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An Intel Core i7-13700K against its retail packaging

Raptor Lake Refresh pricing rumors are worrying: Could AMD’s Zen 5 CPUs be leaving Intel in the dust?

Intel Raptor Lake Refresh processors could see a price hike with the initial launch of K-series models (which can be overclocked) for the 14th generation.

Tom’s hardware I noticed well-known leaker @momomo_us shared pre-release pricing from an unknown online retailer.

Given that we haven’t been given the source – although this is obviously an obscure selling point somewhere – and the fact that these could very well be placeholder listings, as is always the case with pre-release pricing, we have to be extremely cautious here. (even more than usual with a voice).

If pricing is correct, the prices of the Core i9-14900K, Core i7-14700K and Core i5-14600K will be increased by approximately 15% over the equivalent Raptor Lake models. Actual price increases vary slightly between 14% and 16%, but average 15%.

That would be a significant jump, of course, and leave the flagship 14900K model costing $695 in the US.

This comes in addition to a recent leak showing that Raptor Lake Refresh may not represent a huge leap in performance, potentially putting salt in wounds.

If this leak is correct, Intel’s 14th generation processors – due to arrive in October – may offer only a 3% performance boost on average over Raptor Lake CPUs.

Analysis: Handing over the CPU crown to AMD?

So, all of that paints a pretty worrisome picture of a diminished value proposition with Raptor Lake Refresh, right? Well, it’s not quite that simple.

For starters, the performance loss we just mentioned comes with a few caveats. It shows single-core and multi-core performance will see better gains, especially for the 14700K, which is expected to add four efficiency cores over the 13700K, so it should be a much more significant upgrade.

Taking that information on the 14700K, it might make sense that this chip will experience a price increase. But does it make sense for the 14600K to get the same level of price increase, given that it will be relatively uninspiring in comparison? We’d say no, and in fairness we’d expect a more modest raise for this midrange CPU, if we’re to make the cut for the likes of our best processor list.

This fact – and the source – makes us question this rumor. But we can’t rule out the possibility that even if the retailer is flagging placeholder prices, it still may have gotten a signal from Intel (or elsewhere in the industry) to expect price hikes.

Intel’s 14th generation has always been labeled as a mere upgrade and, as such, was never going to result in major performance improvements. However, if Team Blue combines very modest increases with price hikes, that won’t make a new range of processors particularly appetizing.

Also, bearing in mind that this is what Intel will have on the CPU table for much of next year, with its next generation – Arrow Lake – likely not arriving until late 2024, Raptor Lake Refresh will take on Ryzen 8000. Rumor has it that next-generation AMD CPUs, based on Zen 5, could be released in the third quarter of 2024, which will most likely be before Arrow Lake.

And that could be a serious problem for Intel, especially if Raptor Lake Refresh’s value proposition seems shaky.

One last note: This is the second set of 14th generation product listings we’ve spotted (the first didn’t provide any pricing), and that points to something in itself: Maybe the Raptor Lake Refresh is coming a little sooner than expected.

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