Earlier, we heard reports that Intel could launch new Coffee Lake Refresh processors without integrated graphics built-in, and now hardware retailers have listed several such variants along with their prices.
Intel unveiled its ninth-generation Core processors in October, codenamed Coffee Lake Refresh. The newest line of processors is still based on the Skylake design from 2015 and uses the same 14nm process node.
What’s new is that, for the first time, Intel introduced eight cores in the mainstream segment. In addition, the Core 9000 series CPUs feature a soldered integrated heat spreader (IHS) instead of a thermal compound.
The processors are also equipped with an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 (GT2) iGPU. But it seems that Intel is now planning to turn off the integrated graphics on its new 9th-gen Coffee Lake Refresh CPUs.
Prices Leak for Intel Coffee Lake Refresh CPUs without Integrated Graphics
The new Intel CPUs listed by major Norwegian and Finnish hardware retailers all lack the integrated graphics, as denoted by an “F” suffix on the product name. There’s a total of four such CPUs, namely the Intel Core i9-9900KF, Core i7-9700KF, Core i5-9600KF, and Core i5-9400F.
In addition, the four-core Core i3-9350K is also expected to be released in a design without integrated graphics, but this chip is not mentioned by either retail partner.
Now this isn’t a usual practice for Intel i.e., releasing a mainstream processor without graphics onboard. The last time it did so was back in 2012 with the release of the Intel Core i5-2550K Sandy Bridge CPU. Since then, we’ve not seen a chip of this class.
As for the Core 9000 F-series, it is unlikely that the new CPUs will come with “a die that lacks integrated graphics,” noted Tom’s Hardware. Instead, the company will have the GPU disabled, which has its own benefits.
For example, the disabled unit – which is basically the unused silicon – would absorb heat from surrounding chip structures, thus reducing the overall heat production of the processor. This, in turn, should allow for faster boost speeds or even better overclocking capabilities.
This strategy would certainly also help Intel in its struggle to cope with an ongoing 14nm CPU shortage. During the fabrication process, if a chip is found with defects in the graphics unit, Intel can simply disable that unit and sell it as a high-end processor part without integrated graphics built-in.
This would allow the company to boost yields and not have to discard faulty processors or sell them as low-end models.
The list prices differ at both retailers so they are likely placeholders right now. At the Norwegian store, the Core i9-9900KF retails for the equivalent of $684 including VAT, while the same product is listed for $511 at the Finnish store.
The fastest Core i5 variant, on the other hand, could cost anywhere between $188 and $355. The Core i5-9400F and Core i7-9700KF are only available at the Norwegian store and are priced at $255 and $528 respectively.
It is still unclear how the processors fare with their Coffee Lake counterparts in terms of turbo frequency and power consumption, but we may not have to wait too long to find out that. The retailers expect to have the new Intel processors in stock by January 3 2019, suggesting the company will be making an announcement soon.