We learned in January that Intel was planning a new top-end Core i9 Extreme Edition processor: the i9-9990XE. Though it would have fewer cores than the previous top—14 cores and 28 threads compared to the i9-9980XE’s 18 cores and 36 threads—it would make up for this in clock speed. The i9-9990XE is clocked at 4.0 to 5.0GHz, compared to 3.0 to 4.5GHz.
But now we have a price. Anandtech reports that one of those high-end system builders, CaseKing.de, has decided to sell the bare chip anyway. The price of this monster? €2,999 (about $2,800).
The bespoke, high-end computer market is a slightly strange one. These systems, often water cooled and factory overclocked, typically have all the trappings of a gamer system, including windowed cases and multicolored lights. Wealthy gamers and streamers are certainly part of their audience. However, another significant market is much less interested in the lights and colors—the systems are sold to high-frequency traders and others within the finance world. These groups put a high premium on single-threaded performance and large caches, and they will spend large sums to be slightly faster than their competitors.
It’s this audience that the i9-9990XE is primarily aimed at, and that explains the money-is-no-object pricing. Another thousand bucks for a processor upgrade is money well spent for many of these buyers.