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QOTD: Do You Think CPUs are Overpriced?

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 86 comments

Technology has a way of advancing while reducing the cost of consumption over time.

Typically, this also brings down high-end technology rather quickly, and for less and better than what you could have bought a year or two before. There has been much debate about CPU prices recently, even though today you can get a pretty kick-ass processor for far less than just a few short years ago.

Today's QOTD is quick and simple:

Do you think CPUs are overpriced? Either way, why?

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Top Comments
  • 11 Hide
    powerbaselx , May 14, 2009 6:04 PM
    It depends...

    Extreme+Top editions overpriced.
    i7 920 cpu price ok, good performance, BUT motherboard+DDR3 overpriced.
    Q9550+Q9650 good performance but overpriced after i7 in market.
    Q6600+Q6700 overpriced now in comparison with 45nm CPUs.
    Low-end ok, Pentium Dual Core E5x00 excelent prices.

    AMD CPUs ok for now. AMD should have a CPU with performance similar to i7...
  • 11 Hide
    squatchman , May 14, 2009 5:51 PM
    Prices have gotten cheaper in comparison to the increase in capabilities.


    Try to buy what is equivalent to a Core i7 920 10 years ago and see how many tens of thousands of dollars you would have to spend.
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  • 9 Hide
    doomtomb , May 14, 2009 5:49 PM
    For enthusiast and gamers, yes. I don't think they are way overpriced but the Core i7 920 has been out for over 6 months now and is still $280, about a $20 decrease which is nothing. $300 for a processor is a lot. The Core i7 965 and all other extreme intel processors are wayyyy overpriced, especially since I see people taking a 2.66GHz i7 920 and overclocking it to higher speeds than the guy with the 3.2GHz i7 965 that costs 3 times as much. Another example: Core 2 Quad Q6600 which has been out for almost forever is still $200-215! Just because it sells well, they are keeping the price up. But I guess this is what we have AMD for! Their prices are reasonable.
  • 11 Hide
    squatchman , May 14, 2009 5:51 PM
    Prices have gotten cheaper in comparison to the increase in capabilities.


    Try to buy what is equivalent to a Core i7 920 10 years ago and see how many tens of thousands of dollars you would have to spend.
  • 0 Hide
    scook9 , May 14, 2009 5:51 PM
    yes and no. They are usually the first or second most expensive thing in my system, after graphics, my current build is the first where the graphcis cost more, because there are 2 cards. I currently have an i7 920 that I paid $229.99 for (courtesy of Micro Center) and I can't argue with that price, it replaced a Q9550 that was $300. What I can complain about is motherboard prices, the Asus Rampage II Gene that my 920 sits on, cost more that then the dam CPU did at $249. This was never a problem with socket 775. SO yes, they are overpriced, but not yet to the point where I will skimp on them.

    And of course, overclocking adds ALOT of value to a CPU, I can run mine at 4 GHz (50% overclock) and still be under the Intel specified voltage (we wont discuss temperatures right now ;) )
  • 7 Hide
    tpi2007 , May 14, 2009 5:57 PM
    In general, no. If you made the question a few years ago, I might have said yes. But now there are so many options, that it is really hard to be ripped off in a deal.

    Of course, top model CPU's are overpriced, but I wouldn't advise anybody who doesn't absolutely need the performance to buy one. And even then I would tell them: do you need Core i7 performance ? Ok, but the entry level model at 2.66 Ghz. See if that satisfies your needs. Need more ? Overclock it to 2.8, 3.0 or even 3.2. Most should be able to handle that efortlessly.

    Buying a top model CPU makes no economic sense otherwise. You gain too little by spending too much.

    If you're a home user you can get a very decent processor for gaming and otehr applications like a E8400, E8500, or a triple core Phenom at very competitive prices.

    If you need a Quad Core you can also get it cheaply. Starting with the Q6600, quad cores are becoming increasinsgly mainstream, and the Phenom II has a very competitive price.

    If you don't game much, and just need a general purpose PC, why not go for a Pentium E5300. powerful enough for games, and most applications, paired with a decent GPU, and you can overclock. And then you have lots of other models from AMD and Intel at various price points.

