AnandTech has seen documents and supporting information from multiple sources that show that Intel is planning to release a new high-end desktop processor, the Core i9-9990XE. These documents show that the processors will not be sold at retail; rather they will only be sold to system integrators, and then only through a closed online auction. 

This new processor will be the highest numbered processor in Intel's high-end desktop line. The current top processor is the i9-9980XE, an 18 core part with a base frequency of 3.5 GHz and a turbo frequency of 4.0 GHz. The i9-9990XE, on the other hand, is not simply the 9980XE with an increase in frequency. 

Intel Basin Falls Skylake-X Refresh
AnandTech Cores TDP Freq L3
L3 Per
i9-9990XE $auction 14 / 28 255 W 4.0 / 5.0 19.25 1.375 2666 44
i9-9980XE $1979 18 / 36 165 W 3.0 / 4.5 24.75 1.375 2666 44
i9-9960X $1684 16 / 32 165 W 3.1 / 4.5 22.00 1.375 2666 44
i9-9940X $1387 14 / 28 165 W 3.3 / 4.5 19.25 1.375 2666 44
i9-9920X $1189 12 / 24 165 W 3.5 / 4.5 19.25 1.604 2666 44
i9-9900X $989 10 / 20 165 W 3.5 / 4.5 19.25 1.925 2666 44
i9-9820X $889 10 / 20 165 W 3.3 / 4.2 16.50 1.650 2666 44
i7-9800X $589 8 / 16 165 W 3.8 / 4.5 16.50 2.031 2666 44

The Core i9-9990XE will be a 14 core processor, but with a base frequency of 4.0 GHz and a turbo frequency of 5.0 GHz. This makes it a super-binned 9940X.

Intel is listing this processor as 'off roadmap', meaning it won't come to retail. Instead of selling to end users directly, Intel will offer it to select OEMs via a series of auctions, held once a quarter, with the first auction scheduled for the third week of 2019. This means the price of the processor is not fixed, and will depend on how much each system integrator is willing to pay. We also learned that only three system integrators will be at the first auction.

Overall, this method means that Intel does not have to commit to volume sales: because these chips are super binned, they likely can only build a few hundred a quarter, hence the one auction per quarter. 

Other details about the chip that we have learned include that it will have a listed TDP of 255W, which means the peak power will be higher. Motherboard vendors will have to support 420 amps on the power delivery for the chip (which at 1.3 volts would be 546 watts), and up to 30 amps per core. It will be for the socket 2066 X299 motherboards already on the market, and perhaps importantly, there is no warranty from Intel. This means that system builders will not be able to recoup costs on dead silicon, but they might give their own warranty to end users.

Well this is interesting. We have reached out to Intel for comments.

Update 1/16: Intel's official line on the matter is: 'We do not have a comment.'

Update 1/17: Intel has sent us a second comment, confirming its existance, the target market, and the reasons for the auction:

“The Intel® Core™ i9-9990XE is designed specifically for the financial services industry because of specific customer requirements. Because the Intel® Core™ i9-9990XE was built with unique specifications and high frequency to meet the workload needs of this targeted industry, it can only be produced in limited quantities and will not be broadly made available. The part will be offered through an auction to ensure fairness in supply distribution.” – Intel spokesperson 

Update 1/18: One of our sources is now stating that the Core i9-9990XE will offer an all-core turbo of 5.0 GHz, and a 'Turbo Max 3.0' frequency of 5.1 GHz.

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  • danielfranklin - Monday, January 14, 2019 - link

    That would make it a "Super binned" i9-9940X, not 9960x right?
  • Ian Cutress - Monday, January 14, 2019 - link

    Correct :)
  • IGTrading - Monday, January 14, 2019 - link

    Rich, ignorant morons and research scientists where the 5 GHz frequency may show some productive benefits will bid against each other .

    Leave it to Intel to "justify" ridiculous prices and rare/extreme use cases :)
  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - link

    The purpose of creating a bidding war for a low volume niche product is to generate conflict and drive sales of down stack SKUs. It's sort of like that college business textbook example owning two pizza restaurants operating under different names and then creating an artificial price war between them to drive sales of both restaurants upward as customers banner-wave for their favorite pizza place. Not exactly the same thing, but the press coverage a stunt like this will generate results in a lot of controversy, discussion, and low cost to free advertising. I would have expected Intel to be a bit less amateur about it, but I guess not every marketing idea is a win.
  • solomonshv - Wednesday, April 17, 2019 - link

    this is meant for stock brokers and hedge funds, where trading at exactly the right second can make a difference of millions of dollars. threadripper is completely useless for this. a $500 Dell PC from best buy with an intel i5 CPU would do a better job than any threadripper for this application.
  • jrs77 - Monday, January 14, 2019 - link

    This makes it a super binned 9940X not 9960X.

    I guess this is some sort of last ditch effort to win the epeen-race against AMD, who is currently murdering intel with their lineup.
  • flptrnkng - Monday, January 14, 2019 - link

    "This makes it a super-binned 9960X"

  • Xex360 - Monday, January 14, 2019 - link

    Why not the 9980xe?
  • Ian Cutress - Monday, January 14, 2019 - link

    The 9980XE already exists. What's the question?
  • Zok - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - link

    I'm thinking Xex360 meant to ask "Why not release a 5 GHz version of 9980XE?". That said, that'd be a more difficult (perhaps impossible) binning, due to both heat and defects.

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