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Intel slash-and-burns processor prices ahead of AMD’s Ryzen CPU launch

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Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Why it matters to you

With AMD's Ryzen desktop processor launch just around the corner, prices are dropping for Intel's chips to prevent customers from jumping ship.

AMD’s new Ryzen desktop processor family is about to arrive in an over-packed station wagon in a matter of days, threatening to put a dent in Intel’s current performance desktop processor market share. AMD has already baited customers with an option to pre-purchase its three top-of-the-line chips, with the most expensive model costing $500 and performing on a par with a similar Intel processor costing over $1,000. That has pushed Intel to lower its prices before the Ryzen family arrives with a bang.

The price cuts have already shown up on Microcenter, revealing reductions ranging from $15 to $300. For instance, the Intel Core i7-6950X chip originally sold for $1,900, but is now $300 less, representing the biggest price reduction so far. This is a ten-core processor launched in the second quarter of 2016 with a base clock speed of 3.0GHz and a boost clock speed of 4.0GHz.

Here are the price reductions seen on Microcenter so far:

Core i7

Core i7-6950X Core i7-6900K Core i7-6850K Core i7-6800K
New Price: $1,599 $999 $549 $359
Price reduction: $300 $200 $150 $140
 
  Core i7-5820K Core i7-7700K Core i7-6700K Core i7-4790K
New Price: $319 $299 $259 $279
Price reduction: $100 $80 $140 $90
 
  Core i7-7700 Core i7-6700
New price: $289 $259
Price reduction: $50 $90

Core i5

Core i5-7600K Core i5-6600K Core i5-4690K Core i5-7500
New price: $199 $179 $189 $189
Price reduction: $70 $90 $70 $30
 
  Core i5-6500 Core i5-4590
New price: $179 $159
Price reduction: $50 $60

Core i3

  Core i3-7350K Core i3-7100 Core i3-6100
New price: $159 $114 $109
Price reduction: $20 $15 $20

Pentium

  Pentium G4400 Pentium G3258  
New price: $50 $50
Price reduction: $20 $20

Microcenter isn’t the only online retailer slashing the prices of Intel desktop processors. Amazon is showing discounted prices, too, such as the $315 Core i7-6700 now priced at $305, and the Core i7-6850K reduced from $628 to $580.  Meanwhile, the Core i7-6700K currently costs $310 over on Newegg, down from $370. The Core i5-6600K now costs $230 instead of $250.

Currently, AMD’s $400 Ryzen 7 1700X desktop processor is the second-best-selling CPU on Amazon, slotting behind the $340 Intel Core i7-7700K and ahead of the $240 Intel Core i5-7600K. AMD’s $330 Ryzen 7 1700 chip resides in seventh place while the $500 Ryzen 7 1800X falls into thirteenth place. All three AMD processors are up for pre-purchase only, and won’t actually become available until March 2.

More: Upcoming AMD Ryzen 7 1800X CPU achieves new Cinebench world record

Just for kicks, let’s compare the two top-selling desktop processors that just happen to sport the same price tag:

Core i7-7700K Ryzen 7 1700X
Cores: 4 8
Threads: 8 16
Base speed: 3.60GHz 3.6GHz
Boost speed: 4.20GHz 3.8GHz
Cache: 8MB 20MB
Maximum power draw: 91 watts 95 watts
Integrated graphics: Intel HD Graphics 630 None
Graphics base speed: 350MHz n/a
Graphics max speed: 1.1GHz n/a
Price: $400 $400

As shown above, AMD’s chip has twice the number of cores and threads, but consumes more power. In Intel’s defense, the i7-7700K includes integrated graphics, thus AMD customers still need to purchase an additional GPU solution. Moreover, Intel’s prices may drop even further later this year when the launch of its eighth-generation “Coffee Lake” processor family grows near.