Intel Core i9-10980XE and Asus ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II review

Intel Core i9 10980xe below ndtv Intel

Intel has faced a number of key consumer issues this year, particularly the continuing issues with 10nm CPU delivery and a massive lack of 14nm production, resulting in low deliveries and price spikes. In addition, the competitor AMD has had a successful year in almost all product categories, which has also given Intel a boost. As a company that was considered unrivaled for almost a decade, it was not easy. While plans for 2020 look like there are good prospects of a recovery on the horizon, we're not quite there yet.

At the moment, the Intel CPU portfolio for end users is highly fragmented, and many are wondering how and why there are 8th, 9ththand 10th Gen options on the market at the same time. As most enthusiasts know, these generation numbers have very little to do with what architecture is actually used and with the 10thth Generation is particularly confusing – if you're looking for a laptop, the 10thth The gene badge may lead you to a 14nm Comet Lake CPU or a completely different 10nm Ice Lake CPU, and you may never know the difference.

At the opposite end of the market, the high-end desktop area, Intel has also launched new CPUs of the X series with 10xxx numbering, which, however, are not technically marketed as "10"th Gen ”, they exist within the same timeline. These new CPUs are intended for creating extensive content and for multitasking, especially in professional workstation environments. They are based on the 14nm architecture & # 39; Cascade Lake-X & # 39; which is an update of the well-known Skylake-X architecture on which the Core X series 9xxx and 9xxx 7xxx lineups are based.

The big news is pricing – with AMD's extremely competent Ryzen Threadripper family, Intel has cut the cost of the new X series by more than half. The new flagship 18-core Core i9-10980XE officially costs $ 979 (approx. 70,000 rupees plus taxes), compared to $ 1,979 (approx. 1.40,000 rupees plus taxes) at the start of its predecessor, the 18th Core Core i9 -9980XE.

It is inevitable that this CPU will be compared to the recently launched third generation AMD Ryzen Threadripper family. In our test, we will check whether the latest high-end CPU from Intel with 18 cores can keep up with the equivalent 24-core 3960X thread ripper.

Intel Core i9 10980xe below ndtv Intel

The Intel Core i9-10980XE is pin compatible with existing X299 motherboards

Intel Core i9-10980XE architecture and specifications

The 2019 update of the Core X series, known as the Cascade Lake X family, includes four models. There are the 10-core core i9-10900X, the 12-core core i9-10920X, the 14-core core i9-10940X and the flagship core i9-10980XE with 18 cores that we are reviewing today. Remarkably, there is still no 16-core model that prevents a direct comparison with the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X or the Threadripper 2950X from the previous generation.

In addition to the high-end desktop market (HEDT), Cascade Lake is succeeding Skylake for some of Intel's scalable Xeon W and Xeon processors for workstations and servers. All of these chips use a 14 nm manufacturing process. The X series will not compete with AMD's absolute top end, the upcoming 64-core 3990X thread ripper.

The Core i9-10980XE has a base speed of 3 GHz and a Turbo Boost speed of 4.6 GHz. In particular, the X-Series CPUs from Intel also support Turbo Boost Max 3.0, which can now be used to operate the four most powerful cores with up to 4.8 GHz, provided there is performance and thermal latitude. There is hyperthreading so that each core can run two threads at the same time. The TDP power is 165 W and the L3 cache memory is 24.75 MB. RAM support of up to 256 GB DDR4-2933 over four channels. Intel's Optane Memory Accelerators are also supported. There is no integrated GPU and no cooler in the box, as is typical for high-end CPUs.

Unlike AMD's current offerings, Intel still uses the PCIe 3.0 connection standard and not PCIe 4.0. There are a total of 48 PCIe lanes, four more than Skylake-X. You need a motherboard with Intel's X299 controller, and although this means that it is backward compatible with the previous generation of motherboards, you can find newer updated models on the market. If you buy now, keep in mind that there is likely to be no other generation that can use the same platform.

It is important that the Cascade Lake-X family implement measures at the hardware level against speculative execution exploits. The known Specter and Meltdown vulnerabilities particularly affected the Intel CPUs. Corrections have been introduced in the latest product launches that go beyond the possibilities of software patches. Another interesting new feature is Intel's Deep Learning Boost instruction set, which claims to improve AI inference calculations by up to two times.

asus rog strix x299 gaming ii ndtv asus

The Asus ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II is an updated model optimized for Cascade Lake-X

Features and specifications of the Asus ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II

As the name suggests, the ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II is an update to the ROG Strix X299-E gaming model that we tested at the premiere of the first-generation Core X series. It's strange that Asus brings out gaming motherboards for this workstation-class CPU, but there is a slight overlap and the name is less important than the features. Asus has used the four additional PCIe lanes that a Cascade Lake-X CPU offers with three full-length PCIe slots, which can be designed as x16 / x16 / x8 and three M.2 slots for NVMe SSDs.

