New Intel Z490 motherboards which have the LGA1200 socket required to be compatible with the supposedly soon to launch Comet Lake 10th-gen desktop processors will be considerably pricier than existing Z390 boards for current 9th-gen models, if some leaked prices are to be believed.
Now, we should make it clear upfront that this is just speculation based on early pricing drawn from a Ukrainian retailer (ITbox), so far from a major retail outlet, and this is to be treated with more than the usual sprinkling of condiments (think handfuls instead).
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And as Tom’s Hardware, which spotted this, points out, prices for tech gear in Ukraine are generally a lot higher than in the US or UK, and so it’s foolish to try and draw any direct comparisons anyway – but what we can do is compare the prices of Z490 motherboards with existing Z390 models going by ITbox’s pricing, to see the relative difference.
Which is exactly what Tom’s has done, finding that prices on Gigabyte and MSI models have leapt between 16.5% up to 61.4% more expensive, depending on the exact motherboard you’re looking at.
The price increase among Gigabyte motherboards with the Z490 line-up is 40% on average compared to the equivalent Z390 models stocked by ITbox, and with MSI products the increase is an average of 37% (over a total selection of 16 compared motherboards of varying price ranges from both vendors). So even being conservative, it’s looking like prices are being hiked by a third with the incoming new Comet Lake motherboards.
But again, we have to be very cautious about drawing anything remotely resembling firm conclusions here, for obvious reasons. Think of this as a slightly worrying early hint, and further remember that these motherboards, like Intel’s 10th-gen CPUs, are not yet released (although the motherboards have been ready to go since early in the year, by all accounts – with Intel’s processors getting delayed, reportedly due to issues around power consumption).
Comet Lake comeback
Naturally, Intel is looking at making a comeback with Comet Lake against AMD Ryzen 3000 processors which have strongly dominated the desktop arena in recent times, and a lot of whether or not that might be successful will depend on relative pricing.
Leaks on Comet Lake CPU pricing have suggested that the processors will be pitched at roughly the same price points as current Coffee Lake chips. Those are just leaks, of course, but they may disappoint some folks hoping that Intel might apply some price cutting here (as has been the case with other processor ranges in recent history).
And indeed if the Z490 motherboards which are a required upgrade for Comet Lake are considerably more expensive as this retailer’s pricing indicates, then that’s hardly going to help in the battle for a good value proposition versus AMD’s Ryzen range, either.
The rumor mill contends that Comet Lake will be launched at the end of April, although it could be some time after that before the chips actually go on sale.
We’ve reached out to Intel for a comment on these purported motherboard prices, and will update this story if we hear back from the company.
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).