Intel mulling a phased price reduction strategy to counter AMD, but all that could be in vain once Zen 3 hits the market
Last October, we reported about Intel's plans to offer discounts so as to thwart AMD's Ryzen onslaught. Team Blue seemed to be ready for it even thought it could cost the company an estimated US$3 billion. Now, according to a report by DigiTimes, Intel is all set to implement this strategy to counter AMD's already aggressive pricing and rising marketshare for Ryzen.
DigiTimes reports that Intel is planning to cut prices in phases. The first phase would focus on selling Intel CPUs to system integrators and OEMs at reduced prices. We do not yet know what is the extent of this discount and how this would translate to customers buying laptops and pre-built desktops from OEMs like Asus, HP, Dell, etc. Word on the street is that this phase is likely to be executed sometime in H2 2020. Intel's phased discount strategy may mean that the benefits would eventually trickle-down to those who buy CPUs off the shelves as well.
We also do not know which CPU families are being targeted for the discounted prices. Currently, the 10th generation Core X HEDT processors such as the Core i9-10980XE are available at prices much lower than what their predecessors used to cost. However, AMD Threadripper 3000's stellar performance combined with the recent availability of the 64-core Threadripper 3990X showed that discounts alone may not save Intel.
Going by these developments, one would expect that the upcoming Comet Lake-S and Comet Lake-H series may be priced lucratively. Comet Lake-H is touted to be available sometime in Q1 2020 for gaming laptops, and while we do not have any availability info for Comet Lake-S, previous launches suggest a Q3 2020 timeline. This means while Comet Lake-H may not offer any significant price cuts at launch, Comet Lake-S and the upcoming Tiger Lake could adopt a more aggressive pricing strategy.
Of course, pricing is just half the story. The real deal is with the overall performance and performance per dollar, which has almost always been AMD's forte. While AMD is set to offer an enticing Ryzen 4000 series for mobile and Zen 3 expected to offer even more IPC gains thanks to improvements from the 7nm+ process, Intel's mainstream offerings will continue to remain on 14nm save for Tiger Lake. Intel would need much more than mere discounts to swing fortunes back in its favor.