Demand for Intel’s Skylake CPUs has been very high since the introduction of the company’s latest processors in August. Even though the manufacturer has ramped up the supply of its Skylake CPUs since its launch, not all users can get these new CPUs. In fact, demand for higher-end Core i5-6600K and Core i7-6700K is so high that retailers recently increased prices of such chips. As a result, the quad-core top-of-the-range Skylake-S microprocessor is now more expensive than even the previous-generation six-core Haswell-E series.

Officially, the recommended customer price of one boxed Intel Core i7-6700K processor (four cores with Hyper-Threading, 4.0GHz/4.20GHz, 8MB cache, Intel HD Graphics 530 core, unlocked multiplier) is $350, according to Intel’s ARK. The recommended price of the Core i5-6600K chip (four cores, 3.50GHz/3.90GHz, 6MB cache, Intel HD Graphics 530 core, unlocked multiplier) is $243. However, at the moment it is not easy to buy thse CPUs without overpaying in the U.S. In fact, not all retailers even have the chips in stock, something that rarely happens to products released over three months ago.

For their part, Amazon does not currently have any Intel Core i7-6700Ks directly in stock. Instead the only 6700Ks available via Amazon are through their third-party marketplace sellers, starting at $499.99, which is nearly $150 higher than the recommended customer price. According to CamelCamelCamel, a price-tracker that monitors Amazon and its partners, the price of the chip began to increase in early October. Meanwhile Newegg sells the Core i7-6700K for $419.99, a smaller increase than Amazon but still higher than both Intel's original price recommendation and the price Newegg was charging at launch. Looking at Newegg's pricing history over at PriceZombie, it looks like Newegg increased the price of the chip beginning in November.

As for Intel’s Core i5-6600K, it's available at Amazon and Newegg for $289.99 and $279.99, respectively. The price of the chip has been fluctuating in both stores and at present the product costs slightly above its $243 MSRP.

Given these prices, it is noteworthy (and somewhat surprising) that Intel’s Core i7-5820K processor (six cores with Hyper-Threading, 3.30GHz/3.60GHz, 15MB cache, unlocked multiplier) is down to $389.99 these days, which makes it cheaper than the Skylake 6700K. The fact that the 5820K has to be paired with more expensive LGA2011-3 motherboards as well as quad-channel memory kits ultimately drives up the price of the total kit compared to a Skylake system, but that a still very performant hex-core CPU (ed: with solder!) is cheaper than Intel's flagship quad-core is something we rarely see. If nothing else it's a sign of just how unbounded quad-core pricing has become, though at the same time it thankfully provides a reasonable alternative to the 6700K and some counter-pressure to keep i7 prices from getting even higher.

When we asked Intel about what was going on with Skylake prices, they said in an emailed statement that they had not increased the MSRP of the 6600K/6700K - in other words, they had not increased prices on their end. Instead they suggested that select stores might have increased their prices because of strong demand for such chips, which is a pattern we've seen before with video cards and other components.

It goes without saying that retailers do not usually increase prices without a reason, as the intense competition among the online PC component retailers makes it difficult to hold too large of a margin under normal circumstances. All of this in turn points to an insufficient supply of microprocessors, with demand significantly exceeding supply. In fact, according to Nowinstock, which monitors availability of various products, many well-known U.S.-based stores did not have high-end Intel Skylake CPUs in their stocks at press time.

Intel has previously mentioned that the costs of producing CPUs on their 14nm manufacturing process were higher than the costs of 22nm CPUs due to initially lower 14nm yields. However, the company has never revealed whether yields are a reason why higher-end Skylake-S processors are currently in short supply, or if the problem lies elsewhere in the production chain. With any luck we may find out a bit more once Intel hosts their next earnings conference call in January.

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  • IEC - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - link

    My experience as well. My chip was as high as 1.3V+ vcore at stock, but was stable at 4.5GHz @ 1.25V. Seems to require inordinately more voltage beyond that. Still beats my overclocked 3570K for gaming, but if I needed more threads or wanted something a bit more future-proof I'd wait for Broadwell-E, Skylake-E, or Zen depending on how competitive those end up being.
  • MrSpadge - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - link

    Another point working towards the shortage: failing chips due to excessive heat sink pressure, making people buy the next Skylake.

