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.
|Processor||Cores / Threads||Base / Boost Clock (GHz)||MSRP||Current Pricing|
|Core i9-9900K||8 / 16||3.6 / 5.0||$488 - $499||$434.99|
|Core i7-9700K||8 / 8||3.6 / 4.9||$274 - $385||$339.00|
|Core i5-9600K||6 / 6||3.7 / 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).