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.

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