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Some Coffee Lake CPUs Booted on Older Unsupported Chipsets

Category: Modding
Posted: 09:38AM

Last year Intel launched its 8000-series CPUs using the Coffee Lake architecture and along with it the new Z370 chipset to support it. Some had noticed this chipset's socket and that of the older Z170 and Z270 chipsets were all LGA 1151 sockets, so physically the newest CPUs could be dropped into the older motherboards. Unfortunately for anyone wanting a drop-in upgrade, this would not be the case as Intel has limited Coffee Lake to Z370, but in an October interview with Bit-Tech, an Asus employee stated the limitation is a decision of Intel's and not necessarily on a hardware level. It would require changes to the Management Engine and BIOS, and while the power delivery for the new CPUs is different, the Asus representative said it was not much different.

I suspect that even without the Asus employee statements there would still have been modders trying, and they have indeed succeeded in getting some, but not all Coffee Lake CPUs to boot on the older Z170 chipset. The modders have even put together guides on Overclock.net, but they are limited to working on ASRock motherboards. The process involves tweaking the CPU's microcode, the integrated GPU's UEFI GOP driver, and Management Engine bootstraps so it is hardly something most people would be interested in doing, but it does still demonstrate a proof-of-concept, if nothing else.

In their testing, the modders were able to boot a Core i3-8300 chip on the older motherboards, but not a Core i7-8700 CPU. The reason they give is a power issue, as the i7 has a higher core count. It will be interesting to see what additional work is done, and if we will see modders succeed with other motherboards and with the more powerful CPUs.

Source: PCGamer and Overclock.net

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