One of the interesting elements of this profession is dealing with how the processor companies have changed their attitudes towards marketing their products over the past couple of decades. After years of bland boxing and sub-standard coolers, there have been recent efforts to produce something eye-catching to users casually browsing shelves, especially in an effort to draw attention to the high-end products. While ultimately the packaging has little-to-no value after unboxing the product, beyond perhaps the background in a gaming stream, it does mark a change in attitudes, especially when product packaging can accelerate the hype around a product.

One of the recent product packaging efforts from Intel was the dodecahedral packaging for its halo desktop product, the Core i9-9900K. While AMD has focused special packaging for high-end desktop, Intel it seems prefers to point it into the desktop product line. This packaging is a transparent blue dodecahedron, with the CPU at the center. No cooler is bundled, and the packaging is large for the processor, but it certainly made it stand out.

Intel launched Comet Lake a couple of weeks ago, its 10th generation Core product, with the flagship i9-10900K sitting at the top of the stack. As the Core i9-9900K no longer sits in that top spot, Intel has decided to discontinue versions of the 9900K in its special packaging. Specifically, retailers have until June 26th to order these processor versions, and the last shipment will be on July 10th. This is a very quick discontinuance procedure, however the non-special retail version will still be available.

At some point in this market, we are going to get a product with iconic packaging. One could argue if the packaging makes the product interesting at all – given how users tend to focus on a specific processor for their build, is spending potentially slightly more for the fancy box ever justified? You may think that this news post is somewhat arbitrary, talking about packaging discontinuance, but it perhaps yields a bigger question in the processor market – does packaging matter? Or the contents – a message from the CEO on a special anniversary edition, or the signature on the heatspreader?

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  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, June 2, 2020 - link

    That seems quite odd compared to my experiences with boxed coolers. In the last decade, I've generally used Intel's OEM coolers and have had no problems at all and have never seen temps much above 80C and fan noise is minimal at best. Your conditions will vary from one location to the next, so possibly your ambient temps are higher than around 72F, but I can't explain the negative experiences beyond giving the whole thing an apathetic shrug. I'll gladly run whatever cooler comes with the CPU and pocket the difference as another little bit of personal or retirement investing money. Reply
  • mrvco - Sunday, May 31, 2020 - link

    The character of your build is reflected in not just your choice of interior RGB lighting and artisan keycaps, but also in your choice of CPU cooler. Reply
  • IBM760XL - Saturday, May 30, 2020 - link

    It's definitely the coolest packaging in the CPU aisle at my local Micro Center. Does it matter? A little bit. If I were on the fence as to whether to buy a 9900K instead of a 9700K, to get those extra 8 threads, maybe it would be the factor that tips the scales.

    It also depends on if you have a place to display the box. I remember seeing one of these boxes at the office in the winter of 2018-2019. In some hardware-friendly circles, that would be a good conversation starter. I still have my 2500K box on a bookcase, which has also been used for wrapping Christmas presents a couple times, and for awhile had an 800 MB hard drive on display (yes, megabytes). It all depends on the target audience.
    Reply
  • Martimus - Saturday, May 30, 2020 - link

    I think the packaging was pretty cool. I've been buying CPUs since the mid 90s, and this was by far the most interesting. If AMD didn't have a better processor/ motherboard combination, I might have gotten one, but I ended up getting a 3900X instead. Still, I feel a little sad that I didn't get one of those boxes. It would have been pretty cool.

    Luckily the 3900X box is nice too, but it isn't as unique.
    Reply
  • rdgoodri - Saturday, May 30, 2020 - link

    Darn that was the best thing about the CPU. Reply
  • watzupken - Sunday, May 31, 2020 - link

    While I feel the box looks nice, I have to agree that it is impractical and pointless. Getting rid of it will be good. Though I feel Intel is stopping it not because of these points, but rather to save cost. They seem to be scrimping wherever they can. If they are really about cutting cost, they could have just EOL the 9900K since its superseded by the 10xxx series. Its written here that they are removing the packing because the 9900K is no longer the flagship, but I don't see them using the same packaging on the new flagship. Reply
  • Klimax - Sunday, May 31, 2020 - link

    Bit off-topic, but is that old RJ45 and BNC NIC? Looks familiar, maybe one of the RTL8029-based? Reply
  • extide - Sunday, May 31, 2020 - link

    Looks like a version of the 3c509-combo Reply
  • MDD1963 - Sunday, May 31, 2020 - link

    I mean, who would want such performance without the weird box to be discarded after a few moments anyway.... Reply
  • Danvelopment - Tuesday, June 2, 2020 - link

    This packaging would have been a collectors item if it were on a standout product. They probably could have used it on the 8086K or the G3258 and the packaging would have mattered. Or even the 2700K, the definitive chip of the new era. Collectors would have totally gone for one of those sealed in a unique box.

    But slapping it on a chip that isn't unique doesn't really send the right message apart from, "Buy our stuff, new hat"
    Reply

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