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Intel Marketing Claims i5-9600KF Better than 3800X, i3-9350KF Better than 3600X

Intel marketing is at it again, making sweeping performance claims about its embattled 9th generation Core processors against AMD's 3rd generation Ryzen. In a recent press conference in China, the company was shown claiming that its mid-tier 6-core/6-thread Core i5-9600KF is a "better" processor than AMD's 8-core/16-thread Ryzen 7 3800X. This claim is hard to defend with gaming, when even the "slower" 3700X is seen performing within 1% of the i5-9600K (identical CPU specs to the i5-9600KF) at gaming, and 22 percent faster at CPU tests, beating the i9-9900K in quite a few multi-threaded tests.

The marketing slide makes four key claims: 1. that Intel processors are faster in "real-world" use-cases (gaming, home/office, light content-creation), ; 2. that with boost-frequencies reaching 4.60 GHz, the higher IPC of these chips benefit gaming; 3. that the K-series chips easily overclock to 5.00 GHz yielding even more performance; and 4. that Intel processors have "smooth and stable drivers" compared to AMD. As if that wasn't bad enough, the slide claims that the 4-core/4-thread Core i3-9350KF is "better" than the 6-core/12-thread Ryzen 5 3600X, and the entry-level i3-9100F being better than the 6-core/6-thread Ryzen 5 3500. This incident closely follows its September gaffe that sought to sourgrape AMD's HEDT creator performance leadership by discrediting its lead in certain applications by claiming they don't reflect "real world usage." Making Intel's test relevance claims comically wrong was the fact that it used app usage data gathered exclusively from notebooks.

Retail Prices of Key Intel Core i5 and 8th Gen Core i7 Processor SKUs Sober Up

Prices of retail versions of several 8th and 9th generation Intel Core processor SKUs dropped down to MSRP-levels Friday, in the US. Newegg currently lists the Core i5-9600K at USD $249.99, and the Core i7-8700K at $369.99, while the i7-8700 goes for $319.99, matched with AMD's Ryzen 7 2700X. The Core i5-8600K is listed at $239.99, which is just $20 above the consumer-favorite i5-8400. Newegg's pricing is still riddled with mark-up anomalies for SKUs in high demand. The Core i7-9700K is listed at $487.99, which is about $10 cheaper than Intel's MSRP for the Core i9-9900K, which is selling for an obnoxious $850.

Intel Ropes in Vietnam and Ireland to Increase Processor Volumes

Intel late last week released a PCN (product change notification), which stated that it has assigned its manufacturing facilities in Vietnam as an "additional site for test and finish." This would entail final quality assurance testing of its nearly-ready products and "finishing," which involves final retail packaging. The Intel facility in Vietnam will work in concert with its largest Asian manufacturing facility, located in Malaysia. "While Assembly, Test and Finish will continue to be done in PGAT (Malaysia), Intel will also have assembled material sent to VNAT (Vietnam) to perform the Test/Finish portions of the manufacturing process. Please note that Vietnam has been certified equivalent (form, fit, function, and reliability) for the affected products and technologies of this change," the PCN reads.

The products named in the PCN are the company's new flagship MSDT processor, the 8-core/16-thread Core i9-9900K, the second-best 8-core/8-thread Core i7-9700K, and the 6-core/-6-thread Core i5-9600K. "Fab, Sort and Assembly Test Manufacturing follow a philosophy, enables delivery of product from multiple production sites, which operate as a virtual factory that performs consistently and independent of the manufacturing source site. Additional benefits include faster production ramps that improve product availability and improved consistency to quality performance," it concludes. Intel had, earlier this year, raised its capital expenditure by an additional $1 billion YoY to around $16 billion, in a bid to increase its volumes as the industry faces supply shortages from Intel, which the company claims is due to "increased demand," rather than a short-supply. Intel has also roped in its small foundry located in Leixlip, Ireland.

AMD Could Cut Prices of 2nd Gen Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" Processors

AMD's first response to Intel's 9th generation Core "Coffee Lake Refresh" processors could be that of 5-10% price-cuts of its Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" processors across the board, according to a pricing list compiled by Techspot. These cuts could see the company's Ryzen 7 2700X priced just below the $300-mark. These cuts will be introduced not just by AMD, but also retailers.

The $200-300 segment could get crowded, with the 8-core/16-thread 2700X at around $295, the Ryzen 7 2700 (non-X) at $265, and the 6-core/12-thread Ryzen 5 2600X drop to around $210. Intel's only sub-$300 offering from its 9th generation family is the 6-core/6-thread Core i5-9600K. The sub-$200 segment will see the Ryzen 5 2600 go for $160, a rather compelling price for a 6-core/12-thread chip, given that Intel's cheapest 6-core offering, the i5-8400, is now retailing for $220, and that the company only has the quad-core i3-8350K around this price, at $170.

Intel Core i5-9600K Surfaces on GeekBench Database

With the swanky Core i9-9900K and Core i7-9700K eight-core chips getting all the attention, the less glamorous Core i5-9600K is taking shape, which could bring a little more performance to the $250 price-point. This 6-core/6-thread chip succeeds the current-gen i5-8600K, and has the same 9 MB of L3 cache. With not much in the way of micro-architectural IPC improvements, barring silicon-level hardening against certain vulnerabilities, which could improve speculative execution performance (versus processors with software patches that inflict performance penalties); Intel has dialed up clock speeds. The chip is clocked at 3.70 GHz, with a maximum Turbo Boost frequency of 4.60 GHz, compared to the 3.60 GHz nominal and 4.30 GHz Turbo Boost frequencies of its predecessor.

The higher clocks seem to bring the i5-9600K a touch higher than the i5-8600K in terms of GeekBench scores, although still nowhere close to the i7-8700 (non-K). The i5-8600K, if you'll recall, beat some of its pricier previous-generation siblings such as the i7-7700, in multi-threaded tests. Someone with access to an i5-9600K put it through GeekBench 4. The chip scores 6,015 points in the single-core test or about 3.7 percent faster than its predecessor (the i5-8600K typically scores 5,800 points), coming from the 300 MHz higher single-core boost. The multi-core score is 23,393 points, which is a meager 2 percent faster (the i5-8600K typically scores around 23,000 points). The generational jump in performance for the mid-range hence seems to have stagnated. At best the i5-9600K will repair the uncertain price/performance equation the i5-8600K has against the AMD Ryzen 5 2600X.
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