Recent rumors claim that Intel is planning to expand its 9th-generation family of Intel Core processors with up to six new chips that lack the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 (GT2) iGPU, as denoted by an "F" suffix on the product name.
Now major Norwegian and Finnish computer hardware retailers have listed four unannounced Intel 9th-generation Coffee Lake Refresh processors: The Intel Core i9-9900KF, Core i7-9700KF, Core i5-9600KF, and Core i5-9400F.
It's not unusual to find an Intel HEDT (High End Desktop) or Xeon processor without integrated graphics. The reasoning being that if a consumer has the budget to pick up one of those chips, they would probably pair it with a discrete graphics card. However, it's pretty rare to see a mainstream Intel processor that doesn't have onboard graphics. The last time Intel released a chip of this class without integrated graphics was back in the good old Sandy Bridge days with the Intel Core i5-2550K. That chip didn't have an iGPU and was 100MHz faster than the Intel Core i5-2500K. However, the processor never caught on, and Intel stopped the practice.
The incredibly complex chip manufacturing process isn't perfect, so many processors come off the production line with defects. Intel can simply disable cores on a chip, instead selling it as a lower-end model, if a defect lands in a core. It stands to reason, then, that selling chips without integrated graphics would allow Intel to sell chips with defects in the graphics units. That would certainly help as Intel grapples with an ongoing shortage of 14nm manufacturing capacity. It is unlikely that these new chips come with a die that lacks integrated graphics, largely due to the expense of designing and fabricating an entirely new die.
Deactivating the GPU has other benefits, too. Like the other units on a chip, the integrated graphics unit consumes power, and thus produces heat. The disabled unit could also serve as 'dark silicon,' which is unused silicon that absorbs heat from surrounding chip structures, thus improving thermal performance. That could open up more headroom for higher boost clocks, longer boost duration, or overclocking capability.
|Pre-VAT Pricing - Converted to USD||Norwegian Listing||Finnish Listing|
|Intel Core i9-9900KF||$684.07 (£531, $960 AU)||$511.26 (£397, $717 AU)|
|Intel Core i7-9700KF||$528.17 (£410, $741 AU)||N/A|
|Intel Core i5-9600KF||$355.70 (£276, $499 AU)||$188.34 (£146, $264 AU)|
|Intel Core i5-9400F||$255.15 (£198, $358 AU)||N/A|
The list prices are likely placeholders, so you should take them with a grain of salt. According to the Norwegian retailer, the Core i5-9400F could go for $255.15. The Core i5-9600KF, on the other hand, can possibly cost between $188.34 to $355.70, while the Core i7-9700KF is expected to have a $528.17 price tag. The Core i9-9900KF could set you back anywhere from $511.26 to $684.07.
Both retailers expect to have the new processors in stock by January 3, 2019 which could mean that Intel will announce the chips in a couple of weeks.