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Prices leak for Intel’s 9th-generation CPUs without integrated graphics

Intel’s high-end desktop processors may soon ship without integrated graphics built in, which may be beneficial to users, like gamers, who need more performance from their PC setup. Recently, we’ve heard rumors that Intel may launch some ninth-generation desktop processors without Intel UHD Graphics 630, and now hardware retailers in Norway and Finland have outed four new Coffee Lake refresh processors ahead of Intel’s announcement along with their prices.

The Intel processors listed by Scandinavian retail partners all contain an “F” in the product designation, suggesting that it will ship with integrated graphics disabled. The processors include the Intel Core i9-9900KF, Core i7-9700KF, Core i5-9600KF, and Core i5-9400F. The move suggests that Intel may be targeting high-end users who will build or configure their systems with their own choice of discrete graphics cards. Casual users, on the other hand, may buy pre-built or pre-configured system and won’t even have to worry about what graphics option is included out of the box.

For performance users who want to squeeze extra processing power out of their CPUs, Intel’s move could allow for faster clock speeds. By turning off the integrated graphics, the chips would generate less heat, in theory, allowing for faster boost speeds or even better overclocking capabilities. “The disabled unit would also serve as ‘dark silicon,’ which is unused silicon that absorbs heat from surrounding chip structures, thus improving thermal performance,” Tom’s Hardware cited as an advantage of Intel’s reported move.

This strategy could also help Intel improve production yields as it continues to struggle with capacity. During the fabrication process, if a chip is found with a defect that occurs in the integrated graphics core, Intel could, in theory, turn off the graphics portion and sell it as a high-end processor part without integrated graphics enabled. This would allow Intel to boost yields and not have to discard faulty processors. The company already does something similar on the processor side — if a defect is found on a processing core, Intel disables that core and sells it as a lower-end CPU with less number of cores.

The retailers state that the chips will be in stock by January 3, suggesting that Intel may be making an announcement soon. With CES slated for early January, the venue could be a likely place where these processors debut. The retailers list the Intel Core i5-9400F at $255.15, while the Core i5-9600KF is suggested to come with a price range of between $188 and $355. The high-end Core i9-9900KF could go as high as $684. These prices likely include conversion rates, as Intel’s current Core i9-9900K processor with integrated graphics is listed for only $549 in the U.S.

For its part, Intel is working on its own discrete graphics options to compete against Nvidia and AMD. The Intel discrete graphics cards could arrive by 2020.

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