The first rumors about 8-core Coffee Lake processors seemed to suggest that Intel might limit the support of these new CPUs to Z370-Z390 motherboards. The idea seemed plausible for a few weeks, but today we can say it was completely tossed aside according to ASRock.
The renowned motherboard manufacturer has confirmed through an image that even the most affordable motherboards with the H310 chipset will support 8-core Coffee Lake processors seamlessly. However, it is important to bear in mind it will be impossible to use CPUs with an unlocked multiplier due to the chipset’s limitations, as those processors will still require a motherboard with a Z370 or Z390 chipset.
This is good news for users who built a Coffee Lake-based low-end PC and for users who are contemplating building a PC with Intel in mind but have a tight budget. The support for H310 motherboards certainly confirms the same support for motherboards with better chipsets including the B360 and H370.
The competition forces Intel to be rational
It is not a secret that Intel has completely ruled the CPU market for the past few years, doing as it pleases. The lack of input from AMD allowed Intel to overwhelmingly fill the market with 4-core processors. In fact, the total amount of cores remained the same from 2007 to 2017.
This means Intel kept 4-core processors as top-of-the-range processors on the market for 10 years. The company only decided to increase the amount of cores when Ryzen came up with 6-core/12-thread and 8-core/16-thread processors for little over €200 and €300 (launch prices), respectively.
AMD’s comeback and Ryzen’s stellar arrival took Intel by surprise, making a huge impact on the market. The price war between both companies has benefitted consumers because they can now buy 6-core processors for less than €156 and 8-core processors for just €206.
In a short amount of time, we have experienced a huge change seen in the price of current processors, in the support on a platform level and in the quality of Intel’s newest processors. Intel’s decision to provide support for its 8-core Coffee Lake processors on its most affordable chipsets is a way to attract users, therefore giving them the chance to build a more affordable configuration or make the most out of an existing one. By doing this, the brand prevents users from switching to AMD processors.
But this is not all. According to the latest reports, the new 8-core Coffee Lake processors will come with a soldered IHS. AMD’s Ryzen processors (except the APUs) come with a soldered IHS, which is important to know because it affects operating temperatures (by notably reducing them) and increases the processor’s lifespan. Curiously, Intel stop soldering for its Core 3000 lineup (Ivy Bridge), but it has decided to once again solder its CPUs for a better finish quality. It is clearly not a coincidence.
Is it worth getting a H310 motherboard for an 8-core CPU?
This is a good question, and the answer is yes. If Intel launches a model with a locked multiplier, then building a PC with a H310 motherboard and a 8-core Coffee Lake processor would be as good as building a PC with the same motherboard and a 6-core Core i5 8400.
It is important to bear in mind that not every user needs a motherboard with advanced features or with SLI and CrossFire support. This makes the most affordable models really valuable for realistic users with tight budgets.
In terms of build quality, most current low-end motherboards are great and have nothing to do with those found on the market a few years ago, so we should expect no problems at all in this sense.