When Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) introduced its Core X series processors for the high-end desktop personal computer segment, it did something a little unusual.
In addition to selling chips with higher core counts than what can be found on the company's mainstream desktop platform (these higher core count chips are derived from Intel's data center chips), it also brought its mainstream desktop chips to its latest high-end desktop platform, known as X299.
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These chips, known as Kaby Lake-S in the mainstream desktop market, were rechristened Kaby Lake-X in their high-end desktop form.
Kaby Lake-X-based parts have been largely panned by reviewers and enthusiasts alike, as the consensus seems to be that the additional platform costs associated with going with Kaby Lake-X as well as an X299-based motherboard just aren't enough to justify what is, at most, a small amount of additional performance headroom.
The initial performance of the chips in the retail channel also doesn't seem to be too inspiring, either.
Based on previous leaks, Intel was planning to release a successor to Kaby Lake-X for the high-end desktop personal computer platform, known as Coffee Lake-X. This chip would be just like Kaby Lake-X -- the upcoming mainstream Coffee Lake-S chip but moved to the X299 platform.
Here's why I'm starting to doubt that this product will even see the light of day.
It'll just get panned by reviewers
The Kaby Lake-X chips are nice processors, but they were panned by reviewers and don't seem to be selling well in the marketplace.
Moreover, some motherboard makers are releasing X299-based motherboards (remember that the Kaby Lake-X chips require such motherboards to work) that don't even support the Kaby Lake-X chip!
For example, the ASUS Rampage VI Extreme motherboards -- ASUS' highest-end X299-based motherboard -- doesn't support the Kaby Lake-X chips.
I applaud Intel's attempt to try to offer as wide a range of processors on its highest-end desktop platform; I'm often highly critical of Intel, but I think that doing the legwork to bring Kaby Lake-X to market and seeing how it did in the marketplace was a worthwhile experiment.
However, while I obviously don't have access to the sales figures for the Kaby Lake-X chips, I think that they aren't selling -- and ultimately won't -- sell well.
If Intel brings out the Coffee Lake-X part that it had originally planned to, I think this chip will suffer the same fate as the Kaby Lake-X chips -- they'll get panned by reviewers and they just won't sell well.
Intel is better off taking the engineering resources that it'd ultimately spend on trying to bring such a product to market (they are surely nontrivial) and putting them to use elsewhere. And given Intel's history of canning product lines that don't sell well, I think the company will do just that.
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