHz165W TR 2990WX3.0GHz/4.2GHz250W
i9-10940X 3.3GHz/4.1GHz165W TR 2970WX3.0GHz/4.2GHz250W
i9-10920X 3.5GHz/4.3GHz165W TR 2950X3.0GHz/4.4GHz180W
i9-10900X 3.7GHz/4.3GHz165W TR 2920X3.0GHz/4.3GHz180W

[TD="align: center"] Intel CPU Model [/TD]
[TD="align: center"] Cores /
Threads
[/TD]
[TD="align: center"] Base/ACB
Freq
[/TD]
[TD="align: center"] TDP [/TD]
[TD="align: center"] Price
(1ku)
[/TD]
[TD="align: center"] AMD CPU Model [/TD]
[TD="align: center"] Cores /
Threads
[/TD]
[TD="align: center"] Base/ACB
Freq
[/TD]
[TD="align: center"] TDP [/TD]
[TD="align: center"] Price
(retail)
[/TD]

[TD="align: center"] 18/36[/TD]

[TD="align: center"] $980[/TD]

[TD="align: center"] 32/64[/TD]

[TD="align: center"]$1,700[/TD]

[TD="align: center"] 14/28[/TD]

[TD="align: center"] $785[/TD]

[TD="align: center"] 24/48[/TD]

[TD="align: center"]$1,220[/TD]

[TD="align: center"] 12/24[/TD]

[TD="align: center"] $690[/TD]

[TD="align: center"] 16/32[/TD]

[TD="align: center"]$700[/TD]

[TD="align: center"] 10/20[/TD]

[TD="align: center"] $590[/TD]

[TD="align: center"] 12/24[/TD]

[TD="align: center"]$380[/TD]
For one example, this year's high-end i9-10980XE goes for $980—and last year's 9980XE went for just under $2,000. We see roughly the same cost reduction across the board, down to the 10900X at $590 vs last year's 9900X at $990. This takes aim squarely at Threadripper. The interesting question is how AMD will respond with new Threadripper pricing next month; we already know the company at least pretends to enjoy playing elaborate price games.

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