For much of the past decade, Intel has been dividing its flagship processors into Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 chips. Generally speaking, the higher the number, the higher the performance.
But now it looks like Intel may be kicking things up a notch. According to a leaked slide published by AnandTech forum member Sweepr, Intel could launch its first Core i9 processors this summer.
If the data in the slide is accurate, the first Core i9 chips will be part of the Skylake-X family of high-power desktop chips, with models ranging from the Core i9-7800X processor with 6 CPU cores to the Core i9-7920X with 12 CPU cores.
Each of the new processors is a 140 watt chip with support for quad-channel DDR4-2666 memory and support for hyperthreading (which means, for example, that the 12-core chip can handle 24 simultaneous threads).
There are also a couple of 112 watt, quad-core Intel Kaby Lake-X chips set to launch around the same time, but despite being based on a newer chip architecture, their spec sheets look generally less impressive.
We won’t know how Intel’s new Core i9 chips stack up against existing Core i7 processors or AMD’s new Ryzen chips until we start to see some real-world performance tests. But with AMD’s new chips offering competitive performance at a much lower price, it’ll be interesting to see if Intel’s next chips offer enough of a performance boost to help set them apart from AMD… and to justify the decision to introduce the Core i9 name.