Intel Coffelake-S 8th Gen Desktop and Z370 Controversy

Published: 23rd Sep 2017, 16:20 GMT   Comments

Intel Coffeelake-S is just around the corner, we have lots of news for you directly from Intel, thanks to our Chinese friends. 

Intel 8th Gen: first six-core i5 and first quadcore for i3

I’m not sharing any slides today, but believe me when I say I have them all. This post is not about performance, but about the 8th Gen architecture in general, or more precisely the controversy around it.

For the first time, Intel will have six-core i5 processors. We are talking about Core i5-8600K and i5-8400. The latter is probably Intel’s best CPU in 8th series. This is CPU will cost less than 200 USD (the price should be equal to i5-7400).That’s a great price for the 6-core processor, but there is just one tiny problem: lack of cheaper motherboards.

The Z370 controversy

There are no B360/H270 motherboards coming this year. Basically, the only option you have is Z370, but that’s not the biggest issue here. The biggest controversy comes from a lack of support for Coffeelake-S on Z170/270 motherboards. Intel explained that it was necessary to make Z370 mandatory for Coffeelake-S because the power delivery on Z370 had to be upgraded for 6 cores. Unfortunately, Intel did not explain why quad-core Kabylake-S would not work on Z370, or why high-end motherboards with powerful VRMs are not suitable for Coffeelake-S.

In fact, we have a direct quote from Intel for you:

Getting the max out of 6 core processor required changes to our motherboards, specifically to provide improved power delivery to new 6-core processors.

Intel representative later continued:

We also took the opportunity to improve our overclocking capabilities by improving the package power delivery to the CPU. This is an another change that required motherboard changes.

He then added:

We increased memory bandwidth on processor up to 2666 MHz that required another improvement on the motherboard layout.

In Intel’s own words:

New CPUs need to be paired with 300-series motherboards.

I don’t know how about you, but I’m still not convinced and neither were reviewers who asked about it.

The integrated GPU is only faster because it is overclocked

There’s not much to say here, but it was confirmed by Intel. The iGPU in Coffeelake-S and Kabylake-S are architecturally identical. Performance gain on CFL-S comes only from increased clock speed.

Intel will not share a table of clock speed ratios

Intel decided that starting from Coffeelake-S launch, they will not be releasing detailed information on turbo clock speeds per each core. As you know different frequency will be applied once more cores are in use. Basically, the more cores are in use, the lower the frequency.

Such an obvious thing to know, especially when you are a reviewer, but here’s what Intel said when they were asked for a table of clock speeds for Coffelake-S:

We won’t be sharing these details going forward at this point anymore.

If you think that’s strange, then let me add that Intel even refused to share die sizes of Coffeelake-S.

Tomorrow I will share final specs and overclocking features of Coffeelake-S.

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