Intel released its Coffee Lake line of processors earlier this year, causing quite the stir among customers by requiring an entirely new chipset. Now, a modder has successfully booted an i3- 8350K on an old Z170 motherboard.
Although Intel often move chipsets for new CPUs, its common for the company to offer some form of backwards compatibility. Coffee Lake's predecessor, Kaby Lake required a Z270 chipset motherboard to make the most of its functionality, but still managed to work on the previous Z170 motherboards.
The decision to confine the Coffee Lake-S LGA1151 socket to a new chipset was made due to changes in the power delivery that, according to Intel, rendered backwards compatibility impossible. This was confirmed by Asus' Andrew Wu, stating that Intel directly dictated the decision to disable CFL-S support for Z170 and Z270 motherboards, but the new line of processors could easily be supported by older models.
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This was confirmed after MSI's Z170A Xpower Titanium was modded to support i3- 8350K via BIOS and microcode changes. With the power output, it's also speculated that the same set up could perhaps run the flagship Core i7-8700K.
The mod is far from perfect, as integrated GPU functionality is missing and the primary PCI-Express suffers from, well, not working at all, but proof of concept that Coffee Lake does work on Z170 chipsets is just the start. If these can be fixed by changing drivers, testing this modification on another motherboard or general tinkering, then Intel will certainly have some more questions to answer.
KitGuru Says: What many will forget is that it would probably have served Intel better without moving to a new chipset, as many more would be inclined to upgrade instead of shedding out for entirely new hardware. The more likely reason for this decision is ease of customer service, as this modification is not easy, cheap or without its costs. Would you risk your Z170 setup for a new Coffee Lake processor?