You also get eight SATA ports, integrated Intel Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5, 12-phase voltage regulator and a small OLED panel next to the CPU socket, on which diagnostic information or your own graphics can be displayed.

On the back are Gigabit and 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet connections, three USB 3.2 Gen2 connections (10 Gbit / s) of type A and one type C connection, two further USB 3.2 Gen1 connections (5 Gbit / s) and four USB 2.0 ports as well as an optical S port / PDIF and analog audio outputs. The headers on the front give you even more connectivity.

In terms of design and usability, we are not fans of Asus' latest "cyber text" aesthetic, where "geeky" words and phrases are printed everywhere. We think it's cheesy, but some people like it a lot. There is RGB accent lighting above the rear IO port cluster. If you also want something else, you have to get your own accessories or light strips and insert them into the headers of the main board. The board itself is plain black all around. So if you turn off the few lights, you can get a fairly sober look.

You will notice a tiny fan in a case that covers the VRMs. There are also many headers for case fans and radiators. If you plan to overclock your CPU, there are two additional 8-pin power connectors in addition to the 24-pin ATX connector to ensure stability.

We had no problems setting up and using this motherboard. We noticed that the RAM slots are very close to the first PCIe slot and the retaining clips touched the back of our graphics card. You should primarily use a liquid cooler so that you don't have a large CPU fan in your way. The third M.2 slot is vertical, so you'll need to screw in a metal retention plate to make sure your SSD isn't accidentally knocked out or torn.

It feels a little bit like this motherboard stands between trying to be a consumer model and being built into components at the workstation level. We believe Asus could have chosen EATX dimensions instead of packing everything into the ATX form factor given the target market.

Once you start up for the first time, Windows 10 will prompt you to install the Asus Armory Crate software. It is controversial that Asus decided some time ago to embed this software in the motherboard BIOS so that it cannot be run easily. At least the software is relatively inconspicuous and well designed. With this we can update all necessary drivers. Here you can also control your RGB LEDs and Asus ROG peripherals.

The Asus ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II is sold for around Rs. 42,000, which is a good value for a HEDT motherboard. You can still use X299 boards before the update (with a BIOS update) to save some money, but you'll likely want the most up-to-date features you can get if you spend so much anyway.

asus rog strix x299 rear ndtv asus

The Asus ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II offers numerous connection options and functions for an ATX board

Intel Core i9-10980XE performance

Our test stand consisted of the Intel Core i9-10980XE CPU and the Asus ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II motherboard as well as 32 GB (4 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 Corsair Dominator RAM, a 1 TB WD Black NVMe (2018) SSD as Startup drive, a Samsung SSD 860 Evo with 1 TB, a Sapphire Nitro + Radeon RX 590 graphics card, a Corsair H115i Platinum 280 mm AIO liquid cooler, a Corsair RM650 power supply and an Asus PB287Q 4K monitor. We used Windows 10 v1909 with the latest updates, as well as the latest BIOS and drivers.

Testing was pretty easy. We ran all of our usual synthetic benchmarks and real performance scenarios. You can see the results of the Core i9-10980XE compared to those of the Core i9-9900K, the Ryzen 9 3900X and the Threadripper 3960X from AMD. In many cases, it is worth checking exactly how much difference you can make with a mainstream Core i9 or Ryzen 9 processor compared to the processors of the HEDT Core X series and Ryzen Threadripper.

