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Modders Get "Coffee Lake" Chips to Work Stable on Intel 100/200-series Chipsets

One of the greatest complaints enthusiasts had with Intel's 8th generation Core "Coffee Lake" processors and their companion 300-series chipsets is their lack of compatibility with older 200-series and 100-series chipset motherboards, despite sharing an identical LGA1151 socket. Tinfoil hatters attributed this to Intel's synthetic platform-gating to ensure people buy new motherboards every two CPU generations; while Intel itself maintained that "Coffee Lake" chips have special electrical requirements that come with the increased core-counts, without explaining how that shouldn't exempt quad-core SKUs such as the Core i3-8100 and the i3-8350K from functioning on older platforms.

It turns out that "Coffee Lake" is pin-compatible with older LGA1151 motherboards based on 200-series and 100-series chipsets after all, as modders got some of these chips to work on the older platforms. Intel is using software to prevent Coffee Lake from working on older motherboards. This software comes in the form of the CPU's microcode, the iGPU's UEFI GOP driver, and certain Management Engine bootstraps on the side of the motherboard BIOS that lets it recognize the new chips. With the safe transplanting of these pieces of software, modders rootuser123, LittleHill, dsanke, elisw, Mov AX, and 0xDEAD; succeeding in not only getting the chips to work on older platforms, but also found ways to iron out several stability and compatibility issues. They've published a guide at this page.

8th Gen Core i3 Part of Intel's First "Coffee Lake" Wave

It was initially believed that Intel will launch its 8th generation Core "Coffee Lake" desktop processor lineup with only 6-core SKUs in the Core i5 and Core i7 extensions, priced well above $200; with Core i3 SKUs joining in Q1-2018. A popular retailer confirmed to us that the first wave will include two Core i3 SKUs, namely the Core i3-8100 and Core i3-8350K. Both these chips are quad-core, and lack both HyperThreading and Turbo Boost, but feature rather high clock speeds.

The Core i3-8350K is a particularly interesting SKU. This 4-core/4-thread chip features an unlocked base-clock multiplier, and 8 MB of L3 cache, as opposed to 6 MB on the i3-8100. Just as Intel previously differentiated its Core i3-x1xx SKUs from i3-x3xx SKUs by giving the latter 33.33% more L3 cache, the trend is continuing with the 8th generation, except that both the core-count and L3 cache amount has doubled over the 7th generation. The prices could be noticeably higher, too. The six SKUs Intel will launch for the retail channel on the 5th of October, are tabled below.

More Details Surface on Coffee Lake Lineup: i3-8350K, i3-8100 Specs Leaked Again

It appears that Intel's response to AMD's Ryzen desktop processors will be quite a departure from the norm for the blue company. That Ryzen CPUs with their price points are a disruptive piece of silicon is a well-known fact by now. However much we knew that, though, it appears that Intel really is giving a bold (some might say necessary) response to Ryzen's threat to their immutable (for so many years) CPU lineup.

There has already been a leak for the i3-8350K and i3-8100 CPUs for Coffee Lake; this second one comes more as a confirmation of what image was already forming in our minds. And it seems that Intel really is relegating their four-core, four-thread processors to the i3 tier, thus dropping its entire lineup by a rung. Some questions remain regarding Intel's i5 lineup: likely, entry-level processors of this tier ship with four cores and HyperThreading enabled. It's expected that some i5 models will carry six physical cores (absent of HyperThreading), though. This means Intel's clean segmentation, which started with Nehalem almost a decade ago (on the 45 nm process; do you remember that?) has been brought to an end. It also means my puny i5 will now be relegated to i3 territory, but that's... Life.
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