    Nowadays the CPU market is like the Cellphone market: there's one for every need and every wallet.
  • -1 Hide
    cryogenic , May 14, 2009 6:01 PM
    My biggest issue with CPU's is not their prices right now, you can get a decent CPU for 200$, which is fine, my issue with CPU's is their power consumtion :) , I really like if max wattage would stay bellow 65 Watt and not up to 125 Watt, like it's happening right now.

    Prices are fine, wattages are bit high.
  • 11 Hide
    powerbaselx , May 14, 2009 6:04 PM
    It depends...

    Extreme+Top editions overpriced.
    i7 920 cpu price ok, good performance, BUT motherboard+DDR3 overpriced.
    Q9550+Q9650 good performance but overpriced after i7 in market.
    Q6600+Q6700 overpriced now in comparison with 45nm CPUs.
    Low-end ok, Pentium Dual Core E5x00 excelent prices.

    AMD CPUs ok for now. AMD should have a CPU with performance similar to i7...
  • 1 Hide
    hellwig , May 14, 2009 6:05 PM
    In general I think average CPU prices are reasonable, at least from AMds side. New fresh-off the line technology will always be more expensive (sorry if you paid $600 for a first-gen iPhone). That's just how it works, and why the new Core i7 is so expensive.

    However, maintaining those high prices on older and inferior processors (like the Core 2s) seems to be inexcusable. I can buy a faster and newer Phenom II for the same price or cheaper as a Core 2 Quad. I can buy an Athlon for cheaper than a Celeron or Pentium.

    Also, Extreme and FX-edition processors are ridiculous ($1k for a couple hundred MHz?). However, those processors in general are aimed at the enthusiast market, and as long as they stay that way, we can just ignore them. Both Intel and AMD were guilty of this, though AMD learned their lesson when their processors couldn't compete.
  • -1 Hide
    tester3000 , May 14, 2009 6:09 PM
    Current gen CPU prices are great. And they are always falling. Core i7 is a little pricy right not,, but the 920 should be down to $250 by x-mas. Intel's prices are more than reasonable for such good performance.
  • 1 Hide
    chripuck , May 14, 2009 6:10 PM
    CryogenicMy biggest issue with CPU's is not their prices right now, you can get a decent CPU for 200$, which is fine, my issue with CPU's is their power consumtion , I really like if max wattage would stay bellow 65 Watt and not up to 125 Watt, like it's happening right now.Prices are fine, wattages are bit high.

    Just on the new i7's. The core 2's had gotten down to that much as part of their design specification.... Wait a couple of years, it'll come back down.
  • 2 Hide
    tenor77 , May 14, 2009 6:18 PM
    Maybe it's my age but when looking at mid to mid high the performance seems very reasonable for the price.

    scook9-
    The #1 spare no expense part of nearly any of my builds is the mobo. CPU's and GPU's are replaced 4 times or more through the life of my systems, so if I know I'm going to be replacing that chip, why ruin my budget on it?
  • -1 Hide
    bustapr , May 14, 2009 6:20 PM
    not at all, most CPUs are always reducing their cost quickly, because technology is currently rising too fast and the new today can easily become the old in a year or two. I'm not saying this would benefit me in any way but I think that for the CPU manufacturers to get the best sales and the most money out of their new technology they should raise the prices a little bit and slow down a little bit on the making of bigger better CPUs. That's just my way of looking at their economy.
  • 1 Hide
    mwinfie , May 14, 2009 6:21 PM
    As a hardcore gamer, no. I tend to spend more on my GPU then on the CPU and atm I am running a 4870 (~$200 when I bought it) and a Athlon 64 x2 5400+ BE (~$70) and it runs everything I play at high settings with AA/AF on 4-8x. I would say we are pretty spoiled atm considering that the high end of CPU's aren't even NEEDED unless you want reduced wait times on encoding, editing, etc.

