Intel Corporation May Be Giving Hardcore Gamers a Treat

Intel seems to finally be embracing one of the most important PC-buying demographics.

May 27, 2014 at 10:40AM

For those of you unfamiliar with how Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) does business in the desktop market, the company has two main product lines. The first is its set of "mainstream" processors under the Core i3, i5, and i7 brands. These chips usually sport 2-4 processor cores, integrated graphics, and are very similar to the company's notebook/mobile designs. The second is the "enthusiast" line of processors. These, unlike the mainstream products, are based on the company's workstation/server models, sport more cores, and don't bother with integrated graphics. With its upcoming lineup, Intel may be giving hardcore gamers a treat.

Moving to a six core minimum
According to coolaler.com, Intel plans to launch three new "enthusiast" models this year based on the Haswell CPU architecture. The Core i7-5960X, is the highest end of the bunch with eight CPU cores, a base frequency of 3.0 GHz, and support for DDR4-2133. Moving down the stack, Intel is apparently going to offer a Core i7-5930K, which reduces the core count to six, but the base frequency is higher, at 3.5GHz. Finally, the lowest end of the bunch will be the Core i7-5820K, which is also a six core, but reduces the base frequency to 3.3 GHz and cuts the number of PCI Express lanes from 40 to 28.

To put this in perspective, the top-end model (at the $1,000 price point) goes from six Ivy Bridge cores to eight Haswell cores. The middle SKU stays at six cores, but each core is more capable, and the chip has more on-die cache and support for faster memory. Finally, in the Ivy Bridge generation, the 4820K was a four core at 3.7 GHz base, but at this price point, Intel will now apparently be offering a six core at 3.3 GHz base (but remember, the cores themselves are faster per-clock) with a whopping 15MB of L3 cache.

The i7-5820K likely to sell extremely well
Just look at NVIDIA's (NASDAQ:NVDA) or Advanced Micro Devices' (NASDAQ:AMD) financial results -- hardcore gamers are buying high-performance graphics cards in droves. Gamers are not shy about shelling out hundreds of dollars for top-end gear, and when they perceive there to be an extreme "bargain," they are more than willing to upgrade perfectly good hardware just to eke out extra performance from their demanding games.

Same thing goes for CPUs. The Ivy Bridge enthusiast lineup was a real yawner (barely any performance improvement from the Sandy Bridge generation, but Intel got a cost-structure advantage from the shrink), but if Intel ends up offering the i7-5820K at the same (roughly) $330 price point of its predecessor, then this would be a nearly unprecedented value in the desktop chip space. Intel would be selling a six-core Haswell for roughly the same price as the four-core Haswell on the cheaper platform, but the trade-off is a more expensive platform (the X99 chipset will be more expensive than the Z97), more expensive memory (DDR4 will be new and thus pricier), and lack of integrated graphics.

For most users, this trade-off wouldn't make sense, but for the enthusiasts/gamers this is targeted at, this seems almost like a no-brainer if Intel keeps the price points roughly similar from generation to generation.

NVIDIA and AMD should ready-up next generation graphics cards
To coincide with the launch of these new high-end enthusiast processors, NVIDIA and AMD would benefit immensely from pushing out new high-end graphics cards. Neither NVIDIA nor AMD seem to be able/willing to put out 20-nanometer graphics parts during 2014, but NVIDIA could bring out a larger version of the Maxwell GPU found in the recently launched 750 Ti built on the 28-nanometer process. AMD, too, could potentially offer a refreshed GPU on 28-nanometer, as it did last year with its Hawaii product. There is tremendous opportunity at the high end for both graphics card vendors now that Intel seems to be putting more attention toward the enthusiast/gamer space.

Foolish bottom line
At the end of the day, the enthusiast/gamer space isn't by any means Intel's largest end market, but it is certainly one of the most performance-hungry ones. There is no "good enough" in the world of gaming, and as game developers continue to push the limits in next generation games, faster graphics cards and faster processors will be required. And, since many enthusiasts view buying the latest-and-greatest as a hobby, all Intel (and NVIDIA/AMD) needs to do is to put out something compelling enough to get people to upgrade from last year's gear.

Leaked: Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you)
Apple recent recruited a secret-development Dream Team to guarantee their newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out... and some early viewers are even claiming its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, AND the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of these type of devices will be sold per year. But one small company makes this gadget possible. And their stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!

Ashraf Eassa owns shares of Intel. The Motley Fool recommends Intel and Nvidia. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at www.fool.com/podcasts.

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to www.fool.com/podcasts, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.

 


Compare Brokers