It appears like Intel is finally taking the Ryzen threat seriously. After a precipitous cut to their HEDT pricing, with Cascade Lake X receiving a 50 percent cut relative to the previous generation, Intel’s now addressing another anomaly in their price stack. It’s more of an 80-pound juggling monkey than an 800-pound in the room, but Intel’s F-series pricing has always been a head-scratcher. The F series is simple: It’s basically the exact same processor as the K-series parts, such as the 9600K and 9900K, but just with their iGPU disabled. This helped Intel sell more boards that had defective graphics units. At launch though, the F-series parts were sold at the exact same price as their non-F counterparts. This made them irrelevant since there was no reason to buy (except for the odd case where a K series or regular part is out of stock).
Intel’s seemed to have taken heed of this. They’ve dropped F-series pricing by anywhere from an appealing 20 percent on the i3-9100F to a more pedestrian 5 percent off on the i9-9900KF. The price-cuts on F series parts are more noticeable at the bottom of the stack. This especially makes the quad-core i3-9100F and the six-core 9400F more price-competitive with their Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 counterparts.
There are some caveats with buying an F series part. As we mentioned earlier, they do not feature an integrated iGPU. This means that you have no backup option in case your discrete GPU goes kaput. It should be mentioned here, though, that no iGPU is the default for Ryzen, with the exception of the APU line. Apart from this, there is no difference between the F series parts and their equivalents, in terms of processor performance. If you want to buy a ninth-gen Intel processor, we’d suggest getting an F-series part: the price-cuts today make them all the more attractive.