Intel Core i9-10980XE AMD Ryzen thread cutter 3960X AMD Ryzen 9
Intel Core i9-9900K
Cinebench R20 CPU single-threaded 452 504 495 N / A
Cinebench R20 CPU with multiple threads 8,729 13.265 6,785 N / A
POVRay * 35 seconds 23 seconds 41 seconds 57 seconds
VRAY CPU * 37 seconds 25 seconds 48 seconds 1 minute, 2 seconds
Corona Renderer Benchmark * 57 seconds 38 seconds 1 minute, 19 seconds 1 minute, 42 seconds
Mixer benchmark * 8 minutes, 55 seconds 5 minutes, 54 seconds 10 minutes, 59 seconds 15 minutes, 21 seconds
Basemark Web 3.0 444.89 453.29 549.99 394.61
WebXprt 237 247 260 272
PCMark 10 6,914 6,693 6597 4.957
PCMark 10 Extended 7.967 7743 6807 3,435
3DMark Fire Strike Ultra (physics) 28.111 25.437 27,471 21550
SiSoft SANDRA CPU arithmetic 496GOPS 697GOPS 366GOPS 282.45GOPS
SiSoft SANDRA CPU Multimedia 2.13 GPix / s 2.4 GPix / s 1.26 GPix / s 918.22 MPix / s
SiSoft SANDRA CPU encryption 25.65 Gbps 41.3 Gbps 18.09GBps 12.12 Gbps
SiSoft SANDRA cache bandwidth 701.53 Gbps 1.43 TBps 589.9 Gbps 307.32 Gbps
SiSoft SANDRA memory bandwidth 52.19 Gbps 63.52 Gbps 26.62 Gbps 21.85 Gbps
7Zip file compression * 1 minute, 8 seconds 56 seconds 1 minute, 33 seconds 2 minutes, 12 seconds
Handbrake video coding * 37 seconds 31 seconds 35 seconds 39 seconds
*less is better

Intel is pushing ahead with its older architecture and manufacturing process. We see that AMD's 24-core Ryzen 3960X thread ripper pretty much wipes out the Core i9-10980X in most content creation tests, although it's also more expensive and has a much higher TDP rating. Compared to the still impressive Core i9-9900K, we see how the Core i9-10980XE benefits from a higher memory bandwidth, which illustrates the whole point of the HEDT segment.

We don't have a 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X for comparison, but when we extrapolate our 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X results, we see that things would be pretty close to each other most of the time if they didn't match evenly. AMD seems to have the upper hand in most cases, thanks to the Zen 2 architecture and possibly PCIe 4.0 support. While the mainstream Ryzen 9 series doesn't have that much grunt in many situations, the overall cost of the platform would be much lower.

Note that our tests are not designed to use Intel's DL boost features or AI processing in general. We also tried a bit of gaming, though we didn't focus on that for this test. If you don't encode and stream video while you are all playing on the same PC, the mainstream core i9-9900K or something less powerful is more than enough.

Intel Core i9 10980xe test ndtv Intel

Intel will have a hard time competing with AMD's current mainstream and thread ripper CPUs


Intel did the only thing it could have done. By assigning the high-end model and introducing the Core i9-10980XE at half the price of the previous model, a gradual improvement over the previous version can be achieved. In terms of performance per dollar, not just performance, this is a pretty big leap – though buyers of the Core i9-9980XE won't be happy about it.

This CPU is between two fixed options. On the one hand, there is the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X with 16 cores, which, however, could be limited by only 24 PCIe lanes and dual-channel memory. On the other hand, the Ryzen Threadripper 3960X would offer you 24 cores and much more bandwidth at the system level, but it is more expensive and has a much higher TDP.

The Core i9-10980XE has therefore created a tiny niche – if this chip would cost as much as the Threadripper, we would have written it off completely. As it looks now, the Core i9-10980XE could still be a good choice for those who trust Intel and want to stick with it. It is also suitable for users who need a solid workstation for multitasking or running several different types of applications, who may or may not take advantage of a very large number of cores.

If you can afford the Threadripper, go for it. If you want to save money across the entire platform, the 16-core Ryzen will give you most of what you need in most cases. If you think your workloads benefit from Intel's specific optimizations and features, but the X-Series has been too expensive in the past, this may be your chance to get on board. However, you have to expect very poor market availability and the cost of an X299 refresh motherboard.

Intel Core i9-10980X
Price (MOP):
Approximately Rs. 70,000 plus taxes


  • 18 cores plus a huge drop in prices
  • Good overall performance, AI optimizations
  • Adequate TDP


  • AMD competition on multiple fronts
  • The X299 platform will not have a great future

Reviews (of 5)

  • Performance: 4.5
  • Value for money: 4
  • Total: 4

Asus ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II
Price (MOP): Rs. 42,000


  • Restrained looks
  • Current connectivity including Wi-Fi 6
  • OLED diagnostic display
  • Easy to set up and use


  • Relatively cramped layout
  • Expensive

Reviews (of 5)

  • Features: 4.5
  • Performance: 4.5
  • Value for money: 4
  • Overall: 4.5