    You can make a PC that runs everything WELL for ~$500. That just wasn't possible in the past.
  • 0 Hide
    A Stoner , May 14, 2009 6:23 PM
    Some are overpriced, some are well priced, and others actually seem to be priced below cost, but that probably has more to do with yeilds and binning than anything else. I just recently paid $310 or was it $210 for an i7 920, and I think that was fair for the new technology, but when you look at the Q9### processors, these are more mature and some actually are priced higher than the i7 920 and deliver less processing power. Extreme chips are $1000~ and value chips are $48 and real value chipsets like the netbook processor are $60 or maybe less.
  • 1 Hide
    solymnar , May 14, 2009 6:24 PM
    This may sound moronic but:

    I think over priced CPUs are over priced. (extreme editions where you only get a few % perfomance boost at 4x the cost etc.)

    I think midstream CPUs on the whole are about fair. Or at least as fair as they've been for years. Currently Intel and AMD both have decent priced mid range processors. That's a nice situation.
  • 3 Hide
    apmyhr , May 14, 2009 6:26 PM
    Not when I can get a dual core AMD Kuma CPU 2.7GH for 60 bucks and a motherboard to support it for 50. Especially since I got my Kuma for FREE in an awesome Printer deal (Wireless Lexmark 4850 for $89).

    Like everyone has already said, the only CPU's that are overpriced are the Intel Extremes. But then again, if idiots pay for them, the CPU's aren't actually overpriced, the people buying them are just overdumb.
  • 0 Hide
    tpi2007 , May 14, 2009 6:30 PM
    CryogenicMy biggest issue with CPU's is not their prices right now, you can get a decent CPU for 200$, which is fine, my issue with CPU's is their power consumtion , I really like if max wattage would stay bellow 65 Watt and not up to 125 Watt, like it's happening right now.Prices are fine, wattages are bit high.



    It's a matter of yields. Don't forget the Core i7 uses a different method to communicate other than the old FSB and it also has a built-in memory controller. In the old days you weren't taking the memory controller power usage into account. (I don't know what percentage it uses within the CPU though). But in general, it's just that the design is new, and it will get better. I would expect 95w Core i7's in maybe three months.

    And even then, now they are advertising these parts at 125/130w to get all of them under the same ceiling. Some of them will actually be, in practice, 95w parts.

    My E8400 revision E0 is rated at 65w, but I've read in another site that it hardly ever goes above 39w. They could easily rate these at 45w if they wanted. They probably won't so as the margin to quad cores won't be so visible. More people would eventually stick to the Dual Cores in order to save energy.

    If you look at the different processors you'll see that a Pentium E5200 running at 2.5 Ghz has the same TDP as a E8600. They're both 65w, 45nm parts, yet the E5200 only has 2 MB of L2 cache versus 6MB for the E8600, and an FSB of 800Mhz compared to 1333Mhz for the E8600 and a core clock of 2.5 compared do 3.16 Ghz for the E8600. They're not in the same power consumption league at all, despite the same TDP. And now there are even quad cores rated at 65w. Expensive, but they are here.
  • 1 Hide
    NocturnalOne , May 14, 2009 6:32 PM
    No, prices are perfect. What a silly question. You can bet that prices are carefully controlled to maximize profit for manufacturers and middlemen.

    This question is only relevant if a) you *have* to buy a CPU to survive and b) if prices of entry level CPUs were out of reach of even the most modest budget.

    The problem with the question is that it implies you want something for free. Intel and AMD are businesses, not charities. They have a product, you have the money. You determine what the product is worth to you. If you think it's too expensive (ie. 'how dare they charge this much') then don't buy it. Simple. But don't whine about how it's overpriced.

    Sure I think an i7 Extreme Edition is too expensive for me. But to someone else with lots of cash they may well be happy to get the (perceived or real) best of the best. If Intel didn't sell them at current prices, they'd drop the price. I guess they are selling hence not overpriced.
  • 0 Hide
    jsloan , May 14, 2009 6:37 PM
    yes, intel can keep prices higher, especially on higher end models, than it could if there was a strong competition from the likes of amd
  • 0 Hide
    danimal_the_animal , May 14, 2009 6:38 PM
    yes and no.....depends on how overclockable your CPU is.

    normally i will jump on the fastest CPU under 100.00 bucks.

    I did spend on labor day last year 159.99 for a q6600 and overclocked it to 3.0ghz

    GREAT for using ripbot264
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