In yet another sign of the mounting pressure from AMD's Ryzen 3000-series chips, the company announced today that it would drop the pricing of its graphics-less F-series chips up to 20%, marking the first time the company has reduced pricing on existing chips in recent memory.
Intel's F-Series chips come with disabled internal graphics due to manufacturing defects that would normally render the chips unusable. The F-Series chips arrived with no formal announcement from the company in December 2018 as the company was mired in the throes of its continuing shortage of 14nm production capacity. At the time of release, the chips came with absolutely no discount over their full-featured counterparts.
|Cores / Threads||Base / Boost (GHz)||Unlocked||Old Price||New Price||% Change|
|Core i9-9900KF||8 / 16||3.6 / 5.0||Yes||$488||$463||5%|
|Core i7-9700KF||8 / 8||3.6 / 4.9||Yes||$374||$349||7%|
|Core i5-9600KF||6 / 6||3.7 / 4.6||Yes||$262||$237||10%|
|Core i3-9350KF||4 / 4||4.0 / 4.6||Yes||$173||$148||14%|
|Core i7-9700F||8 / 8||3.0 / 4.7||No||$323||$298||8%|
|Core i5-9500F||8 / 8||3.0 / 4.4||No||$192||$167||13%|
|Core i5-9400F||6 / 6||2.9 / 4.1||No||$182||$157||14%|
|Core i3-9100F||4 / 4||3.6 / 4.2||No||$122||$97||20%|
Selling these chips allowed for the company to boost production, though the company never formally announced that the chips would remain a part of its strategy. As part of today's announcement, the company also said it would add F-Series chips to its long-term roadmaps, meaning enthusiasts will have budget options in the next generations of Intel's processors.
Integrated graphics do come in handy for QuickSync, troubleshooting, or if your graphics card fails, but under most conditions, the disabled graphics unit doesn't have an impact. As we've seen in our own testing, these chips offer the same levels of performance as their fully-equipped counterparts, simply because they feature the same architecture and 14nm process.
The price cuts impact both the unlocked "KF" and locked "F" models. For reference, this is the first time we've seen the far right column used in Intel's pricing guide.
Although the F-series chips officially sported the same recommended prices as Intel's fully-functional models, they've been a little cheaper in practice. Those savings have normally fallen in the $20 range. It's hard to tell if Intel's reduction in official pricing will result in further savings at retail, but it's logical to expect retail pricing to drop further.
Intel's response to AMD's Ryzen onslaught has typically been sluggish, largely because the company hasn't resorted to cutting prices on existing models. Instead, the company has slowly added more cores to its processor families with the release of new models, with those increased core counts equating to lower per-core pricing. The company has also added more features to some of its chips, like exposing more PCIe lanes for the downstream models. These price cuts seem to mirror a DigiTimes report earlier this year, though the cuts didn't include all of the 9th-gen models. In either case, it's encouraging to see Intel try a more direct pricing tactic to improve its value proposition.
The price cuts are effective today for Intel's 9th-generation F-Series processors that are already in the market.