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Confirmed: ASRock Says Intel's Coffee Lake CPUs Will Require New Motherboards

As is the standard these days, the firestorm begins with a single tweet. ASRock tweeted from its official account, in response to a user's query, that Intel's forthcoming Coffee Lake processors will not work with existing 200-series motherboards. We encountered similar claims in the run-up to the Kaby Lake launch, but they later turned out to be inaccurate.

We confirmed Coffee Lake's incompatibility with 200-series motherboards directly with ASRock representatives, though, so it appears that you'll have to buy a new motherboard to support Intel's latest. 

Intel's tick-tock cadence has come to a screeching halt, instead replaced with the new Process-Architecture-Optimize (PAO) scheme. That means we'll see multiple new designs based on each step on the lithography ladder. That continues with Intel's forthcoming Coffee Lake processors built on the 14nm++ process. This third revision of Intel's 14nm process technology also purportedly brings more cores to bear; we're looking at six-core mainstream models. That's a necessary upgrade to fend off AMD's Ryzen competition.

Intel displayed its eighth-generation Coffee Lake chips in a laptop earlier this year at Computex. The company also treated us to claims of 30% more performance over the seventh-generation Kaby Lake processors. Intel derived its performance metrics from pre-silicon benchmarks, which means the margin of error is substantial. The company also compared Coffee Lake to a previous-generation processor with fewer threads, so most of the improvement likely doesn't stem from significant IPC/architectural enhancements.

We've filtered through a slew of recent Coffee Lake "leaks," with some specifications being outright fabrications, others unlikely, and still others somewhat questionable. A few, though, have seemed plausible, such as the recent SiSoftware Official Live Ranker submissions. There's also been word recently that Coffee Lake features AMD's iGPU technology, but that's just a basic misunderstanding of what "amd64" means.

Filtering through the sludge at the bottom of the coffee pot is a challenge, but in either case, it appears that Intel's Coffee Lake processors will not work with Z170 and Z270 motherboards. What does that mean to you? Well, if you plan to step up to a six-core processor, you'll have to purchase a new motherboard, and possibly a new cooler, as well.

More cores and performance is nice, but we would like a reason to upgrade to a newer motherboard. As we've seen with X299, that isn't always the case. We expect new features to spur a new refresh cycle, such as PCIe 4.0, but radical changes have been few and far between. We haven't seen any indications that Coffee Lake processors support the tardy PCIe 4.0 specification or any other new whiz-bang tech. 

The tactic throws Intel's strategy into a harsh light, especially considering AMD's commitment to support Socket AM4 for all processors until 2020. That equates to easier and cheaper upgrades in the future, which might be top of mind for those in the upgrade market when Coffee Lake rolls out later this year.

  • nunjo_
    The old intel ever! I'm a tired user!
    Reply
  • artk2219
    Well thats got the potential to backfire on the consumer end. "I need more power but I have to update my motherboard in order to do it. I've heard AMD has some decent chips this time around, oh and they can save me some cash and the sockets have support until 2020? Hrmm."
    Reply
  • Vatharian
    They could be used on 200 series - that's Intel business edition. CFL has been validated on 200s before new chipset was available.

    I have Z170 personally. So... Threadripper it is.
    Reply
  • BadBoyGreek
    You'd figure the way AMD has been handing Intel their ass lately, they'd learn their lesson and stop forcing you into a platform upgrade with each CPU release. Meanwhile, AMD's playing it smart by ensuring the socket will be supported for a couple more years.

    Looks like if we're keeping recent score, it's AMD 2, Intel 0.
    Reply
  • JACK_296
    Too a bad for Intel they used to be king of the CPU. Their latest attempt to keep up with AMD with price and compatibility and value was misplaced...

    AMD all the way AMD King of the play
    Reply
  • artk2219
    20014623 said:
    You'd figure the way AMD has been handing Intel their ass lately, they'd learn their lesson and stop forcing you into a platform upgrade with each CPU release. Meanwhile, AMD's playing it smart by ensuring the socket will be supported for a couple more years.

    Looks like if we're keeping recent score, it's AMD 2, Intel 0.

    I agree, but its probably a decision that was made long ago, they didnt know AMD was going to be as competitive as they currently are so they didn't plan for it. Sucks for them but I guess that's just how the cookie crumbles this time around. On the plus if you do buy into the new platform you should get at least one more revision for it before it gets retired, unless it turns out like AM3, AM3+, FM1, or LGA 1156 and 1150. At least with AM3+ you could use your old Phenom II's and Athlon II's. Honestly now that i think about it, sockets have been kind of a shit show for a little while now.
    Reply
  • JACK_296
    Intel is not going to be king of the CPU anymore AMD has chips that are affordable and just as powerful and the support beats Intel hands down 2 to one

    AMD all the way
    AMD best in gameplay
    AMD ryzen
    Reply
  • dimar
    Looks like Ryzen 2 is my next upgrade.
    Reply
  • Bob_8_
    SURPRISE ! ! !
    Reply
  • Colin_10
    I'm still using an I7-3770 and it still basically crushes everything, more than 5 years later. I feel like I have been saying this for years now but, "Maybe I'll upgrade in 2 more years."
    Reply