Intel i9 7900X Skylake-X Review
The Intel Core i9-7900X is one of those joyful things to sum up because the precis is so easy; it's blisteringly fast.
We fear that might not be enough though, so let's quickly run over the main points.
The i7-6950X on a X99 motherboard that was, until now, the benchmark for insane desktop performance is hardly a bad setup and one that still eats most of the competition for breakfast. It is also new enough that we didn't really think the new i7-7900X would take much of a lead. Sure there might be the odd place here and there where the additional features and refinement that form the basis of the X299 chipset might be enough to secure victory, but we expected the two big Intel ten core processors to swap positions throughout our testing. That was patently not the case, with the i9-7900X romping home in first place in every test that doesn't start with the words "PC Mark 7".
So it's insanely fast. That isn't all it has going for it.
Tweaking in the BIOS can take two different directions depending upon the result you wish to obtain. If you want to overclock then the 7900X will reward your efforts by getting comfortably north of the 4 GHz mark, with 4.8 GHz supporting most of our tests and 4.6 GHz running everything without getting too hot. It is certainly a warm processor though, as you would expect from something with this much silicon under the cover, so a good cooling solution is a bare minimum. We'd certainly not want to cool this with anything smaller than a 240mm AIO if youre planninjg on overclocking and 1.2v is probably going to be a ceiling even with a cooler like this if you like a quiet system. Delis are a viable option to reduuce a speculated 20c-30c off of your load temps but this comes with a great deal of risk and totally voiding your warranty. However, if you think ten cores at 4 GHz will be enough performance for you - and unless you're Pixar it probably is - then the 7900X also rewards undervolting. We managed to get it down to 1v VCore with the temperatures dropping to just a hair over 50°C. Excellent.
Lastly the price has to be taken into account. The i7-6950X that this replaces was £1500+ to buy, and you needed to get all the other parts on top of that. The i9-7900X hits the market at a much more - relatively - affordable £950 in comparison, which means if you've budgeted for a 6950X you can grab the 7900X and a motherboard and either a cooler or some RAM for the same money. With higher performance. It's just a win all round.
We knew the Intel Core i9 7900X was going to be good, new Intel launches always are, but we didn't expect the gap between this processor and the previous ten core offering to be quite so wide. If you must have the absolute best then the i7-7900X is the processor for you, and so it wins our OC3D Enthusiast Award.