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?