Intel Finally Seems to Be Taking Hardcore PC Gamers Seriously

Intel’s new Xeon processor.
Photo: Alex Cranz (Gizmodo)

Last week news broke that Intel had a whole new line of X-series processors, and this week the company has performance data, prices, and a shiny new Xeon processor to pile on top of that. All of it combines to suggest that Intel is might be done gouging people who want a processor with a lot of cores.

Okay, perhaps gouging is too strong a word. Intel doesn’t make terrible processors, but it definitely felt like the company has been overcharging for its fanciest processors over the last few years. The previous generation of X-series processors retailed for as much as $1,700, while the more pro-oriented Xeon W processors, with support for things like error-correcting code memory, maxed out at $2,553 for the 18-core W-2195. As a 32-core AMD Threadripper processor maxes out at $1,800, Intel’s processors have seemed like a pretty rotten deal.

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With its 10th generation of processors, Intel is trying to change that. The new Xeon W-2200 series maxes out with the W-2295, which has 18-cores, 36 threads, support for up to 1TB of RAM, and retails for $1,333. Intel says it’s put a lot of work into the AI abilities of the new chip with claims that this new series of Xeon W processors are up to 2.2 times faster than the previous generation in AI intensive tasks like image processing and 10 to 11 percent faster in more traditional processor tasks like 4K editing, software compiling, and 3D rendering.

Intel gave me a look at that performance. The set up was relatively simple. Two identical workbenches were tasked with opening and rendering a large 4K file. One workbench had the previous generation’s W-2195 while the other had this year’s W-2295. Each computer ran the exact same task multiple times in a row. On average, the W-2295 did the 4K rendering in 106 seconds and the W-2195 did it in 130 seconds.

That’s a solid bump in performance for a processor that’s $1,200 less than the previous generation.

Besides the W-2200 series, Intel also has the new 10th-gen X-series, which maxes out with the 18-core Intel Core i9-10980XE Extreme Edition. That processor will retail for $980—less than half the price of the previous generation’s top tier X-series processor. Intel says the new X-series should be 7 percent faster on average, though, it will maintain the same major jump in performance with AI tasks as the Xeon W-2200 series (2.2 times faster than the previous generation).

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And the price drops aren’t just limited to the ultra-high-end processors intended for streamers, professionals, and gamers with way too much money. Intel has also cut the prices on its line of 9th-gen S-series processors. Those CPUs tended to be a little cheaper as they don’t include an integrated GPU. That makes them ideal for gamers, who are already planning to buy a separate GPU from AMD or Nvidia.

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If you really need Intel inside your next gaming desktop, the company is making it a lot more appealing. However, we won’t know how it stacks up to AMD’s latest iteration of Ryzen until we check these new CPUs out ourselves. Intel says the new series of Xeon W and X processors will be available starting in November. However, the big S-series price drop goes into effect today.

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About the author

Alex Cranz

Senior Reviews Editor. Trained her dog to do fist bumps. Once wrote for Lifetime. Tips encouraged via Secure Drop, Proton Mail, or DM for Signal.