Intel and AMD announced new processors with an insane amount of cores -- but they will likely cost thousands of dollars

AMD

You might have heard that Intel and AMD annnounced new computer processors (CPUs) with 28 and 32 cores, respectively, at the Computex even in Taipei.

You might have even compared them to the number of cores in your own computer’s specs, and seen the measly single-digit core count of your own CPU – like quad-core (four cores) – which could make you think it’s time for a new computer.

But don’t worry, your CPU is probably fine, unless it’s old and starting to become sluggish. Those new Intel and AMD CPUs, with their outrageous numbers of cores aren’t really designed for you, the regular computer user, who only browses the web, plays games, and maybe uses Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. Even if you’re looking to buy a new computer, you shouldn’t be waiting for these new highly-cored CPUs.

Here’s what CPU cores are all about, and what Intel and AMD’s new CPUs with literally dozens of cores are for:


More “cores” means you can do a lot more on a computer without slowing down.

Steve Kovach/Business Insider

The more cores a computer processor has, the more things it can do simultaneously and quickly, like running multiple apps at the same time.

You can think of it like a company. A single core represents a single employee, which would be fine if the workload is pretty low. But that single employee’s speed and efficiency would dramatically reduce when the workload started to get heavy.

Having multiple cores is like having multiple employees who can handle multiple workloads and get things done faster and more efficiently.


Or you can do one heavy duty task a lot faster.

Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Having a CPU with more cores is also helpful when you’re doing one single task that’s particularly heavy duty. Editing and rendering videos is a good example of a heavy duty task that benefits from multiple CPU cores.


CPUs start getting expensive after eight cores, at which point they only become worthwhile to professionals.

Intel/Amazon

Regular consumer-grade CPUs cost between $US100 and $US450, and come with anywhere from two to eight cores. These more conventional CPUs can easily handle basic tasks like web browsing, all the way to lightweight photo and video editing.

Once you go above the eight-core count, CPUs start getting significantly more powerful – and more expensive. Intel’s i9-series of CPUs start with 10 cores at almost $US1,000, and goes up to almost $US2,000 for an 18-core model.

AMD’s Threadripper series with 12 cores starts at around $US760, and goes up to almost $US1,000 for a 16-core model.


So what’s Intel’s 28-core CPU all about?

Intel

The 28-core CPU is Intel’s most powerful yet, designed for professionals, but it doesn’t have a proper name yet.

It doesn’t have a price tag, either. But judging by a benchmark result that Intel proudly showed off during Computex, it could cost over $US2,000 on its own, extrapolating from its current product lineup. That’s more than a full computer or laptop, with a less powerful Intel Core i5 CPU or AMD Ryzen 5 CPU.

Intel’s 28-core CPU scored an astounding 7,334 on the Cinebench benchmarking app, a popular tool used by professionals to test their hardware’s power. Compare that to the 3,404 score from Intel’s current most powerful desktop CPU – the $US1,900 18-core Core i9 7980XE – as tested by WCCFTech. With that in mind, it’s easy to see how Intel’s 28-core CPU could fetch a massive price when its released in Q4 2018.


And what about AMD’s 32-core behemoth?

AMDAMD’s Lisa Su showing off a previous version of the AMD Ryzen CPU.

AMD’s new 32-core CPU will be part of the company’s prosumer/professional “Threadripper 2” series. AMD revealed fewer details about its latest Threadripper CPU, but it will serve professionals for the same kinds of heavy-duty tasks that Intel’s 28-core CPU are for.

It will likely cost more than the AMD’s current 16-core Threadripper CPU, which costs almost $US1,000 when they’re released later this year.

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