Intel regularly tweaks its price list with nary a word to the masses, but the Tech Report caught chipzilla red-handed this time. The site reports that Intel has lowered prices on four desktop and two mobile processors. Looking at the latest price sheet (PDF), Intel cut 15% off its 3.2GHz i3-550, putting it at $117. That's identical to the 3.06GHz i3-540 and only $4 more than the 2.93GHz i3-530 – the company's cheapest i3 desktop offering.
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Meanwhile, the Pentium E6700, E5700 and Celeron E3400 desktop chips are 13%, 15% and 21% cheaper, and the i7-640LM/i7-660UM mobile CPUs cost 6% and 9% less. It's unclear what prompted the drop, but it isn't reflected in consumer retail pricing yet, with the i3-550 still running $149.99 on Newegg. However, as Tech Report notes, if that changes, the i3-550 could nab sales away from the Athlon II x4 640 and other budget AMD chips.