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AMD May Beat Intel To Market With PC Gaming Super Chip

June 19, 2017, 4:26 PM UTC

Advanced Micro Devices appears to have pulled ahead of Intel by a few months in the race to give video gamers and other PC performance junkies the latest and greatest chips.

Intel said on Monday that its recently announced, top-performing Core i9 Extreme Edition, a chip fast enough to hit supercomputing speeds of a few decades ago, won’t be available until October. AMD’s similar Ryzen Threadripper chip will be available from at least some PC makers by the end of next month. Shares of AMD rose 4%, while Intel’s stock price was up less than 1%.

While the overall PC market has been a slump for five years, the high end has lately been a bright spot, with gamers, photo and video editors, and others who crave supreme performance in desktop computers snapping up chips that cost $1,000 or more (full PCs including the chips typically cost about $3,000 and up). The speed of a gamer’s graphics chip also matters, but the main processor can speed thing up, particularly for users who like to record their gaming sessions. Catering to that demand, in mid-May, AMD announced that its new Ryzen line of chips would include a top-performing model called Threadripper. Intel countered two weeks later at the Computex show in Taiwan with a souped up version of i9 to top its new Core X line up.

Revealing shipping dates on Monday, Intel said it would have some of the lower-end processors in its revamped Core X lineup available almost immediately. The lower-performing end of the line up will be on sale for pre-order starting immediately for delivery June 26. That includes everything from the i5-7640X processor for $242 up to the $1,000 i9-7900X. Mid-range models will ship in August, while the highest-end chips will be delayed until October, Intel said. Intel has said the new chips perform 10% to 15% faster than its prior generation.

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The coming extreme edition Intel chip is expected to sell for $2,000 and hit a performance benchmark once reserved for supercomputers called the teraflop, or one million million floating point operations, like adding or multiplying numbers, per second. Intel helped build the first teraflop supercomputer, ASCI Red, which went into operation in 1997.

At the Computex show last month, AMD (AMD) disclosed that the Threadripper chip will have considerably more bandwidth to connect to graphics cards, disk storage and other peripherals than any of Intel’s (INTC) newest chips.

But it likely will be months before reviewers and analysts can benchmark real world systems pitting the two monster chips against each other.