Exclusive: Intel Core i9 Coming To Z390 Mainstream Platform, Core i9-9900K Flagship And Other Parts Names Leaked

Jun 27, 2018

Intel will be updating its mainstream platform very soon and I have some new information about the Z390 chipset. First is a branding unveil: Intel's Core i9 naming schema is finally coming to mainstream desktop processors. We haven't heard of a Core i3 part yet and that is an interesting development which could mean a couple of things.

Intel Z390 platform part names leaked: Intel Core i9-9900K flagship to lead the lineup

So the entire discussion about Z370 and Z390 can now be put to rest. It will be called the Intel Z390 chipset and not the Z370 chipset. The second big unveil is that Intel is bringing its i9 branding to the mainstream desktop platform. This is a very interesting move from intel because the company has already rolled out an i9 branded part on the mobility side as the Core i9-8950HK.

Without further ado, here is the final nomenclature scheme of the updated Z390 mainstream lineup:

  • Intel Core i9-9900K (est: 8 core / 16 thread)
  • Intel Core i7-9700K (est: 6 core / 12 thread)
  • Intel Core i5-9600K (est: 6 core / 6 thread)

While we don't have exact specifications of the parts yet, the mere fact that the top SKU will be branded i9 means it will have more cores than the i7 variant. Rumor has it, that the i9-9900K is going to be an 8 core / 16 thread part to compete with AMD's Ryzen processors. This would make sense not only from a marketing perspective, but from a positioning perspective as well as the company does not have an 8 core right now that could go head to head against AMD's Ryzen mainstream lineup which maxes out at 8 cores.

It would also mean that the i7 and i5 parts are going to be 6-core / 12 threads and 6 core / 6 threads (no HT) parts respectively which can go head to head against AMDs offerings and will represent the first time that Intel's mainstream lineup did not have a quad core. This is also where the case of the missing Core i3 comes in. We did not see that part listed in the documents which could mean either of two things: either the company is dropping the i3 branding from the mainstream listing for now (unlikely) or it will be coming under a staggered launch later on.

It does not make financial sense to not sell quad core chips since yield theory would make these one of the more lucrative options for Intel. The Intel Z390 PCH block diagram has been provided in the product brief which shows two very interesting things. The Intel Z390 chipset isn't a huge leap over the Z370 chipset, something that we had already mentioned in the previous articles related to the Z390. Secondly, the chipset has brought the same featureset that was recently launched on the entry level boards but not given on the Z370 boards that launched last year.

These new features are already available on the mainstream motherboards (excluding the Z370 chipset) and include:

  • Intel Wireless-AC 802.11 AC and Bluetooth 5.0
  • Intel Wireless-AC Adapter
  • Up To 6 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Ports

On the Z370 motherboards, manufacturers who want to provide these features have to go with third-party controllers which raises the costs. The Z390 chipset motherboards will have solutions that will make use of the chipset provided the feature set to save costs while high-end boards can still opt for third-party controllers for delivering better capabilities.

Expected Intel 300-Series 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)
Process Node22nm14nm
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