We are seeing mixed signals concerning Intel’s upcoming Coffee Lake processors, which will be built on the 14nm++ process. We thought it likely that the third range of CPUs built on 14nm, as part of Intel’s new Process-Architecture-Optimisation (PAO) scheme, would be compatible with existing LGA1151 socket 100 and 200 series motherboards with BIOS support updates. However, a reply by ASRock to a user query concerning Coffee Lake CPU compatibility with its Z270 Supercarrier motherboard makes it pretty clear this will not be the case.
While AMD Threadripper and Intel Core i9 processors will become widely available in the coming month these are high end CPUs and not for everyone. Thus many mainstream users are eagerly awaiting Intel’s first mainstream processors to come packing 6C/12T.
Intel Coffee Lake processors are due by the ‘holiday season’ this year. At Computex a couple of months ago Intel demoed a Coffee Lake powered laptop and announced that these 8th generation Core processors would provide a 30 per cent step up in performance compared to Kaby Lake. A couple of weeks ago we saw an Acer laptop advertised with a 15W quad-core i5-8250U CPU.
There could be a number of reasons for a new socket for Coffee Lake, the new CPUs might physically require different pin connections for new power management, graphics or IP features, or it could simply be a commercial decision to segment the market for better profits.