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Intel Core i9-10980XE Extreme Edition review: Just more of the same

By Koh Wanzi - 25 Nov 2019

Gaming benchmarks

Gaming benchmarks

We only ran our gaming benchmark suite at 1080p, since that's where the CPU is more of a factor. At the higher resolutions that are more GPU intensive, the performance differences start to even out.



The synthetic 3DMark benchmark tests graphics and computational performance at different resolutions, starting at 1080p and going all the way up to 4K. A series of two graphics test, one physics test, and then a combined test stresses your hardware in turn to assess its performance.

We’ve also teased out the Physics and CPU scores for the Fire Strike Ultra and Time Spy Extreme tests and compiled them in a separate table to give a better idea of how each processor performed.

Performance is pretty similar across the board, although the Physics and CPU scores are more revealing. The Core i9-10980XE doesn't have the best showing in terms of Fire Strike Physics scores though, coming in behind the Ryzen 9 3900X. However, it manages to top the board for the Time Spy CPU numbers.


Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

Ashes of the Singularity has long been the poster child for the performance benefits a low-level API like DirectX 12 can bring. It is based on the Nitrous engine and can be extremely punishing thanks to the huge number of onscreen units and the sheer level of detail accorded to each unit. However, the CPU does become the limiting factor at lower resolutions and settings.

The Core i9-10980XE had a surprisingly strong performance here, coming ahead of even the Core i9-9900K at High settings. 


Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Mankind Divided features just about every trick to make your game look pretty, including things like volumetric and dynamic lighting, screenspace reflections, and cloth physics. Even though it was released in 2016, the game is capable of bringing even the most powerful systems to their knees. 

The new 18-core Intel chip does well in Mankind Divided too, beating even the Core i9-9900KS at High settings. It was also around 14 per cent quicker than the Ryzen 9 3900X at those same settings. However, the fastest chip here was the older Core i9-9900K.


Far Cry 5

The Core i9-10980XE was roughly on par with AMD's chips here, while the lead quite clearly belongs to the Core i9-9900K and Core i9-9900KS. 


Metro Exodus

Unfortunately, the Core i9-10980XE doesn't do as well in Metro Exodus, which is a really demanding game to run. It performed roughly the same as the Core i9-9980XE, and both chips were approximately 14 per cent slower than the Ryzen 9 3900X. It's possible that the game doesn't take too well to more cores, since the Ryzen 7 3700X also did better than the Ryzen 9 3900X. 


Middle-earth: Shadow of War

The Core i9-10980XE had another strong showing here, and it only trailed the Core i9-9900KS and Core i9-9900K, which are the best gaming CPUs you can get today. However, the Ryzen 9 3900X isn't that far behind, and it trails the Core i9-10980XE by just a handful of frames. At Ultra settings, the differences between the Intel Core-X and Ryzen processors are pretty much erased once the CPU becomes less of a limiting factor. 


Shadow of the Tomb Raider

The Core i9-10980XE performs well in Shadow of the Tomb Raider too, but it manages to hang onto its lead over the Ryzen chips even at the Highest settings. In the latter scenario, it was around 10 per cent faster than the Ryzen 9 3900X. 


Tom Clancy's The Division 2

The Core i9-1098XE is slower than the Ryzen 9 3900X at High settings, but the performance numbers even out at Ultra settings, even for the Core i9-9900K and Core i9-9900KS. 

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  • Performance 8
  • Features 8
  • Value 7.5
The Good
Aggressive Turbo Boost Max 3.0 speeds
Good multi-threaded performance
Huge price slash from the previous generation
The Bad
Not much faster than the Core i9-9980XE
Iterative upgrades that don't really bring anything new to the table
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