Intel Confirms Z390 Mainstream And X399 Enthusiast Platform For Coffee Lake (CFL) and Cannon Lake (CNL) CPUs

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Apr 26

Intel documentation was recently spotted supporting the Z390 and X399 chipsets and I’ll begin by saying that this nomenclature is unfortunate and destined to cause a lot of confusion. I am talking of course about the fact that AMD has an X399 platform as well and I am sure we will soon start to hear stories about how users mixed up the motherboard and got the wrong one accidentally. The good news is, that the X399 is actually the enthusiast side of things, so the chances of someone screwing up in that particular market segment is admittedly lower than say, the mainstream segment.

Intel Z390 and X399 chipsets spotted in documentation

The Z390 mainstream chipset and the X399 enthusiast chipset were spotted in the release notes for the Intel Rapid Storage Technology documentation and list not only the platform names but the SKU and PCH detaiils as well. The Canon Lake  / Coffe Lake mainstream segment will be powered by the Cannon Point-H PCH (CNP-H) and will have the H310, H370, Z390, Q270, Q360 and B360 as supported PCH SKUs. The HEDT side of things will only have the X399 PCH SKU. Given below is a snapshot of the addendum in question:

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More on Z390 and CNL PCH

The Z390 chipset h is going to host the new mainstream SKUs. This is something we have already seen a lot of before. We have already seen a sample before surface in benchmarks and considering the nomenclature of the motherboard states is non-AIB, “Intel Corporation CoffeeLake S82 UDIMM RVP”, this is an engineering sample and most likely was accidentally leaked straight from Intel labs.

It also means that the final revisions must be ready soon and AIB seeding has already begun.
Intel’s new 8-core processor will be based on the 14nm architecture and should allow the company to offer a tit-for-tat variant against AMD’s Ryzen series. There’s not much information you can get from this screenshot since the clock speeds are clearly not finalized and will almost certainly change. Part of the Coffee-Lake refresh platform, the SKU should be landing sometime in summer.

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Image courtesy of Videocardz.com

Unfortunately, the score of the processor isn’t shown – not that it would have been even slightly meaningful considering the state of the clocks. Now, you may be confused between the hot mess of codenames that is Intel’s product roadmap, so I think I will take this time to clarify a bit. Intel’s Kaby Lake is followed up by Intel’s Coffee Lake on the 14nm Process. Coffee Lake is basically Kaby Lake’s ‘optimized’ architecture but in variants that support more than 4 cores (remember KBL was limited to 4 cores only).  The high end side of things should be succeeded by Cascade Lake CPUs sometime at the end of the year.

The CNL-PCH block diagram which details the Coffee Lake-S and Coffee Lake-H series processors. Intel will keep support on the CNL-PCH intact. The new chipset does mean that Intel has the opportunity to change the socket and considering the unusual die structure and later support for 10nm processors, we can expect that to happen. LGA 1151 will have served two processor generations by then, Skylake and Kaby Lake.

The Cannonlake PCH (300-Series) has two Alpine Ridge Controllers for up to 4 x USB Type-C ports. We don’t know the exact amount of PCIe lanes offered by the PCH but there are plenty. The PCIe 3.0 lanes offer two M.2 slots for Optane / SSD support. A PCIe 3.0 x4 and 3.0 x1 slot is also powered by the PCH, there’s also an SD Card slot reader. I/O also includes Ethernet port (GbE PHY), Fingerprint Sensor, NFC, Codec, Touch Screen, 6 Type A/C USB 3.1 Ports, UF Camera, ODD, HDD (2x SATA 3) and Douglas Peak controller that offers WiGig + Wi-Fi + BT support.

Intel Kaby Lake Refresh and Cannon Lake PCH Features:

Chipset NameCoffee Lake S (KBL-R) PCH / Z370 PlatformCoffee Lake S (CNL-H) PCH / 300 Series (Z390/ H370, B360, Q370, H310)
Processor8C, 6C, 4C (6 Consumer SKUs at Launch)
Enhanced IA and Memory Overclocking
Gen 9 Intel Graphics GT2 (Up To 24 EUs)
Consumer Only
8C, 6C, 4C, 2C (Full corporate/consumer SKU stack at launch)
Enhanced IA and Memory Overclocking
Gen 9 Intel Graphics GT2 (Up To 24 EUs)
Corporate/vPro & Consumer
MemoryUp To DDR4-2666 (Native)Up To DDR4-2666 (Native)
Media, Display & AudioDP 1.2 & HDMI 1.4
HDCP 2.2 (HDMI 2.0a w/LSPCON)
HEVC & VP9 10-bit Enc/Dec, HDR, Rec.2020, DX12
Integrated Dual-Core Audio DSP
DP 1.2 & HDMI 1.4
HDCP 2.2 (HDMI 2.0a w/LSPCON)
HEVC & VP9 10-bit Enc/Dec, HDR, Rec.2020, DX12
Integrated Dual-Core Audio DSP
SoundWire Digital Audio Interface
I/O & ConnectivityIntegrated USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
Thunderbolt 3.0 (Alpine Ridge)
Integrated USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
Integrated Intel Wireless-AC (Wi-Fi / BT CNVi)
Integrated SDXC 3.0 Controller
Thunderbolt 3.0 (Titan Ridge) w/ DP 1.4
StorageNext Gen Intel Optane memory
PCIe 3.0, SATA 3.0
Next Gen Intel Optane memory
PCIe 3.0, SATA 3.0
SecurityIntel SGX 1.0Intel SGX 1.0
Power ManagementC8 SupportC10 & S0ix Support for Modern Standby