ASUS ROG motherboard product manager Andrew Wu gave an interview to Bit-tech in which they asked him about the backward compatibility of Intel Coffee Lake CPUs with Z270 motherboards chipset. His replies were interesting and insightful. There was more to it than we first thought.
When Andrew was asked about why the Intel Coffee Lake CPUs were not backward compatible with Z270 motherboards, he replied that it actually depends on Intel’s decision. When further asked if it’s a physical limitation, like power delivery, he replied that power delivery makes a little bit of difference, not much.
Many of the Asus fans who bought Z270 motherboards earlier this year got pissed when they heard that Intel didn’t include backward support with the Intel Coffee Lake CPUs and there’s a new Chipset in town. Intel justified it as a different processor-power configuration.
The new Chipset allows better overclocking & more stability. Z370 is more of a matured refresh of the Z270 and possibly future proof. Andrew was asked about the 20 unused pins and how can the chipset be made compatible with Z270? He replied that an upgrade to the management engine and BIOS is required but Intel has the compatibility locked. Read more here.
The Z370 chipset is future proof, has stable and better overclocking, will potentially support even higher number of cores in the CPU. That’s something Z270 would not be able to achieve. Andrew also mentioned that the CPU profile samples they received in Taipei were mostly 5GHz plus overclocked. This clearly showed that Intel has mastered the 14nm process.
There’s a good possibility that many of the Kaby Lake users with Z270 motherboards will not be needing the upgrade to the Z370 motherboards or Coffee Lake CPUs. But if there’s someone who has a 3 to 5-year-old PC, they will most likely to see a significant gain in the performance while gaming, multitasking or doing office works.
That makes Z370 chipset motherboards legitimate. Its mature, future-proof and there are technical differences with power connectors to fully support the latest Coffee Lake processors.