Intel’s 16-thread i9 9900K listed online for imminent launch… and it’s expensive

Canadian retailer DirectDial lists Intel's i9 9900K, i7 9700K, and i5 9600K online

Intel Core i9

A Canadian retailer has listed the unannounced Intel i9 9900K, i7 9700K, and i5 9600K CPUs online. The listings, which are not yet confirmed, indicate that stock of the first two mainstream eight-core chips and the six-core i5 will be available on September 14, 2018 – just over a week away.

That seems rather sooner than we had expected, so we’d maybe take that shipping date with a pinch of sodium chloride.

Intel’s i9 9900K will be the company’s top mainstream chip, arriving with eight cores and 16 threads. It’s expected to sport a base clock of 3.6GHz and Turbo up to 5GHz out of the box. Pricing had been a mystery, but now we have a, potentially spurious, indication of how much damage to our bank accounts this shiny new chip will do.

The DirectDial listing indicates a price of $685 CAD. That’s roughly $520 USD or £401. In comparison to the previous top Intel mainstream part, the i7 8700K, which comes with a recommended customer price of $359, that’s quite a price bump for two extra cores. One that is significantly more than the price bump when Intel moved from the four-core i7 7700K to the the six-core i7 8700K.

That Intel i9 price tag screams market dominance, which is a little odd considering Intel does have some competition now. Some rather strong competition. AMD’s Ryzen chips have been outselling Intel’s finest recently, and these chips, including the latest Threadripper in that price range, will surely deter many potential customers from Intel’s upcoming offerings if it sticks to a high price premium for eight cores.

Cores Threads Base Turbo Cache TDP Price
New – Core i9 9900K 8 16 TBD TDB 16MB TBD TBD
New – Core i7 9700K 8 8 3.9GHz 4.9GHz 12MB 95W TBD
Core i7 8700K 6 12 3.7GHz 4.7GHz 12MB 95W $359
Core i7 8700 6 12 3.2GHz 4.6GHz 12MB 65W $303
New – Core i5 9600K 6 6 3.7GHz 4.5GHz 9MB 95W TBD
Core i5 8600K 6 6 3.6GHz 4.3GHz 9MB 95W $257
New – Core i5 9600 6 6 3.1GHz 4.5GHz 9MB 65W TBD
Core i5 8600 6 6 3.1GHz 4.3GHz 9MB 65W $213
New – Core i5 9500 6 6 3GHz 4.3GHz 9MB 65W TBD

But, again, these prices are unconfirmed at this point, and surely the i7 9900K’s price won’t be quite so hefty come release date.

As for the i7 9700K, a straight eight-core / eight-thread chip and, sort of, a more direct comparison with the current top chip, it will cost $533 CAD, or $411 USD. That’s just a touch more than the i7 8700K, which the same site, DirectDial (via Twitter user momomo_us), offers for $515 CAD, or $391 USD (£301). That’s also considerably more expensive than many outlets sell that particular chip right now, and might mean that all three chips – the i9 9900K, i7 9700K, i5 9600K – listed prices could be similarly skewed upwards in these early listings. So maybe that’s good news for customers waiting on Intel’s Coffee Lake refresh.

8th Gen Intel Core S-series Wafer

The i5 9600K is listed for $363 CAD, $276 USD (£212). Again, that’s a small price bump over the i5 8600K from the initial batch of Intel Coffee Lake chips launched this time last year.

So it seems only the unprecedented i9 9900K chip has a particularly high initial price tag once you take into account this retailer’s apparent tendency to price a little above the likes of Amazon and Newegg.

The specs of the i9 9900K are essentially what any one of us might have expected the i7 9700K to have arrived with before the first rumours started appearing online. Instead, however, it looks like eight Intel CPU cores is simply too much silicon to sell for the same price as six from last year, and the price has been subsequently cranked up along with the number on the logo. A tactic Intel of 2014 might’ve been able to get away with, but Intel in 2018, with Ryzen and 7nm breathing down its neck? I’m not so sure.

Let’s hope this is just speculative pricing and not what Intel has in store when the Coffee Lake refresh and accompanying Z390 motherboards launch, presumably, very soon.