Intel cuts more CPU prices to speed workstation refreshes

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Intel cuts more CPU prices to speed workstation refreshes

After confirming deep price cuts for its next-generation Core i9 X-series processors, Intel has revealed similar price cuts to its new Xeon W workstation CPUs, slashing them by up to nearly 50 percent.

The company announced the Xeon W-2000 processors Monday, saying they will launch alongside the new X-series processors in November and provide price cuts of roughly 40 percent to 50 percent for products with more than six cores over the previous Xeon W generation.

These processors are aimed at "mission-critical" applications in commercial environments, particularly those that can benefit from enterprise-level capabilities like vPro, Intel's collection of hardware-enabled manageability features, and error-correcting code memory.

The new Xeon W processors, which range from four to 18 cores, support up to 1 TB of memory capacity, two times more than the previous generation, and up to 72 PCIe 3.0 lanes on a platform level. They also support Intel Optane SSDs and Intel Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0.

"When you think of these platforms, there are three vectors of performance that we're focusing on: uncompromised frequency, the right balance of cores and then instruction set architecture improvements," said Frank Soqui, vice president and general manager of Intel's Desktop, Workstation and Channel Group

In addition, the Xeon W chips come with Deep Learning Boost, a new set of processor instructions first introduced in Intel's second-generation Xeon Scalable processors that accelerate artificial intelligence applications like image tagging, motion tracking and image enhancement. Compared with the previous generation, the new processors can process 2.2 times more images per second, thanks to the feature.

Soqui said that the new processors will create a new refresh opportunity for partners, especially those with customers who have three-year-old workstations, which is typically how old the systems are when users are ready to upgrade to a new workstation.

"The refresh rate for people in this category is about three years, which is much shorter than anything you're seeing on some of the mainstream desktop side of things," he said.

Intel has also announced price cuts for 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 price cuts kicked in on Mondahyand mean products like the Core i9-9900KF was reduced by 7 percent USto $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. Other models in the range fell between nine and seventeen percent.

Intel's Soqui said the company decided to lower F-series prices was belated recognition that customers felt the products weren't properly priced.

"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."

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.

This article originally appeared at crn.com

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