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Partners: Intel's New Core X Platform Means 'The Race Is On' With AMD For Gamers, Enthusiasts

Intel partners say that the company's new Core X Platform, launched Tuesday at Computex, puts the pressure on AMD in the high-end, performance computing segment.

Intel partners are cheering the company's new Core X desktop platform, launched Tuesday, saying the enthusiast lineup goes after AMD's products with new performance and multi-threading capabilities.

Intel said its new Core X platform equips gamers in the enthusiast segments with extreme performance and mega-tasking capacities – and it goes head-to-head with AMD's recently released "Threadripper" Ryzen processors.

"Intel's new Core X means the race is on," said Randy Copeland, president and CEO of Velocity Micro, a system builder and Intel partner based in Richmond, Va. "AMD certainly stepped up earlier this year with Ryzen, and Intel is punching right back with this impressive new Core X platform."

[Related: Intel Goes 'Extreme' With New Powerhouse Core X Processors]

Intel's processor lineup is led by the new Intel Core i9 processor brand, which has up to 18 cores and 36 threads and is targeted at enthusiast customers. Intel's Core i9 Extreme Edition 9-7980XE, which start at $1,999 and is targeted for advanced gaming, virtual reality, and content creation.

The Core i9 Extreme Edition packs two more cores than AMD's Ryzen "Threadripper" processor, a 16-core, 32-thread model that the company said will launch this summer. While AMD has remained quiet on pricing, it said two weeks ago its workstation-class CPU will debut on a new motherboard platform and include support for four memory channels.

A spokesperson from AMD did not respond to a request for comment before publication.

The "competition between Intel and AMD has long been a critical driver in terms of pushing the envelope of performance limits, and never more so than today," Douglas Grosfield, founder and CEO of Five Nines IT Solutions, a Kitchener, Ontario-based Intel partner, told CRN in an email.

"As virtual reality and augmented reality gain traction in the gaming world and the entertainment market, [and] also in the enterprise space, technology advancements like the HEDT platform will pave the way for amazing content and capabilities," he said.

Intel's Core i9 family has four lower tiers of processors which range from 10-core to 16-core versions with prices from $999 to $1,699, respectively.

Intel also introduced new Core i7 X-series processors as part of its Core X lineup, ranging from $339 for a quad-core, 8-thread model to $599 for an 8-core, 16-thread model, and a quad-core Core i5 processor starting at $242.

In addition to new chips, Intel updated its Turbo Boost Max Technology so that systems can now dynamically overclock to higher speeds when necessary.

With this new upgraded technology, Intel chips can identify two top-performing cores as the optimal cores and direct critical workloads to them for an overall jump in performance.

All Core X processors use Intel's new LGA 2066 socket and run on its new X299 platform, which includes new features like support for 24 lanes of chipset I/O and support for four-channel DDR4 2666 RAM. X299 also supports Intel's recently-launched Optane memory, according to Intel.

"We have been anxiously awaiting this product line. While the majority of our business revolves around server and storage products, we do still have an active high-end desktop and robust workstation market," said Andrew Kretzer, director of sales and marketing at Bold Data Technology, Fremont, Calif.-based Intel partner. "The X99 chipset based platforms have been getting long in the tooth, and it’s been difficult supporting some of our long time customers who have committed themselves to this product line."

For partners, desktop customers can only benefit from the competition between Intel and AMD as both vendors continue to push their processor lineups' performance capabilities.

Velocity Micro's Copeland said that along with PCIe solid state storage, DDR4 memory, and unbelievable new GPU technology, "the Core X and X299 chipset just open up a serious new age in attainable performance."

"For Velocity Micro, as an Intel partner, it means that the real winner of this competition is our gamers, prosumers, and high-end customers that have been waiting for another big performance leap to finally upgrade their system," said Copeland.

"It also makes it easier for game and application developers to really push their software to take advantage of the unheard of new level of multithreaded capabilities that are available to every consumer," he said.

According to Intel, system and boxed processors are available through channel partners in all geographies and will be available in the coming weeks.

"This is by far the most extreme desktop processor ever introduced," said Gregory Bryant, general manager of Intel's Client Computing Group, in a statement. "With such a wide range of options and price points to match, the new Intel Core X-series processor family delivers the most scalable and accessible desktop platform for the enthusiast community."

Both Intel and AMD have good reason to butt heads for the enthusiast market; According to Intel, gamers and enthusiast customers represent a market that could grow up to 20 percent yearly, despite an overall sluggish PC market.

"New uses of data are driving transformation in profound ways, but also fueling new levels of user demand and expectation for the personal computer, a device that is central to so many every day," said Bryant. "This is in turn creating – and I say it with all conviction – one of the most exciting times we’ve seen in this industry. Innovation across the ecosystem is staggering."

Intel representatives did not respond before publication to questions about what the company's new Core X platform means in its competition against AMD, or what the platform means for its channel partners.

The competition will only ramp up as AMD is expected to unveil further details about its "Threadripper" platform during its press conference later tonight at the Taipei-based Computex conference.

Tune into for further updates and coverage around the Computex conference this week.

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