Intel might counter the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X with a new 22C/44T Core i9-10990X

The rumor mill’s been abuzz with the remarkable possibility that Intel might be working on a 22-core i9-10990X to retake the multicore performance crown from AMD.

A forum user on ChipHell recently posted CPU-Z and Cinebench R20 screenshots for the alleged Intel Core i9-10990X. From what we saw there, this is an absolutely monstrous part that throws questions of efficiency and practicality right out the window. This 22 core/44 thread part has an impressive 4.0 GHz base clock and a 5.0 GHz boost clock, offering better single-threaded performance than the likes of the i7-9700K. When it comes to multicore performance, it apparently beats out the 60-core Intel Xeon E7-4890-v2 and posts similar scores to the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X.

The CPU-Z screen indicates the processor isn’t anything particularly new, though. It’s still based on Intel’s ancient Cascade Lake X 14nm design. How did Intel manage to get this much performance out of it, then? By dialing the TDP up to, well…380W. That’s an unseen level of power draw for a CPU, and approaches figures seen in dual-GPU configurations. This is clearly Intel trying to regain the consumer CPU crown at any cost.

With the Core i9-10980XE coming in at $979, we expect the 10990XE to cost no less than $1500. If you’re looking at a CPU to game on, the Ryzen 9 3950X honestly makes more sense. Apart from being cheaper and drawing a lot less power, it’s not built on a dead platform: you can always upgrade to 4th-gen Ryzen with AM4+. Intel’s LGA 2066, meanwhile, is slated for obsolescence later this year with the rumored arrival of Intel’s 3rd gen HEDT series.

Regardless, for gaming, you don’t need a 22 core part. The Ryzen 5 3600X or if you are pushing 200 FPS, the Core i7-9700K are more than enough.

Will the i9-10990XE deliver better performance than AMD’s crop of consumer CPUs? Almost certainly yes. Will you want to buy it? You can answer that question yourself.


Penguin-published author, and journalist. Loves PC hardware but has terrible hand-eye coordination. Most likely to be found playing Total War or watching weird Russian sitcoms.
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