In an interview with Bit-tech, Asus ROG motherboard Product Manager Andrew Wu has unveiled that previous generation motherboards based on the Intel Z270 chipset are compatible with the Intel Coffee Lake processors, although with a small change “(…) depending on Intel’s decision.”

In this way we can confirm what was already known, Intel forced the use of new Intel Coffee Lake CPUs in the new generation of motherboards equipped with the Intel Z370 chipset.

We remind you that the Z370 motherboards have more active pins, but those extra pins focused on providing more power, which Andrew said “doesn’t make much difference”, and that Asus could make its Intel Z270 motherboards compatible with Coffee Lake CPUs, but Intel prevents it, because they need “(…) an upgrade from the ME [Management Engine] and a BIOS update”, which “Intel somehow has locked the compatibility.” 

It seems that all that extra “pin count” does not really matter in the big outline of the current Coffee Lake lineup with up to six core processors: the socket and the CPU platform designed with Z270 could have handled more core counts and power loads. Intel could have allowed Coffee Lake compatibility on Z270 motherboards with CPUs up to 6 cores, but new revisions would be needed on the Z370 platform to allow 8-core CPUs to operate.

Screenshot of interview, courtesy of Bit-tech

Obviously, if Intel had not blocked the use of Coffee Lake on Intel Z270 motherboards, the vast majority of users would not have opted to purchase an Intel Z370 motherboard, because it has a compatible motherboard and there will only be investment on the CPU, or because the Intel Z270 boards are more economical and offer exactly the same features or specifications as their more expensive names.

Via: techpowerup, Bit-tech