Intel has popped a cap into its elderly HEDT or High End Desktop CPUs and motherboard chipsets. Yup, Cascade Lake-X and the X299 chipset that support it are goners according to new Product Discontinuation Notices (PCNs) from Intel.
Cascade Lake-X, of course, dates back to 2019. As its 10th Gen nomenclature implies, the Intel Core i9 10980XE Extreme Edition CPU (and its three other Cascade Lake-X siblings) was based on pretty ancient tech being a light revision of ye olde Skylake.
Still, what Cascade Lake-X did have going for it, apart from fully 18 cores running at up to 4.8GHz, was bags of bandwidth from a quad-channel memory controller and 48 PCIe lanes, albeit the latter are only Gen 3.0 spec, which means you only need 12 PCIe Gen 5 lanes to match that aspect of Cascade Lake-X's throughput.
Inevitably, with the demise of Cascade Lake-X CPUs comes the end of support chipset production. The X299 chipset and its LGA2066 socket are toast, too. X299 is even older than Cascade Lake-X, of course, having launched way back in the mists of 2017 and supported Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X CPUs, too.
Taken in the round, it means Intel no longer operates in the HEDT market, though the impact of the product discontinuation isn't instant. Unlike Intel's cancellation of its Arc A770 LE graphics cards, which had immediate effect, Intel says shipments of Cascade Lake-X CPUs and X299 chipsets will actually continue until January 2025.
Intel indicates it will continue to accept orders until April next year. For us, these chips are no great loss. For gaming, Intel's newer Alder Lake and Raptor Lake CPUs are simply faster. Frankly, even for tasks like video encoding, a top end Raptor Lake chip like the Core i9 13900K will be quicker than any Cascade Lake-X CPU.
Instead, Cascade Lake-X and the X299 chipset is only of continuing interest for very specific workflows where the quad-channel memory controller or ability to slot in oodles of PCIe peripherals is absolutely critical.
For such applications, in future customers will have to shift over to even pricier Xeon workstation platforms. As things stand, Intel has not announced a new HEDT line based on its latest Sapphire Rapids Xeon CPUs. So mainstream Raptor Lake and likely a Raptor Lake refresh later this year will be as good as it gets for the foreseeable.