Extreme close-up photograph of computer chip against a black background.

We heard in January that Intel was planning a brand new top-end Core i9 Extreme Edition processor: the i9-9990XE. Though it could have fewer cores than the preceding shirt — 28 threads and 14 cores compared to 36 threads along with the i9-9980XE’s 18 cores — it might make up for this in clock speed. Power consumption has improved too, than the 160W i9-9980XE, 95W more to 255W. The price of the chip that is new? Undetermined. Rather than selling them to end customers, Intel’s strategy was to auction them to high-end machine builders that the chips could only be marketed in whole systems.

The high-end computer marketplace is a somewhat strange one. These systems, often water cooled and factory overclocked, typically have all the trappings of a gamer program, including windowed cases and multipurpose lighting . Wealthy gamers and streamers are part of the audience. Another significant market is much interested in colors and the lights –that the systems are offered to others and high-frequency dealers inside the finance world. A high premium is set by these groups on functionality and massive caches, and they’ll spend huge sums to be faster than their competitors.

Enlarge / That really is a 10-core Skylake-X chip. It employs the very low core count (LCC) version of this Skylake-SP die. (charge: Fritzchens Fritz / Flickr)
But we have a cost. Anandtech reports that among those high-end system builders, CaseKing.de, has opted to sell the bare chip anyhow. This monster’s purchase price? $2,999 (about $2,800).