Since their launch in late September, Intel Coffee Lake availability has been somewhat limited, causing prices to hover above the official MSRP. In a move to address this situation, the company is set to begin assembling the 8th Gen desktop processors at its plant located in Chengdu, China.
Intel notified its customers that they are going to test the Coffee Lake desktop CPUs in China. The change is effective for the Core i5-8400, Core i5-8600K, Core i7-8700, and the flagship Core i7-8700K. The company advised customers of the change as follows (PDF):
In order to ensure a continuous supply of the Intel Core i5-8400 Processor, Intel Core i5-8600K Processor, Intel Core i7-8700 Processor, and Intel Core i7-8700K Processor listed in the ‘Products Affected’ Table below, Intel will be adding an additional manufacturing site for Assembly/Test. The new site is located in Chengdu, China. The new manufacturing site has been certified equivalent (form, fit, function, and reliability) for the affected products and technologies of this change.
So far, the assembly and test for these CPUs has been limited to Intel’s Malaysia plant. The addition of the Chengdu plant should improve Coffee Lake availability, at closer to expected prices. Alternatively, the need to bring up a new facility also suggests that the binning process is actually a bottleneck in the production of Coffee Lake CPUs.
It should be noted that Intel refers only to the Assembly/Test part of the manufacturing process; it doesn’t limit fabrication of the physical processor dies. Which means there can be more than one place providing physical dies for these CPUs.
The notification also makes reference to the company’s Copy Exactly! methodology of manufacturing. This essentially focuses on producing exactly the same parts regardless of where they’re manufactured, so you can be rest assured that the new Coffee Lake CPUs binned in Chengdu will not differ a bit from the current ones.