Why Coffee Lake cannot work on Z270

Z370, the socket is the same but the pins are different

Why Coffee Lake cannot not work on Z270

Why Coffee Lake cannot work on Z270

Many have assumed that Coffee Lake can be supported on older Intel mainboards because of their use of a common socket, but that cannot be further from the truth. Yes, both Z270 and Z370 use LGA 1151 CPU sockets but the similarities end whenever you look at exactly what each pin is used for. 
In Intel's documentation for Coffee Lake-S the company details exactly what each pin is used for, revealing that the purpose of a large number of LGA 1151's pins has been reassigned and that Coffee Lake has a lot fewer RSVD (reserved) pins. Most of these pins have been used to deliver more power to Intel's new CPU. 
When comparing Kaby Lake (Z270) to Coffee Lake (Z370), we can see a reduction in Reserved (RSVD) pins, an increase in VCC (core power supply) from 128 pins to 146 pins and an increase in ground pins from 377 to 391. These changes in LGA 1151's pin-out that prevents inter-compatibility between Intel's 7th and 8th generation platforms, despite their use of the same socket. 

Below is an image that has been created by a 3DCenter forum use called chrish, who has taken the pin data from Intel's documents and has created a map that details the changes in Intel's LGA 1151 sockets when moving from Kaby Lake to Coffee Lake. Sadly these images were created at different times and are not scaled in the same way, though it is pretty easy to see a lot of the differences. 


Why Coffee Lake cannot work on Z270

(Images from "chrish" on the 3D-Center Forums)(Coffee Lake(Left), Kaby Lake (Right))


This should lay to bed any rumours that Intel can enable backwards or forwards compatibility with a simple BIOS update, so sadly there will be no magic button that will allow your existing Z170 or Z270 motherboard to support Coffee Lake. 

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Most Recent Comments

02-10-2017, 15:35:05

they are reserved pins aren't they, meaning they do nothing on z270 boards, that might mean that the cpu would have less max power delivery, but it wouldn't make it not work, and at least kaby lake cpus should work on the new z370 boards with just some bios compatibilityQuote

02-10-2017, 15:38:40

Originally Posted by cj09bruno View Post
they are reserved pins aren't they, meaning they do nothing on z270 boards, that might mean that the cpu would have less max power delivery, but it wouldn't make it not work, and at least kaby lake cpus should work on the new z370 boards with just some bios compatibility
I presume that you are not an engineer? Because it's not that black and white Quote

02-10-2017, 15:46:01

well i am an engineer if that helps.

but a mechanical engineer.

i firmly believe that 20% is technical reasons and 80% is financial reason behind the decision to create an uncompatible CPU from kaby lake (aka coffee lake).

i also firmly believe that with a bit effort 8 core cpus could run on Z270 chipsets.

intel is one of the dirtiest tech companies you can run into. they proved that over and over.
of course they will make some changes so it looks like it was necessary. i would do the same.

but nobody can tell us if they could not have made the changes to the CPU instead of the socket.
coffee lake is not draining more watt then kaby lake.

and coffee lake was not build in one year.
what about building chipsets and sockets that are a bit more futureproof?

planned obsolescence, that´s what this is called.

intel does not even try to be futureproof!
because doing it the way they do.. it even EARNS them MORE money.

According to Intel, LGA1151 socket on Z370 motherboards had to be modified for better power delivery for 8th Gen Core CPUs. The backward and forward compatibility questions could’ve all been avoided if Intel added at least one more physical pin or simply name the new socket as LGA1151v2. That did not happen. The electrical pin layout confirms that Coffelake has some RSVD (reserved) LGA1151 pins now occupied by VSS and VCC pins.

02-10-2017, 16:39:45

Every company is dirty, the world is dirty, most individuals are dirty. The way of the world. Like I said in the other thread, the end result would've been the same (new boards), it's the way it is, one can either accept or reject that.Quote

03-10-2017, 02:09:29

But I still don't think it is Intel that is the main bad guy. The MB manufacturers win more on this.

And the hole TIM thing is a win for the cooler manufacturers. Yes I am wearing my tinfoil hat Quote

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