Intel Promo Drops 9th Gen Coffee Lake CPU Pricing Up To 25 Percent

Intel Core i9-9900K

Intel Core i9-9900K (Image credit: Intel)

Finding an Intel processor with a decent discount is certainly not something you see every day, so it's a bit surprising to see that prices on 9th-Gen processors have recently plummeted at several retailers. We followed up with Intel to see if this was the result of an official price cut, or if retailers were just independently discounting the chips to clear their stock of the previous-gen chips. Intel responded to Tom's Hardware with this statement:

“Promotional price drops are one of the ways we work with our partners to continue supporting the strong market demand for high performance processors in the DIY segment.”

That means this is an official promotion from Intel, which is rare – typically its previous-gen chips hold their value well in the retail market. Intel didn't give us any more details on the promotion, such as how long it would last or how many retailers are involved, and the company certainly isn't advertising that it has reduced pricing on its chips. The price cuts aren't listed on the company's official price list, either. 

However, that doesn't mean that enthusiasts on a budget can't find some decently-priced chips if they're looking for a last-gen Intel processor. Of course, you should also be sure to check the recent chip rankings (opens in new tab) and our guide to the Best CPUs (opens in new tab) to see if there are better alternatives available – particularly from AMD. 

The price cuts make sense for a few reasons – It's logical to assume they help address competitive pressure from AMD's Ryzen lineup that often offers the lowest per-core pricing available, and Intel also launched its 10th Generation Comet Lake-S (opens in new tab) offerings back in April. Despite the recent launch, word around town is that the 11th Generation Rocket Lake (opens in new tab) lineup is due for Q4 2020 or Q1 2021. So, it's easy to see why retailers would want to get rid of leftover Coffee Lake inventory, especially since the processors live on the previous LGA1151 platform that will likely go out of circulation very soon.

So far, the price drops seem to be the most pronounced for the Coffee Lake K-series chips, consisting of the Core i9-9900K, Core i7-9700K, and Core i5-9600K.

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ProcessorCores / ThreadsBase / Boost Clock (GHz)MSRPCurrent Pricing
Core i9-9900K8 / 163.6 / 5.0$488 - $499$434.99
Core i7-9700K8 / 83.6 / 4.9$274 - $385$339.00
Core i5-9600K6 / 63.7 / 4.6$262 - $263$194.99

The Core i9-9900K (opens in new tab) was last generation's flagship model. The eight-core, 16-thread processor debuted with a MSRP between $488 and $499. The processor now sells for as low $434.99 at various retailers, including Amazon (opens in new tab), Best Buy (opens in new tab) and Newegg (opens in new tab).

Next up in line we have the Core i7-9700K (opens in new tab) that also flaunts eight cores, but lacks Hyper-Threading. The octa-core part has a MSRP that ranges from $374 to $385. The processor can be yours today for just $339 at Amazon (opens in new tab).

The mid-range Core i5-9600K (opens in new tab) is part of the Coffee Lake bargains as well. The recommended pricing for the hexa-core chip is within the $262.00 and $263.00 range. Nonetheless, the Core i5-9600K will only set you back $194.99 at Amazon (opens in new tab) or Best Buy (opens in new tab).

Zhiye Liu
RAM Reviewer and News Editor

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.

  • kal326
    Meanwhile Microcenter has had the 9900K going for $379.99 for weeks now. Still ended up getting a 3700x over the 9th or 10th gen Intel offerings.
  • TerryLaze
    Admin said:
    Intel kicked off a promotion
    Now that's straight up conjecture,intel didn't deny that they do promotional prices but you don't show any proof that any of the prices from the platforms you list actually got a price drop from intel or not,if they did one would think that the price drops would be much more uniform between all the retailers.
  • edchan1975
    Microcenter is also selling the i7-10700K which has better specs than the i9-9900K for $349 ... That seems like the better buy.
  • Avro Arrow
    Intel is trying really hard to stay relevant at this point but it's clear that they suck at consumer-friendly practices. A simple price promotion is not a hard thing to do and yet they've managed to screw it up royally.

    It's really hard to get interested in a company that hasn't shown anything to inspire real excitement since the original Sandy Bridge and even that was priced through the roof.

    Ryzen came out three years ago and AMD has been beating the tar out of Intel ever since. It's very telling that to get similar performance to any AMD CPU from the Intel side, you're STILL paying a good deal more, sometimes even three figures.

    Intel's arrogance and inability to adjust to reality even after getting beaten pillar-to-post for three years is just astonishing.
  • The Commander
    What's your guys thoughts on this now? Prices have continued to drop, with the 9900k/10700k going sub 330$ on the right days a mere week after this article was posted. I nabbed one at the time, and they still seem like a nice deal with Zen 3 out of stock and other 10th gen not budging in price.
  • Tom Sunday
    The Commander said:
    ... they still seem like a nice deal with Zen 3 out of stock and other 10th gen not budging in price.

    Being the "man on the street" and with WFH on my kitchen table, I love shopping for deals. But I also was wondering how the new Rocket Lake CPU's will run on a Z490 board? Perhaps issues with getting actual mature versions of BIOS for Z490 with Rocket Lake and PCIe 4.0? Then very possible overall system performance degradation and fiddling with drivers for hours, etc. But those who would be planning to use a Z590 board with a Comet Lake processor would not get the benefit of PCI-E 4.0 and no HDMI 2.0. We are indeed living in a complicated and now impossible world.