Coffee Lake Coming With 1151 Socket, But Still Requires 300-Series Chipset

Coffee Lake's dam burst, and the trickle of information we've seen over the last month has turned into a flood. The latest information comes from ASRock, which published Intel's imminent Coffee Lake CPUs on a Socket 1151 compatibility list. We grabbed a screenshot, but ASRock later removed the Coffee Lake CPUs from the list.

We already knew that Coffee Lake requires new 300-series motherboards, as first indicated by ASRock and then later accidentally confirmed by Intel, but sticking with Socket 1151 will make it harder for enthusiasts to stomach the lack of backward compatibility with 200-series motherboards.

This isn't an entirely new tactic from Intel, but we need a good reason to upgrade from the eight-month old Kaby Lake-era Z270 motherboards, and in contrast to Intel's other transitions, this time around you will gain extra cores in the process.

That comes with a caveat though, as we would like to see some additional platform capabilities from a new chipset, but all signs point to the 300-series chipset merely being a "Z270 refresh," meaning it will not bring any increased connectivity options. It remains to be seen if the 300-series will support Kaby Lake processors--they do share the same socket after all. But outside of new LED functionality or other third-party additions, that might be a dubious upgrade path if there aren't connectivity improvements.

ASRock's specifications generally line up with information we've posted in the past, although we do see the Core i3-8350K listed as a 91W part instead of the typical ~60W we see with the i3 series. This is either a typo or due to the extra two cores. 

ASRock also listed the Core i3-8350K with 8MB of cache and the i5 series with 9MB. Previous information has indicated 6MB and 8MB of cache, respectively. The listed specifications actually make more sense, though, as the i5 series usually carries a 1.5MB allotment of cache per core, so that would line up with Intel's current approach. The i3-8350K's 8MB also lines up with the i3-7350K's 2MB-per-core alignment.

More information is emerging weekly as Coffee Lake moves closer to market, which follows the normal trajectory of leaks as motherboard vendors finalize their products. Many of the leaks are dubious, as usual, but when vendors slip, we can assume the information is more reliable. We are certainly on the cusp of the Coffee Lake era, and although Intel is adding more cores, AMD is the fly in the ointment. AMD plans to support its Socket AM4 for all of its processors until 2020, so Intel’s lack of backward compatibility with existing 200-series chipsets will likely dominate the conversation.

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  • jtd871
    I'd be stunned if the new 300-series mobos supported Kaby or Skylake. Not that it wouldn't be possible, but there would be no practical point. With Coffee Lake available (and priced to compete against Ryzen), who would buy Kaby or Skylake CPUs to put in the new motherboards?!
  • InvalidError
    Anonymous said:
    With Coffee Lake available (and priced to compete against Ryzen), who would buy Kaby or Skylake CPUs to put in the new motherboards?!

    Back when there used to be significant market pressure on Intel some 10+ years ago, new generations of CPUs spelled significant price cuts (20-50%) on most of the older stuff to clear motherboard, chipset and CPU inventory. Drop the prices of Kaby Lake i3/5/7 by something like 30% and they become compelling value propositions against Coffee Lake.
  • epobirs
    Beats me but I've never been big on changing out bits of an existing build. I might use previously untapped resources, like empty RAM slots but I've never had the urge to change out for a different CPU or other major changes if it isn't broken. I'd rather plan a new build if there is interesting new stuff to work with. OTOH, I generally don't go in for really expensive builds either, so I don't have great sunk costs to recover.