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Intel Cuts Prices For GPU-Less F-Series Processors By Up To 20 Percent

'It's going to make the larger production houses more aggressively switch to that SKU. It's going to make it a more acceptable SKU for them,' one Intel partner says of the chipmaker's decision to cut recommended customer pricing for Core processors that lack integrated graphics.

Intel is cutting the prices of its ninth-generation Core F-series processors that lack integrated graphics by up to 20 percent, a move that aims to address concerns that the processor line's previous pricing scheme wasn't attractive enough to encourage adoption.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said the price cuts to the processor line, headlined by the Core i9-9900KF, were effective Monday — an announcement that coincided with the chipmaker's major price cuts for its new Core i9 X-series and Xeon W processors for high-end desktops and workstations.

[Related: Intel F-Series Processor Sales Are Soaring In System Builder Channel]

Most of the Core F-series processors have a range for their recommended customer pricing, meaning the price cuts depend what channel partners were previously charging. At the top of the stack, the recommended customer pricing for Intel's Core i9-9900KF was reduced by 7 percent to $463 from its previous pricing of $499 at the high end. The Core i3-9350KF and -i39100F saw the largest price cuts, at 20 percent, reducing their recommended pricing to $148 and $92, respectively.

The remaining Core F-series processors saw the following price cuts: i7-9700KF (9 percent to $463), i5-9600KF (10 percent to $237), i7-9700F (11 percent to $298), i5-9500F (17 percent to $167) and i5-9400F (14 percent to $157). Dollar-wise, these cuts range from $25 to $37 for their recommended pricing.

In an interview with CRN, Frank Soqui, vice president and general manager of Intel's Desktop, Workstation and Channel Group, said the company decided to lower the recommended pricing for the F-series processors to account for their lack of integrated graphics, addressing a main concern after the processors were announced with the same pricing as processors that came with the feature.

"When you don't have processor graphics, why should you pay for it? So we changed the price point there," he said.

When asked why Intel didn't introduce the F-series processors with lower prices in the first place, Soqui said the company waited until it decided to commit the products to its long-term roadmap. He indicated that customer feedback played a role.

"I think we wanted to just get to a roadmap decision. Are we going to dedicate this to the roadmap?" he said. "Sometimes we need users to knock on our door — 'dear Intel, we really wish...' — and so we did."

Intel first introduced the F-series processors at CES in January without much explanation. Then, in March, Intel PC sales executive Steve Long told CRN that the processors were introduced to address the company's ongoing CPU shortage that began last year. At the time, he said the company was committed to selling the parts long-term and that Intel would encourage partners to sell them through a variety of incentives, including points for Intel's partner rewards program and bundles.

Soqui said Intel would continue to provide incentives for the F-series processors.

"The channel's hyper important to me. We're always going to be focusing on incentives, even though we've improved pricing," he said.

Randy Copeland, CEO of Velocity Micro, a Richmond, Va.-based system builder, said he expects the price cuts will prompt channel partners who sell large volumes of PCs to switch to the F-series processors.

"It's going to make the larger production houses more aggressively switch to that SKU. It's going to make it a more acceptable SKU for them," he said, adding that it will help partners with margins on products that are traditionally thin.

Copeland said Velocity Micro doesn't sell PCs with the F-series processors because the company can "twist more performance" out of the regular Core processors with integrated graphics. However, he said, if large-volume partners get behind the F-series, it will likely improve overall supply.

"It's going to alleviate supply pressure on the K product," Copeland said, referring to processors like the Core i9-9900K, "which is what we're excited about.

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