Intel’s Rocket Lake launches next month and while there’s still a fair bit about the chips we don’t know yet, we’ve seen several different leaks imply Intel will raise prices with its 11th-generation CPU family.
MilwaukeePC briefly posted a set of 14 Rocket Lake SKUs and price tags before taking the post down again. It’s not a great list. As always, keep in mind that all rumors of pricing should be taken with substantial grains of salt until confirmed:
This would constitute a $100 price bump on the Core i9-11900K, $105 on the 11900KF, and $50 on the Core i9-11900. Less expensive chips, such as the Core i7-11700, would see a $60-$70 increase as well. Even the Core i5-11500 is supposedly $234 as opposed to the current list price of $202.
Unfortunately for anyone who was hoping Intel would cut prices to better compete against AMD, the company has decided to raise prices. Economically, it makes sense to do so. AMD is shipping literally every CPU it can manufacture, yet losing market share back to Intel because of TSMC’s capacity constraints. If Intel believes it can sell every CPU it can manufacture, it has no reason not to charge as much as possible.
Intel raising prices only hurts Intel if it makes AMD a better choice. If you can’t buy an AMD CPU, it’s not a better choice. Right now, CPUs like the 5800X, 5900X, and 5950X are all very hard to find and are selling well above MSRP when they do show up. This lowers the risk Intel takes when it increases prices.
Of course, none of this is good for what already looks like an abysmal year for PC building. While it’s possible that things won’t turn out as badly as forecast — at this point last year, for example, analysts expected a huge PC downturn in 2020 — for now, there’s little hope for improvement on the horizon. Chip shortages are now being forecast to last until somewhere between the end of July and the end of the year. No one can say when you’ll be able to buy an RTX, RDNA2, or Ryzen 5000 CPU. Nobody knows when the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series S|X will be in-stock reliably.
On paper, this kind of move is going to be bad for Intel. The MSRP on a 5800X is $449, well below the $599 Intel is targeting for the Core i9-11900K. Given that the prices people are paying have nothing to do with MSRPs these days, it’s impossible to know how this shakes out.
One last thing we want to note. A recent analysis of the power behavior of Intel desktop CPUs illustrated that there’s no point whatsoever in buying an expensive K-class CPU if you do not intend to overclock. Your 65W CPU will display identical clock behavior to a much higher-power (and higher cost) CPU by default unless you take steps to force your motherboard to maintain that TDP limit.
Don’t buy a 65W chip thinking it’ll respect that thermal limit without manual UEFI tweaks, but don’t expect it to be significantly slower than the higher-watt models, either.