The Core i9-7900X is the very first Intel CPU to use the Core i9 brand, letting clear that it is a higher-end lineup than the Core i7 models.
If we compare the highest-end CPU from the previous generation, the Core i7-6950X, we see some differences. Besides keeping the same number of cores (and threads), the first thing to draw the attention is the higher clock rate and the better overclocking potential, since the new model reached almost 1 GHz more than the older model.
You can also notice the reduction of the L3 cache, which looks weird until you see that the L2 cache has been multiplied by four, being now 1 MiB per core. This change in the cache topography may be the reason why it was way faster in some applications, but a little slower in some others.
You can also notice the price difference: while the Core i7-6950X costs around USD 1700 since it was launched (it was the highest-end model of its lineup), the Core i9-7900X arrives with the MSRP of USD 1000, which makes sense since Intel already announced new higher-end models to be launched on the next days, obviously costing more.
In order to analyze the performance of the Core i9-7900X, let’s do it one thing at a time. First, is it good for gaming? It is obviously not bad at all, but it is clear that it is no the focus of this CPU. And to be honest, buying a CPU that costs more than USD 400 for gaming is never the better choice.
On the other hand, the Core i9-7900X is focused in tasks that need a big multithread performance, which tipically occours in video processing and encoding, as well as in image and video rendering. In this tasks, this CPU is extremely fast, being superior to its predecessor in Blender, Cinebench and Handbrake, that are software that use all the computational power of every core and thread.
So, if you need a really fast CPU for this kind of work, and the investment will bring more productivity for your work, the Core i9-7900X is an excellent choice.
Now we have to wait the arrival of the new Core i9 models from Intel, with even more cores yet, as well as of the Ryzen Threadripper models from AMD, to see how the high-end CPU scenario will be from now on.