Earlier this month, Intel surprised us by announcing Core-X processors with up to 18 cores. This was a surprise as previously we only heard about 12-core models so people assumed this is a move to counter AMD's upcoming Ryzen Threadripper.
In an interview with PCGamesN, Intel's Frank Soqui claims this was always the planned trajectory:
But Soqui says it was always going to be like that. “We were always planning that sort of trajectory,” he explains, “and there’s a reason why we do that. Have we explained mega-tasking to you?”
“Independent of what our competitors do we will put out extreme edition processors,” Soqui says. “We’ll push performance, we’ll push threads, we’ll push cores, we’re pushing memory performance. This is not a response to the competition, this is a response to the end user.”
Just like PCGamesN, I'm not entirely sold by Intel's explanation as there's a lot of evidence that these higher-core Skylake-X processors are a very recent addition to Intel's roadmap. In fact, there are leaked roadmaps from days before the official Basin Falls platform reveal that show nothing with more than 12 cores. Additionally, these parts will arrive at a later date than the original launch lineup so that's another clue they aren't quite ready yet.