INTEL'S CHIPS HAVE NEVER BEEN AS CHEAP as, er, chips, but now it's reportedly developed a slice of silicon that's literally priceless.
While Intel's most expensive consumer processor, the Core i9-9980XE, costs in the region of £2,000, Anandtech reports that Intel has a version of the chip dubbed the Core i9-9990XE that'll come with no price tag attached.
Rather than flog the silicon through the normal channels, the new Core i9-9990XE will be sold to system builders through online auction, meaning the price of the chip could go from a couple of thousand pounds to a hell of a lot more.
Auctions for the chip will reportedly be held on a quarterly basis and only three system builders will be bidding on the processor in the first instance.
So what makes this processor so special? Well, outside of the lack of a price and the chip's predicted rarity, we're not entirely sure. The CPU will apparently use the same X299 chipset as the current i9-9980XE and well as the same LGA2066 socket.
And, oddly, the core and thread count will be reduced from 18 cores and 36 threads to 14 cores and 28 threads. But the processor will run at a base clock speed of 4GHz and at full whack out-of-the-box - assuming it comes with a box - and will hit 5GHz across all its cores.
We suspect such a chip will be targeted at the few people who love PCs, and like PC gaming so much that they'll splurge a huge amount of cash for a custom-built PC with the very best components the likes of Intel have to offer.
Or successful system builders who've managed to nab a chip could use it to build top eSports competitors the highest-end gaming machine they can manage as part of some branding or marketing exercise.
Of course, this is all speculation, and with third-generation Ryzen chips from AMD on the horizon, Intel's semi-mystery processor might seem a bit old hat by the time it makes its debut. µ
We should be shocked, but...
But the search giant has now squashed the bug
But it's not yet available here in Blighty