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Cheaper Intel 300-series Chipset Motherboards Around the Corner

Right now, it makes little sense to pick up Intel's Core i3 quad-core and cheaper Core i5 six-core chips, only to pair them with the company's premium Z370 Express chipset-based motherboards, which start around $139. The company had promised a second wave of Core i3 and Core i5 "Coffee Lake" processors, and newer Pentium Gold and Celeron parts based on the silicon; alongside three cheaper motherboard chipsets - H370 Express, B360 Express, and H310 Express; for launch some time in Q1-2018. We're getting word that March could be a busy month for PC hardware retailers.

The H370 has an almost identical feature-set to the Z370, except its lack of support for CPU overclocking and multi-GPU (PCIe segmentation). The B360 is slightly cheaper, and has fewer connectivity options. The H310 is entry-level, and has the least connectivity options. H370-based motherboards could be priced between $100 to $170; B360-based ones $80 to $130, and H310-based ones $50 to $70. Online retailers have already begun listing some of these motherboards. A list was compiled by Redditor dayman56. It includes links to over a dozen such listings of ASRock and GIGABYTE motherboards that, if not anything else, confirm model names.

Intel Core i5-8500 Surfaces on SANDRA Database

It's no revelation that Intel is expanding its 8th generation Core "Coffee Lake" desktop processor lineup through Q1-2018, alongside cost-effective B360 Express and H310 Express motherboard chipsets. One of these is the Core i5-8500 six-core processor, positioned a notch above the current Core i5-8400. The chip surfaced on a SiSoft SANDRA database entry. Although the i5-8400 launched at $189, retailers are pushing it for 10-15 percent margins above MSRP. The i5-8500 could launch bang-on the $200-mark, although one must expect a similarly jacked up $220-ish retail price.

The Core i5-8500 comes with a psychologically-pleasing 3.00 GHz nominal clock speed (while the i5-8400 has a sub-3 GHz clock of 2.80 GHz). The database entry doesn't reveal Turbo Boost clocks, but given that the i5-8400 comes with a 4.00 GHz Boost frequency, one can expect that of the i5-8500 to be 4.20-4.30 GHz. The 6-core/6-thread chip comes with 9 MB of shared L3 cache, and a TDP rating of 65W. It scored 139.63 GOPS in the Arithmetic test, 317.88 Mpix/s in the multi-media test, 7.49 GB/s in the cryptography test, which puts its performance in the league of AMD's Ryzen 5 1600.

Intel Readies Higher Z390 Chipset for 2018 Launch

It turns out that Z370 Express won't be the highest-end desktop motherboard chipset for Intel's 8th generation Core "Coffee Lake" mainstream-desktop processors, with the company planning a higher Z390 Express chipset for the second half of 2018, according to a leaked company roadmap on 300-series chipset roll-out. Intel is launching its first Core "Coffee Lake" processors this October, along with the Z370 Express chipset. The mid-range B360 Express, H370 Express; and entry-level H310 Express chipsets could launch in Q1-2018, which is also the time when Intel launches the Q370 and Q360 chipsets for corporate desktops.

Intel to Accelerate Basin Falls Unveil, Coffee Lake Launch

According to DigiTimes, sources among Taiwan-based PC vendors have indicated that Intel's upcoming Basin Falls platform, which includes Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors on a new X299 chipset, will be unveiled at Computex 2017 (May 30th, June 3rd), in Taipei - two months earlier than expected. This move comes accompanied by an accelerated launch of the Coffee Lake microarchitecture, which still uses the 14 nm process, to August 2017 from an initial January 2018 launch. If true, this is big in a number of ways - that Intel would bring forward a product launch 4 months has some interesting implications - or at least, confirmations.

Remember that Coffee Lake is supposed to carry an increased number of cores in its mainstream designs. And we all know how Intel's line-up has almost been torn apart by Ryzen's aggressive core and thread-count, with AMD offering more cores and threads than Intel at virtually all price-points. And even if an argument is made regarding Intel's better gaming performance, that's one scenario out of many. Future proofing, professional work, multimedia, all of these assert AMD's dominance in a pure price-performance ratio. I, for one, would gladly give up some FPS in some games and accept an increased number of cores than go the other way around (especially with AMD's platform support and the number of patches that have increased game performance on Ryzen CPUs.)
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