You know Intel is serious when it releases X-branded processors. Intel saves this designation for its beefiest chips, and some new parts have hit the market with a thud. These new chips used turbo-charged versions of Intel’s Skylake and Kaby Lake architectures to deliver fearsome levels of performance. We’re going to take a deep dive into these chips – and find out exactly why you should buy from Overclockers UK. X Marks the Spot Skylake processors were first introduced back in 2015, and the first wave of these chips included phenomenal parts like the Core i7-6700K and the Core i5-6600K – CPUs that sold by the bucket-load and still form part of world-class rigs today. The architecture impressed, with loads of PCI-E lanes and ample support for dual-channel memory, and the 14nm silicon delivered more bandwidth, better hyper-threading and rapid Turbo abilities. Skylake was great back then, and Skylake-X is even better. It introduces quad-channel memory support, a jump from 28 to 44 PCI-E lanes, more cache across the board and better Turbo abilities. And then, of course, there are the cores. Intel’s original Skylake chips peaked at four, but that’s not enough these days. Instead, Skylake-X chips start with six and ramp all the way up to eighteen cores. All Skylake-X chips are Hyper-Threaded, so double those core counts to discover how many threads each chip can handle. It’s a huge amount of power designed for intensive computing. If you run rendering applications, photography or video editing tools, streaming software, huge databases or CAD applications – then you’ll certainly benefit from an X-Series processor. They’re the perfect partner for a high-end workstation. Intel’s Skylake-X chips are brilliant, and now they’ve been joined by Kaby Lake X. Only a couple of chips have emerged from this new range, and they’re quad-core parts that have slotted into the existing Core i7 and Core i5 rosters. They’ve got better clock speeds and Turbo abilities, and they provide a little extra speed and overclocking potential. If you opt for a Skylake-X or Kaby Lake-X chip, you’ll also need to invest in a new ecosystem. Both of these ranges use the X299 chipset, which brings more PCI lanes and storage connections to the table. You’ll need a new motherboard, and you should also invest in some quad-channel memory to get a solid speed boost from some better DDR4. Cheap as Chips? You’d be forgiven for thinking that beefy Skylake-X parts are expensive, but that’s not always the case. The Core i7-7800X is Intel’s entry-level Skylake-X processor, and you’ll only have to pay £299.99 to get your hands on the chip – around £10 cheaper than a Core i7-8700K. The i7-7800X has six cores, which means support for twelve threads – so there’s ample multi-tasking ability for tough work tasks. This chip runs at 3.5GHz with a Turbo peak of 4GHz, and it has 8.25MB of cache. It also has quad-channel memory support, which is another area where this Skylake-X part outpaces conventional consumer chips. The i7-7820X adds two extra cores and 100MHz of clock speed and raises the price to £479.99, and beyond that part is a whole new range that offers even more spectacular performance. That’s because Skylake-X marks the first time that Intel has released Core i9 processors. This designation has been deployed to mark out chips that have huge core counts and performance levels – perfect for the most demanding scenarios and most powerful workstation rigs. To enter this rarefied world of extreme power, you’ll need the Core i9-7900X. This monster chip has ten cores that support twenty threads, and the clock speed of 3.3GHz uses Turbo to hit an impressive peak speed of 4.5GHz. It’s got 13.75MB of L3 cache. Of course, it’s hardly a surprise that Intel’s fastest and beefiest-ever chips cost a little bit more. The i9-7900X costs £779.99. Amazingly, the i9-7900X and its ten cores represent the starting point of the Core i9 range. Intel has four other chips in this range, and it’s topped off by the i9-7980XE – a monstrous eighteen-core chip that’ll cost you £1,559.99. Most of the Intel X range uses the Skylake architecture, but a handful have now appeared that use Kaby Lake. The Core i7-7740X is a quad-core chip with higher speeds than its more conventional stablemates – and Intel has used that approach for the i5-7640X. Chips in the Bin Intel’s X-Series chips are fast enough – but there’s another option if you still need a bit more speed. Overclockers UK tests every Intel X-series processor to find out which chips are the most capable – because only around 5% of chips will run at their highest guaranteed frequency. Every X-series chip is tested on top-tier hardware by world-renowned overclocker Ian Parry aka 8Pack to find out which processors make the grade. Once we’ve found out which chips are the most capable, they’re de-lidded – a process that involves replacing the standard Thermal Interface Material with one that’s far more capable. That step reduces temperatures and increases overclocking headroom. There is a price premium to pay for an Overclockers UK pre-binned chip, but it’s a small price to pay for one of the world’s fastest processors. Take the i7-7800X: a pre-binned version of the processor will run at 4.7GHz, and it costs £399.98. The i9-7900X will run at 4.7GHz, too, and it’ll cost you £959.98. The Overclockers UK Difference Pre-binned processors isn’t the only area where Overclockers UK can give you an advantage. Our Renda systems are designed for high-intensity workloads, like rendering – hence the name – alongside video production, CAD design and database work. The Renda G3-PP, for instance, is a beast. It’s got the eight-core i7-7820X, which handles sixteen threads and runs at a Boost peak of 4.5GHz, and it’s paired with a mighty 32GB of memory. An Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 motors through graphically intense tasks, and the Samsung 960 Pro SSD is one of the fastest on the market. It’s paired with a 4TB hard disk, so you’ve got plenty of space to store work files. As ever, this Renda rig can be completely customised, and it’s protected with our standard three-year warranty. And, if that’s not all, we now go one step further. We’ve launched Renda Solutions, which offers precision and ability for a huge range of business situations. We can build systems with unparalleled performance, no matter the scenario – we’ve already worked with companies in industries as diverse as motor racing, law enforcement, academia and cryptocurrencies. Our Renda systems offer highly-tuned computers, hand-picked components and expert engineering to take your business to the next level – and our knowledge is the perfect partner for Intel’s X-Series processors. Written by Mike Jennings.