Intel quietly updated its price list yesterday, adding a new top-of-the-line offering to its Sandy Bridge family and trimming the prices of three low-cost chips along the way.
The newcomer is dubbed Core i7-2700K. It has a base clock speed of 3.5GHz, 100MHz quicker than the i7-2600K, but otherwise looks very similar with four cores, eight threads, and 8MB of L3 cache. According to CPU-World, the i7-2700K features a 3.9GHz peak Turbo speed and a 95W power envelope. Intel prices the new CPU at $332, only $15 higher than the i7-2600K.
Interestingly, the i7-2700K's arrival hasn't pushed down prices across the rest of the Core i7 and i5 lineups. Rather, Intel has selectively trimmed the price of a handful of budget offerings: the Core i3-2120, which slipped from $138 to $117, and the Sandy Bridge-based Pentium G850 and G630, which dropped from $86 and $75 to $75 and $64, respectively. The quickest Sandy Bridge Pentium, the G860, will still set you back $86—in volume quantities, at least, a caveat that applies to all of the figures in Intel's official price list.
Yesterday's changes seem like a far cry from past Intel responses to new AMD processor releases, which I seem to recall involving deeper, more meaningful price cuts. Alas, processors like the Core i5-2500K and i7-2600K are still without equal nearly 10 months after their launch. Only AMD's FX-8150 has the chops to trade blows with the i5-2500K, yet it's both more expensive and currently unavailable.