Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) has spent much of 2017 on the defensive. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) has been on a tear with new Ryzen computer processors based on an all-new Zen chip architecture that takes on Intel with more cores, more threads, more performance — and a lower price. INTC stock has been on a roller coaster this year, but the new 8th-gen Intel Core CPUs could be the ticket to growth.
At the end of August, Intel announced new 8th-generation chips for laptops that post far-greater-than-expected performance gains.
Now the company is taking on AMD’s Ryzen in the market where it was threatening to do the most damage, with the launch of 8th-gen Intel Core CPUs for desktop computers.
Intel Announces 8th Gen Intel Core Desktop CPU Launch
On the weekend, Intel issued a press release announcing the official launch of its newest desktop CPUs, the 8th gen Intel Core series.
The company has added improved overclocking support and additional cores compared to its previous generation chips. It claims the new Core i7-8700K is its “best gaming processor ever,” supporting the highest clock frequency ever for an Intel CPU (4.7GHz). All 8th-generation chips get onboard support for 4K video and Intel is touting improved gaming and video processing as big wins.
It may be mainstream PCs that see the bigger overall performance gains, though. There is now a 6-core Core i5 CPU. And for the first time, buyers of the budget-priced Core i3 chips get four cores instead of two. Pricing ranges from $117 for the Core i3 up to $359 for the high-end Core i7-8700K.
The 8th-gen Intel Core CPUs go on sale starting October 5.
But There’s a Catch…
One questionable decision made with the design of the new 8th-gen Intel Core CPUs could end up being a make or break buying point for some of Intel’s customers. Typical consumers don’t upgrade their PC hardware (other than to add more RAM or storage), but some — gamers and others who need high performance — may go so far as to replace a CPU. And those customers are unlikely to be happy to find out they can’t simply plug an 8th-gen Intel Core CPU into their existing system.
Intel made the decision to support only its new Z370 chipset-based motherboards, meaning a CPU upgrade requires a much bigger (and more expensive) project of also replacing the computer’s motherboard.
So for the average PC owner, who would simply buy a new computer to take advantage of the speed and performance gains of a new CPU, not a big deal. For a PC enthusiast who was planning to plug an 8th-gen Intel CPU into their existing system, this may make them think twice about doing so.
Will INTC Stock Upswing Last This Time?
INTC stock has been on a roller coaster throughout 2017. However, it began its latest rally at the end of August, when 8th-gen Intel Core CPUs for laptops were announced.
Since then, INTC stock has gained over 7% and is approaching the yearly high it set back in January — before all this AMD Ryzen trouble began.
The release of the new desktop CPUs could be what’s needed to push INTC to new highs for 2017. However, if it turns out that the 8th gen Intel Core processors don’t have the same compelling gains for desktop PCs that the laptop versions offered, then the past two month’s gains could turn into yet another of 2017’s INTC stock slides, continuing the roller coaster ride.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.