Intel isn’t slow to pull the curtain down on its products when replacements are waiting in the wings. Last month, the company discontinued its entire 9th-gen Coffee Lake Refresh line, including the still-excellent Core i9-9900K. Its predecessor, the 8th-gen Coffee Lake CPUs, were discontinued in June 2020.
The announcement comes just before the start of CES 2021 next week, where Intel will likely reveal its 500-series motherboards. These feature an LGA1200 socket, so both the 10th-gen Comet Lake-S and upcoming 11th-gen Rocket Lake-S chips are supported.
With the 500-series motherboards, Intel will finally be catching up with rival AMD by offering support for the PCIe 4.0 interface. Team blue needs to close the tech gap on its rival; according to benchmarking giant PassMark Software, AMD has just surpassed Intel when it comes to global desktop CPU market share for the first time in fifteen years.
It appears that LGA1200 is set to last for just two generations. The larger, 12th-gen Alder Lake-S chips, which use the 10nm big/small architecture, will use a new CPU socket called LGA1700, forcing users to upgrade their hardware—again.
One bit of good news is that the prices of Coffee Lake Refresh chips are falling. The Core i9-9900K is available on Amazon for $367, while Microcenter has the Intel Core i5-9600K for just $170.