    I just had my 6700 fail after being mounted for 3 months. Used a Thermalright Ultra 120 at maximum pressure, as I did for the last 10 years with various other CPUs. Didn't know this would break the CPU. Even after the reports of broken CPUs after transport appeared, I didn't suspect anything because I didn't move the machine. Still, it broke one day simply due to static pressure. 2 edges are bent upwards by about 1 mm, with the PCB broken at both points. Got an i3 6100 now instead of another expensive quad core.
  • Klimax - Thursday, December 31, 2015 - link

    Somebody didn't pay attention...
  • britjh22 - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - link

    Basically, unless you ABSOLUTELY NEED some feature on the Z170 chipset, get the 4790k instead of i5-6600k, and the 5820k instead of the i7-6700k. While the X99 chipset motherboards do tend to be a bit more expensive, that's really the only difference. The article stating you have to use a quad channel kit is just wrong (running 2x8gb myself), and I was able to get 5820k/MSI X99 SLI Krait/16gb Corsair DDR4/Phantek Dual tower cooler for just over $615. The 6600k/6700k at it's current price is a complete flop.
  • drzzz - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - link


    Calling BS on your Amazon does not have any in stock. Searched just now on the US Amazon portal and Seller:Intel (Amazon direct) has 4 in stock (at time of search) for $484.99. You did not even get the price right that my search is returning.


    WTF kind of reporting is this. I mean really it is not hard to log into Amazon and run a search. I mean first party seller through amazon in stock for less than quoted in the article.

    Here is the link:
  • drzzz - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - link

    Anton and Ryan,
    If you are going to call out a vendor specifically for being out of stock on a part it is generally considered good practice to check their website yourself and not rely on third party tracking sites.

    Really have to say this piece appears as a response to comments in another pipeline article. Sadly, no more effort was taken in this article than the other as once again a simple search reveals that facts in the article are not true.
  • thestryker - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - link

    Except there aren't any in stock as of 11:15am pacific. I'm not sure what the point of your outrage is given that amazon stock changes rapidly. The screen picture in the article is from which is from my experience accurate and it does show that early this morning there was stock but isn't now.
  • drzzz - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - link

    Link I provided is still showing stock 11:53am PST. It has been showing stock all day and yesterday.

    Until today I have never heard of So I have no personal experience on how good or bad their tracking is. That said I tend to directly check vendors for stock because I have found over the years that third party tools are generally not that accurate but YMMV.

    I don't call it outrage but I do call it serious concern about the amount of effort going into AT articles short or long form. Two days in a row that a published article had information that was wrong in it and quickly verified by a less than one minute google/amazon searches. Both articles by the same author.

    As I said calling out a specific vendor calls for a higher level of checking than using a third party tool to say something is/is not in stock. Like maybe a screen capture of his amazon search showing them out of stock. Heck had that been there I would not have even gone and looked again. More on point is that in two days of looking at stock of the the i7-6700K on Amazon I have not seen it out of stock or at the prices Anton indicated. I have checked amazon about 10 times in two days before you ask how many times have I checked.

    I have been watching Amazon while writing this and the stock dropped to 1 then went back to 14. Apparently Amazon is listing small amounts of stock to justify their $484.99 price. Now that is interesting. Still Amazon continues to have stock at a lower price than the article indicates. Also I followed the link for the i7-6700K processor and it appears to be a dead product link on amazon. That is why searching on Amazon is important and why you should not blindly trust third party sites. Again just more reason why this article was clearly under researched.
  • Phanuel - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - link

    Except that he rightly points out that Amazon itself has none.

    "Instead the only 6700Ks available via Amazon are through their third-party marketplace sellers"

    The ones on Amazon are "Ships from and sold by MITXPC."

    Perhaps you should understand how Amazon actually works.
  • drzzz - Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - link

    I see that "sold by line" and concede I may have not noticed it not being on the product listing earlier but when I added it to my cart just now it said sold by hard2findparts in the checkout section and the price in cart was $475.00. Very fluid on right now but have not seen $499.99 as a starting price yet. I will back off on this one a bit for now.

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