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Intel Core Architecture

Intel Core Architecture

Intel Core Architecture

The Intel Core X family of processors begin with the Core i5-7460X and range all the way to the Core i9-7980XE which houses 18 cores. The two base processors which include the Core i5-7460X and the Core i7-7740X are based on the Kabylake-X architecture while all other Core X processors are based on the Skylake-X architecture. This is important because many of the features found on the Skylake-X versions of the Core X processor are not available on Kabylake-X. Most notably, the Kabylake –X versions only support two memory channels rather than four such as that which is supported on Skylake-X and the Kabylake-X is limited to 16 PCIe lanes. Given this, what differentiates the Kabylake-X from the Kabylake? There are some significant differences. First, the Kabylake-X processors have higher base frequencies which are important to gamers. Second, the Kabylake-X does not have an integrated graphics engine which actually allows for higher and more efficient overclocking, another advantage for gamers.

The remaining processors in the Core-X stack are based on the Skylake-X micro architecture. In addition to supporting four memory channels and up to 44 PCIe busses, Skylake X processors utilize a mesh topology for communication between the processor cores rather than the tradition ring. The mesh topology was introduced on the Xeon Phi Knights Landing and is used on the Xeon Scalable family but with Skylake-X the mesh design is now used on desktop processors. The importance with the mesh design is reduced latency in communication between processor cores. With the ring design the cores were connected by a ring that circles the cores. If a particular core needed information from another core the communication followed along the ring until it reached the proper core. This method was very efficient with dual or quad core configurations but as more cores were introduced the more delays occurred in communication. The previous high end enthusiast processor, the Broadwell-E, used a ring topology to connect the 12 cores but this proved to be very cumbersome. The mesh design allows communication between CPUs to be more efficient and done with less latency which helps improve the performance of the CPU.

Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0
Starting with the 8 core i7-7820X, the Core-X processors get an update to Intel Turbo Boost with Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0. The difference is the tool evaluates core performance to determine the best performing core and then automatically boost that core to its maximum capability when running single threaded applications. The result is slightly higher frequencies in turbo boost because the best core is being utilized.