Intel Cascade Lake Core i9-10980XE Seems to Perform Worse than Core i9-9980XE

Just how fast is the new Core i9-10980XE? According to a leaked review, it might not even be on par with the outgoing i9-9980XE. This is on account of some troubling figures from a leaked review at Romanian site Lab501. The early review shows some pretty terrible performance figures for the 10980XE, especially in comparison to the 9900K.

We understand that the latter part operates at a somewhat higher clock, but multiple gaming and productivity benchmarks show the 10980XE lagging behind. The folks over at WCCFTech compared the 10980XE results to their 9980XE results and found approximately a 3 percent regression in Cinebench 20 scores.

What exactly could be the reason for this? One possibility is that the review was done with a non-retail 10980XE. Clock speeds and other factors can be changed even a couple of days before launch. Infamously, the R9 290 had a change its fan curve take right before launch that resulted in stock performance that was 15 percent faster than before. It’s quite possible that we’re looking at a 10980XE which isn’t set to final clocks.

On the other hand, it’s also possible that, between TDP constraints, binning, and the higher clock, the newer Cascade Lake 10980XE might be throttling harder than its Skylake-X 9th gen predecessor. It’s unlikely, but we might well be seeing a 10th gen part that performs worse than what came before. Intel’s been in a tough spot with regards to pricing for quite some time. Considering their monopolistic pricing structures from earlier, they’re understandably reticent about cutting prices in the face of Ryzen competition. Earlier missteps include releasing the 9700K with fewer threads than the 8700K (albeit with more physical cores). With pricing on their high-end 10th gen offerings cut by as much as 50 percent, Intel might just be facing some teething problems addressing this price-point. After all, the 10980XE is replacing a product that costs twice as much, while still being expected to perform better.

We don’t know exactly how Lab501 came to those numbers and we will hold judgment until we get our hands on the 10980XE. But this is definitely something that needs scrutiny, especially with the impending arrival of the Ryzen 9 3950X.

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