Intel’s Graphics-Free Chips Are Also Savings-Free: Same Price, Fewer Featuresby Ian Cutress on January 16, 2019 8:00 AM EST
We recently reported on the fact that a range of new mainstream Intel desktop processors are coming onto the market without the integrated graphics enabled. This processors, indicated by the ‘F’ designation (not to be confused with Intel’s chips with an integrated fabric, also called ‘F’), have had their specifications released for a short while, except for the price. Intel is now happy to fill that part in.
Intel’s pricing scheme is a little different to AMD. Rather than provide MSRP, or Manufacturer Suggested Retail Pricing, or SEP, Suggested Etailer Pricing, Intel provides ‘tray’ pricing. This value is the company’s list price for OEMs buying literal trays of CPUs, in batches of 1000. We usually write this as ‘1ku’, for one thousand units. OEMs, like Dell or HP or Supermicro, will happily buy thousands of CPUs, often with a single year warranty. This is in stark contrast to the end-user buying a retail unit obviously only wants one processor and often wants a longer (in most cases, the retail box has a three-year warranty).
The on-shelf price of the processor in a retail box, with or without a cooler, is not listed by Intel. The company leaves it up to distributors and then retailers to determine the market value of such a product. This is why the Intel Core i9-9900K, the current flagship of Intel’s 9th Gen Core desktop processor line, has a ‘tray’ price of $488, but actually came to market on Amazon at $582.50, before settling at its current price of $529. This is also why there has been a debate about whether our comparison between the AMD Athlon 200GE ($55 SEP) and the Intel Pentium G5400 ($64/1ku) is suitable, given that only certain regions with an oversupply seem to hit the Intel price point.
With all that being said, here is Intel’s pricing for the new ‘F’ CPUs:
|Intel 9th Gen Core CPUs|
|i9-9900K||8 / 16||3.6 GHz||5.0 GHz||UHD 630||1200||2666||95 W||$488|
|i9-9900KF||8 / 16||3.6 GHz||5.0 GHz||-||-||2666||95 W||$488|
|i7-9700K||8 / 8||3.6 GHz||4.9 GHz||UHD 630||1200||2666||95 W||$374|
|i7-9700KF||8 / 8||3.6 GHz||4.9 GHz||-||-||2666||95 W||$374|
|i5-9600K||6 / 6||3.7 GHz||4.6 GHz||UHD 630||1150||2666||95 W||$262|
|i5-9600KF||6 / 6||3.7 GHz||4.6 GHz||-||-||2666||95 W||$262|
|i5-9400||6 / 6||2.9 GHz||4.1 GHz||UHD 630||1050||2666||65 W||$182|
|i5-9400F||6 / 6||2.9 GHz||4.1 GHz||-||-||2666||65 W||$182|
|i3-9350KF||4 / 4||4.0 GHz||4.6 GHz||-||-||2400||91 W||$173|
|Relevant Intel 8th Gen Core CPUs|
|i3-8350K||4 / 4||4.0 GHz||-||UHD 630||1150||2400||91 W||$168|
|i3-8100||4 / 4||3.6 GHz||-||UHD 630||1100||2400||65 W||$117|
|i3-8100F||4 / 4||3.6 GHz||-||-||-||2400||65 W||$117|
The only CPU in this list which doesnt have a non-F is the overclockable Core i3-9350KF, showing a 1ku price of $173, which is a few dollars more than the previous generation Core i3-8350K ($168/1ku), and has a turbo frequency.
Normally when a part of a processor is fused off, usually cores, we expect to see a decrease in the listed price. In this instance, Intel is putting the same tray price on its GPU-free processors to make them also savings-free. Given how tray price is often not connected to the retail price, it will depend on how many processors actually make it to market or to retail (if any end up in retail packaging) to see if they will actually be sold at a lower price than the parts with integrated graphics.