A user on Coolenjoy has apparently gotten his hands on Intel's upcoming i9-7980XE silicon, putting it through its paces on Cinebench and a number of other benchmarks. The 18-core, 36-thread Core i9-7980XE is set to be Intel's most advanced HEDT processor of all time by a wide margin - both in number of cores and pricing. It seems that even in the face of a competitive AMD, that puts value towards core counts with its $999 Threadripper 1950X 16-core, 32-thread CPU, Intel still sees it fit to charge an arm, a leg, and both of your kidneys for a 2-core advantage. Intel's XE processors have become more synonymous of eXtremely Expensive and less about being eXtreme Edition over the years, and the i9-7980XE, with its $1999 price-tag, does nothing to alleviate the issue. This is a halo product, though - the most advanced HEDT processor in the world. And with it being as niche a product as it is, it actually makes some kind of sense for it to be so expensive - an immoral, "where has the world gone" kind of sense, but still, some measure of it.
On to the issue at hand and leaving that price tangent, results are, naturally, pretty impressive for an 18-core processor. Intel still clearly - and undeniably - has the upper hand in both manufacturing process and capabilities, as well as single-core performance, compared to AMD's offerings. Single-core performance of the 7980XE seems to be on par with its lower-core, higher-clocked siblings such as the i9-7900X and i7-7820X, but multi-core performance is through the roof, besting AMD's top of the line Threadripper 1950X - expected, since Intel's offering has 2 more cores and 4 extra threads.
The motherboard used was an ASUS Rampage VI APEX, with BIOS 0304, paired with G.Skill Trident Z PC4-25600 CL14 memory, a GTX 1080 Ti FE, and Windows 10. BIOS settings were left untouched, as the user reports, with only XMP being active. Apparently, the 7980XE's multiplier ranges between 26x and 42x, and it's being reported that the 4.2 GHz clocks are achieved on all cores, which is a little odd, to say the least. It's also odd that single-core performance under Cinebench sees the multiplier at 26x, while the multi-core test sees the multiplier at 42x. There are likely some detection issues on this front as of yet, which isn't unheard of in yet unreleased processors. This should, however, warn users to consider these benchmarks with sight skepticism.