As if the story of AMD vs. Intel can’t get any more David vs. Goliath, Intel’s latest Comet lake CPUs seem to be hindered purely by quality.

Hello, 2020. Almost didn’t see you there.

A new report from MSI…you know, the company that makes some really decent gaming laptops and desktops — shows that the latest Intel CPUs limit overclocking. A significant number of tested CPUs failed to overclock beyond past generations, or at all, depending on the tier of the chip. That means that while higher-end i9 CPUs have a better likelihood over overclocking…it’s not looking good.

This seems cartoonishly awkward, especially since AMD’s low-end Ryzen 3 3100 has already been overclocked to a whopping 5.92GHz. Originally shared by MSI in a livestream (and reported by Tom’s Hardware, then Tech Radar) the limits only get worse the further down we go. As MSI rates it, only 27% of tested i9 processors are grade A, meaning they are overclockable to a margin that matters. 35% are grade B, meaning they reach expectations, and another 27% are grade C. That means they performed worse than expected, specifically with overclocking.

The numbers only get worse as we go from i9 to i7 and below. According to MSI, the quality of the components, the actual physical silicon, isn’t as good as previous generations. Which is strange, but if true it does make sense economically. Intel may be trying to save money during a trying time (aka the Coronavirus pandemic) by using lower-cost manufacturing processes. There’s no proof, but with AMD biting at Intel’s heels, the timing couldn’t be worse for the CPU Goliath.

Would this stop us from getting a Comet Lake rig? Yes, very seriously. With how much time we spend in the lab testing liquid cooling and components, component quality is key. We have a few Comet Lake-based machines expected soon, so we’ll be able to test for ourselves. However, if MSI’s report is true, it could spell disaster for Intel.