Intel Core i9-7960X & i9-7980XE Extreme Edition Sky Lake-X LGA2066 X299 CPU Review

Unboxing & A Closer Look

Since we have pre-launch samples, we don’t have the retail packaging to show you, so here is an Intel-provided render of the Core i9-7980XE Extreme Edition’s retail packaging.

And also a render of the retail box for the Intel Core i9-7960X

Like all of Intel’s pre-launch ‘Engineering Sample’ CPU’s, our chips arrive in a plain black box, with no markings beyond a static sensitive device warning.

Inside are two pieces of static dissipative foam than sandwich the CPU for safe shipping.

On the left is our sample Core i9-7960X sixteen-core CPU, marked with its base clock speed of 2.80 GHz.

On the right is our sample Core i9-7980XE Extreme Edition eighteen core CPU, marked with its base clock speed of 2.60 GHz.

The CPU’s themselves share the same Sky Lake-X HIS (Integrated Heat Spreader) over an otherwise identical substrate. Retail CPU’s will be marked with the full name and S-spec number rather than Intel Confidential and a Q-spec code.

The business end of the LGA 2066 substrate is the exact same on both down to the surface mount components in the center. There isn’t anything obvious here to tell which one is which, but the Extreme Edition is on the right.

All of our Sky Lake-X samples so far have this same IC on the opposite corner from the key denoted by the golden triangle.

The IHS on both chips has some fairly complex geometry. The two wings on either side do make it easy to grasp for installation or removal from the socket. The lower stepped area gives the LGA 2066 socket retention mechanisms plenty to clamp onto.

Just for comparison’s sake, you can quickly tell the difference between the Kaby Lake-X IHS on the left, pictured here as our sample Core i7-7740X vs our Sky Lake-X on the right.

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