AnandTech has seen documents and supporting information from multiple sources that show that Intel is planning to release a new high-end desktop processor, the Core i9-9990XE. These documents show that the processors will not be sold at retail; rather they will only be sold to system integrators, and then only through a closed online auction. 

This new processor will be the highest numbered processor in Intel's high-end desktop line. The current top processor is the i9-9980XE, an 18 core part with a base frequency of 3.5 GHz and a turbo frequency of 4.0 GHz. The i9-9990XE, on the other hand, is not simply the 9980XE with an increase in frequency. 

Intel Basin Falls Skylake-X Refresh
AnandTech Cores TDP Freq L3
L3 Per
i9-9990XE $auction 14 / 28 255 W 4.0 / 5.0 19.25 1.375 2666 44
i9-9980XE $1979 18 / 36 165 W 3.0 / 4.5 24.75 1.375 2666 44
i9-9960X $1684 16 / 32 165 W 3.1 / 4.5 22.00 1.375 2666 44
i9-9940X $1387 14 / 28 165 W 3.3 / 4.5 19.25 1.375 2666 44
i9-9920X $1189 12 / 24 165 W 3.5 / 4.5 19.25 1.604 2666 44
i9-9900X $989 10 / 20 165 W 3.5 / 4.5 19.25 1.925 2666 44
i9-9820X $889 10 / 20 165 W 3.3 / 4.2 16.50 1.650 2666 44
i7-9800X $589 8 / 16 165 W 3.8 / 4.5 16.50 2.031 2666 44

The Core i9-9990XE will be a 14 core processor, but with a base frequency of 4.0 GHz and a turbo frequency of 5.0 GHz. This makes it a super-binned 9940X.

Intel is listing this processor as 'off roadmap', meaning it won't come to retail. Instead of selling to end users directly, Intel will offer it to select OEMs via a series of auctions, held once a quarter, with the first auction scheduled for the third week of 2019. This means the price of the processor is not fixed, and will depend on how much each system integrator is willing to pay. We also learned that only three system integrators will be at the first auction.

Overall, this method means that Intel does not have to commit to volume sales: because these chips are super binned, they likely can only build a few hundred a quarter, hence the one auction per quarter. 

Other details about the chip that we have learned include that it will have a listed TDP of 255W, which means the peak power will be higher. Motherboard vendors will have to support 420 amps on the power delivery for the chip (which at 1.3 volts would be 546 watts), and up to 30 amps per core. It will be for the socket 2066 X299 motherboards already on the market, and perhaps importantly, there is no warranty from Intel. This means that system builders will not be able to recoup costs on dead silicon, but they might give their own warranty to end users.

Well this is interesting. We have reached out to Intel for comments.

Update 1/16: Intel's official line on the matter is: 'We do not have a comment.'

Update 1/17: Intel has sent us a second comment, confirming its existance, the target market, and the reasons for the auction:

“The Intel® Core™ i9-9990XE is designed specifically for the financial services industry because of specific customer requirements. Because the Intel® Core™ i9-9990XE was built with unique specifications and high frequency to meet the workload needs of this targeted industry, it can only be produced in limited quantities and will not be broadly made available. The part will be offered through an auction to ensure fairness in supply distribution.” – Intel spokesperson 

Update 1/18: One of our sources is now stating that the Core i9-9990XE will offer an all-core turbo of 5.0 GHz, and a 'Turbo Max 3.0' frequency of 5.1 GHz.

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  • TEAMSWITCHER - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - link

    Order of importance for proper system building...
    1. RTX 2080 TI (If you are not buying one of these, you might as well just get a chrome book.)
    2. Samsung 960 PRO or 970 PRO 1TB
    3. DDR4 3000 CL15 RAM (16GB minimum)
    4. Any 6+ core micro-processor from the last 4 years (for 99% of what you'll do .. it won't matter.)
  • PEJUman - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - link

    I can guess what you have:
    1. 2080TI bought at launch.
    2. 960 pro 1TB
    3. 32GB of DDR4 3200, CL16.
    4. i7 8700k or older.

    How many did I get right?
  • RSAUser - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    Depends on what you're building, if it is not parallelizable, then the higher CPU cores would be better/GPU doesn't really matter that much.

    You build according to need, and for some paying $4000 means nothing as that 5% boost will pay back off the device in a short amount of time.
  • 808Hilo - Sunday, January 20, 2019 - link

    A 2080 is not much better than a 1080 today. No need to upgrade till 3080 or better hits the shelves. My 1800x - is just well rounded. Its the small block of CPUs. Many cores and many threads win in my scenario over a low core, hf Intel chip. I can do 3d cad, fea, browse 100 sites, code video, play 3d games, mail, gimp, word, excel without lag or slowdown and I got an upgrade path...which Intel does not offer. Its by far the best pc I ve ever had. Its was also about 1000$ less than a similarly speced Intel chiped tool. I d rather buy four slightly slower AMD chipped PC than spending that money on a single 9900xe. Full redundancy is priceless compared to only one machine without chip warranty. Its really a nobrainer.
  • FreckledTrout - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    Weird to see a brainless wcftech like post. Odd seeing it here. People use computers for different things like running this web site, content creation, playing games, data mining, AI, high transactional financial systems, scientific simulations, running databases etc.

    This build is really just a high end gaming machine. This would make a terrible workstation for most content creation as you don't have near enough cores for parallelizing work. It certainly would be horrible at any server tasks.
  • KateH - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - link

    wow, that's a /lot/ of hype and manufactured exclusitivity for speeds that i would imagine are already being hit by overclockers with well-specced watercooling.

    With another year+ until Intel 10nm on the desktop and 7nm Ryzen dropping soon, I have a feeling we're going to see them in full-on "Pentium 4 Emergency Edition" mode (for those of you who remember that) and this is merely the beginning.
  • RSAUser - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    They're not really being hit by overclockers, the cooling requirement for 225W Intel is probably more along the lines of min. 300W if you go by Intel's dumb ratings. At that small an area to dissipate that amount of heat, better binning will be required.
  • rocky12345 - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - link

    What a joke less cores oh but it might turbo to 5GHz on 1 or 2 cores if you are lucky. Then they put it as Auction only item knowing most of these auctioned off will probably go for more than the 9980xe because well stupid people like to spend money on crap like this. Here is a thought just buy the i9 9940x if you want 14/28 setup and clock it to 5.0GHz your self and save a few bucks while doing it. Just my own opinion
  • DixonSoftwareSolutions - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - link

    I'm holding out for the i9 9999XE for $9,999.99. 18 core, 5GHz all core boost...only 999 manufactured.
  • HStewart - Thursday, January 24, 2019 - link

    About a decade ago I built a Supermicro Dual Xeon 5160 3Ghz monster with NVidia Geforce 5900 along with 8G of ram and superfast SAS drives - it still can run but Windows 10 has issues with audio drivers on this machine. It has Dell 30in dual-dvd monitor cost me around $8000

    For the longest time - it was faster then even some of early i7's and it was Core 2 based. It had total of 4 cores - no hyperthreading - it was faster than most machine primary because Xeon had better IO on them. Spending money on such a machine is because of reliability.

    I not sure the current desire for more cores - I think average user would not use more than 4 - it better to have more processing power in primary core than more cores. Of course Frequency is not the only factor - but it exciting to see Intel increase computational units in Sunny Cove.

    If I would choose between different faster less cores or slower more cores - I would choose faster less cores especially if having more cores means less faster primary core.

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