Several European retailers posted the prices for some of Intel's looming Comet Lake desktop (opens in new tab) processors a little over two weeks ago. However, the more succulent SKUs, including the Core i7 and Core i9 parts, were left out of the mix. As per a tip from hardware detective @momomo_us (opens in new tab), Belgium retailer 2Compute has filled in the missing pieces for us.
First of all, it's important to differentiate between a boxed and a tray processor. The first is the kind that you would buy from your local hardware store while the latter is what Intel sells in high volume to big original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). You can tell the difference by the processor's part number. Boxed processors carry the BX prefix while OEM/tray processors begin with the CM prefix.
2Compute lists the tray pricing for the Comet Lake processors. Fortunately, the store's catalog contains a considerable number of models that we had previously covered (opens in new tab), which allows us to compare the pricing between the boxed and tray version. The difference is only a few dollars. Although 2Compute's prices correspond to the tray version, we think they are a good indicator of the final price ranges that we can expect from the boxed versions.
To start with some general observations, the F-series variants are reportedly up to $30 cheaper than their non-F counterparts. For example, the Core i9-10900K seemingly costs $562 while the Core i9-10900KF is listed for $532. This was to be expected considering that the F-series is characterized for lacking integrated graphics.
Apparently, 65W and 35W Comet Lake chips presumably share identical pricing. Once again using the Core i9 parts as an example, the Core i9-10900 and Core i9-10900T allegedly command a $506 price tag. It's a no-brainer that the first is the stronger performer and a better choice since it costs the same as the 35W model. However, there is still some strong value with the T-series for system builders looking to put together a very compact and power efficient machine.
The prices in the table are before VAT (value-added tax) and apply to a single unit. We've converted the prices from euros over to dollars and rounded them to the nearest dollar.
Intel Comet Lake-S Alleged Pricing
|Model||Part Number||Base Clock (GHz)||Pricing|
For the sake of comparison, let's assume that the pricing between the boxed and tray versions of a Comet Lake processor is similar.
The Core i9-10900K (opens in new tab), which is the rumored 10-core flagship chip, appears at $562. Intel's recommended pricing for the Core i9-9900K (opens in new tab) is $488 to $499. That's a $63 increase for two additional cores and (comparatively) doesn't seem like a bad deal at all compared to other Intel chips. The big problem is that AMD's Ryzen 9 3900X (opens in new tab) 12-core processor also competes in the $500 category. What's even worse for Intel is that the Ryzen 9 3900X often dips as low as $420 (opens in new tab).
Working down the product stack, we find the Core i7-10700K (opens in new tab), which is basically the Core i9-9900K of this generation. The Core i7-10700K could cost around $436, well below the Core i9-9900K's $499 RCP (Recommended Customer Pricing). The octa-core chip would have to face the Ryzen 7 3800X (opens in new tab), which debuted at $399 but currently sells for around $340 (opens in new tab).
As for the mid-range game, 2Compute has the Core i5-10600K for $296. The chip would be equivalent to the Core i5-9600K (opens in new tab) but with HyperThreading. For context, the Core i5-9600K's recommended price tag is $263. If the Core i5-10600K's price is accurate, Intel is only charging $33 for enabling HyperThreading on the chip. Given the specifications, the Core i5-10600K will go head-to-head with the Ryzen 5 3600X (opens in new tab), which has a recommended price of $249, but is currently going for $200 (opens in new tab).
Sadly, we might not get to see Comet Lake's arrival until June. According to a recent report (opens in new tab), the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak likely affected the production of Comet Lake processors.
Time means little on price, for instance look at old 4th gen Devil Canyon CPU i7-4790k. Still sells brand new for $330 and it is 6 years old. You can find used, but still is north of $200 for a 6 year old quad Core CPU. With price stability like this, it makes little sense to upgrade an older platform (I have a Pentium g3258 on it). Might as well step up to Coffee or Comet lake or the comign rocket lake.
Me personally, I hope there is a healthy stock of the top 10 core part. I have a i9-9900KF. and while i do not need to upgrade, I would love to play with the new part and check out the 5.3GHz boost (I am WC so no concerns on heat dissipation).
Business strategy. Gotta keep shareholders ignorantly happy.
The tray pricing is per 1000. These prices are for OEM partners. When a person is choosing to buy a whole pre-built PC, no one asks how much the CPU adds to the cost - they just look at the cost of the unit and the specs, and choose from what is offered.
Intel has lost a lot of the enthusiast market already, so this is how they are choosing retain their margins for their chips that are obviously more expensive to manufacture than AMDs.
Maintaining their margines keeps shareholders happy. Losing happy enthusiasts seems to be a sacrifice they are willing to make to do just that ...
That said, street pricing may end up lower depending on supply.
You are forgetting the part where most people buying OEMs wouldn't know a stick of ram from an M.2 drive ... That's why they get ripped off. intel is banking on that "ripped off" part to maintain their revenue, I was just too polite to say it candidly, but thanks for helping to add that clarity. :)
Ryzen 3950X = 32 threads at $750 or $23.42 per thread
Core i9-10900FK = 20 threads at $532 or $26.6 per thread (Best case scenario for dollar per thread)
(I accidentally mixed up the F and the K but it just sounds like Intel's literal response to AMD. How did I not see this months ago lol)
Core i9-9900K = 16 threads at $550 or $34.37 per thread
Technically Intel isn't being as greedy as usual.
The 10900K had better make proverbial sammiches during a gaming session at that price....; wayyy too much
It's unclear to what extent Intel is putting requirements on OEMs today. There obviously is some sort of advertising agreement going on given that you always see or hear the Intel jingle on computer ads. A wide variety of CPUs are available, but many OEMs choose the exact same CPU...assuming you can get the actual part number out of the specs instead of just the generation number!
AMD needs to crack into Intel's branding firewall. The enthusiast market is not enough. AMD needs a catchy jingle and some ads that are similar to Apple's Mac vs PC campaign (AMD vs Intel here obviously).
That is a REALLY poor take on who is buying OEM. The bulk of Dell's business doesn't come from individuals. It comes from companies buying 100's or 1000's of systems. When you're buying that many, you want something that will just work, while cost is secondary. We have 100's of desktops in my company, and every single one is a Dell. Why? Because they have a track record with us of just working.
With Windows 7 reaching EOL earlier this year, we purged a slew of ancient systems going all the way back to probably a couple dozen Optiplex 360's. Those are Core 2 based systems from 2008. Only work done on them was replacing the HD with an SSD a few years back. Almost all the old systems were replaced with $700 6 core i5 systems. Dell doesn't even sell AMD based Optiplex's, so they were obviously never considered. When we went to the bean counters and told them we need to replace xx systems that are 8-10+ years old, saving a few bucks isn't the primary concern, replacing them with something we are familiar with and expect to be problem free for just as long is. There was no mass purging of corporate AMD desktops last year, because nobody has an 8+ year old AMD system at work. The computing word doesn't revolve around the tinkering enthusiast, it revolves around businesses who are willing to spend more to continue going with what has worked for them. That's why Intel continues to post record quarters despite legitimate competition from AMD.