Intel “Coffee Lake” Platform – 24 PCIe Lanes from the Chipset

Intel has gone a bit bonkers in the last few months. First, “Skylake” which had a short longevity on the z170 socket 1151 platform. Arguably the favorite chip on z170 was the 6700k capable of thumping out 4.5GHz without much problem. Then low and behold z270 shiny and new with “Kaby Lake” and the fast and fun 7700K still on the 1151 socket and capable of hitting 5 – 5.2GHz without skipping a beat. So Intel slips in the X299 HEDT (High End Desktop Platform) with the 7900X mega expensive CPU with a host of sub SKU’s many users ending up on 7800X a hex core 12 thread monster.

So where does Intel go from here, you guessed it the z370 platform STILL THE 1151 SOCKET with processors code named “Coffee Lake”. The first “Coffee Lake” processors and boards will be released later this year and address the PCIe lane blackmail Intel has been passing off as the price of speed; the z370 chipset will provide 24 PCIe lanes independent of the CPU. With the new chipset and processor slated to be released as soon as October 5th, 2017 making this the third processor on the rehashed 1151 Socket.

The Coffee Lake SKU’s may well be 40% more powerful than previous generations of Skylake and Kaby Lake. Leaked Sisoft Sandra benchmarks have been spotted. 

Here’s a leaked I7 8700 Sisoft Sandra bench. The I7 8700K ($400) is slated to replace the 7700K ($339) and if performance is indeed 40% higher might be worth the seeming price gouge Intel is pushing at us. Three 1151 socket SKU’s in such a short period does smack of a price gouge. 

Here we see a lower SKU Core I5-8400 at 3.8GHz and notice the z370 chipset it’s being run on. The I5 8400 is slated to replace the I5 7600 and is a 4 core 4 thread variant. We have an I5 7600k in the lab and it cracks and thumps at 5.2GHz staying around 65C full load on an EKWB triple Radiator. A couple of SKUs to look out for, are the top-end Core i7-8700K six-core processor with HyperThreading enabling 12 threads, 12 MB of L3 cache; and the Core i5-8600K, which is also a six-core part but lacks HyperThreading, and comes with 9 MB of L3 cache.

Well, we can hope z370 will be backward compatible with z270 but z370 is going to pack a mighty wallop WITH 24 PCIe Lanes provided by the chipset.   Take a 16 lane PCIe CPU and toss it on z370 and you get an eye popping 40 PCIe lanes! With PCIe the current price of speed 40 PCIe lanes means 16x16x SLI or Xfire leaving 8 lanes for M.2, NVME and PCIe devices opening the strangled PCIe floodgate Intel has been using to hold premium prices over its customer’s heads.

Here’s the leaked SKU’s we have at this time, the I7 8700K 6 core 12 thread monster unlocked processor with its brother the I7 8700 which arguably shouldn’t exist as it’s an I7 8700 locked multiplier. The 8700K runs at 3.7GHz base with the notation it can run 1 core at 4.7GHz. The I7 8700 base clock is 3.2GHz but turbos 1 core to 4.6GHz which makes no sense at all. Unless the 8700K overclocks like a demon it doesn’t have much advantage over the 8700 non-K part. The 7700K easily hits 5GHz so we are betting the 8700K will have a similar OC and if it’s 25 – 40% more productive should be quite the beast.

We mentioned 24 PCIe lanes from the z370 chipset and we came across some schematics.

So Coffee Lake-s will have up to Hex core processors, USB 3.1 Gen 2 10Gbps and support Intel Optane, Notice it’s still a 1151 socket and the chipset provides 24 PCIe lanes. It will also support an amazing 10 USB 3.1 ports with up to 6 gen 2 USB 3.1.

We expect 6 SKUs at launch with integrated Gen 9 Intel Graphics GT22, memory DDR4 2666MHz but we know speeds will run higher but 2666MHz officially supported.

Projecting forward from SkyLake-x we see Kaby Lake-s, Coffee Lake-s w/Kaby Lake PCH, Coffee Lake-s w/Cannon Lake PCH, Apollo Lake quad and dual core as well as Gemini Lake quad and dual core so things at the “Lake” are going to get very interesting!

The last but far from least we see Q3 X299 which is already out but low and behold Q3 2017 our little eye spies Z370 and moving into Q1 2018 Coffee Lake-S platform chipset. 

Get your swim trunks on troops Intel will have us all lake hopping and from here the water looks good!

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