- Intel’s mainstream CPUs for the past several years have all had iGPUs
- This might allow Intel to optimise currently constrained production lines
- The new CPUs could launch as soon as the first week of January
According to some recent rumours, Intel is gearing up to launch versions of its 9th Gen desktop Core i5, Core i7 and Core i9 CPUs without integrated graphics. Now, retail listings for four new models with an ‘F’ suffix have appeared on the website of at least one well-known European retailer. Intel has been integrating GPUs into its mainstream desktop CPUs at all price levels for several years now, believing that customers value the simplicity and functionality. While not the most powerful, current versions are good enough for normal PC usage and practically all productivity applications, as well as basic gaming. Even customers who use a discrete graphics card have something to fall back on when needed.
Now, this move would see Intel sell CPUs without any integrated graphics capabilities, aimed at the high-performance segment. Intel has not confirmed them yet, but it is very likely that these chips will be identical to their standard counterparts but with the GPU regions of the die disabled. Such chips would allow Intel to make use of chips that come off its production lines with minor defects in the GPU but are otherwise perfectly functional.
It is extremely unlikely that Intel would design all-new dies without the GPU logic. The company is currently dealing with a global CPU supply shortage, causing stocks to dry up and prices to rise in many parts of the world.
The listings that have appeared online name four models: The Core i9-9900KF, Core i7-9700KF, Core i5-9600KF, and Core i5-9400F. Earlier rumours had also mentioned a purported Core i3-9350KF. The listed base clock speeds are the same as those of the non-F variants of each respective model, and no other specifications are known. According to Tom’s Hardware, the prices that have appeared online are just placeholders and should not be considered final.
The CPUs without integrated graphics will most likely be targeted at gamers and enthusiasts who are going to use discrete graphics cards anyway. It is possible that these chips will benefit in terms of CPU performance and overclocking headroom with no integrated GPU to share the same thermal envelope, even if is not in use.
It is not yet known whether Intel will make these chips widely available. The listings claim that these CPUs will be available on January 3, 2019, which indicates that there could be a low-key announcement just prior to CES 2019. Intel might also announce other non-F models in its 9th Gen ‘Coffee Lake’ desktop CPU family.
Nearly all of AMD’s current Ryzen CPU lineup lacks integrated graphics. Intel’s high-end desktop platforms, including current Core X-series models based on the Skylake-X architecture, also lack integrated graphics.