Intel Rumored To Rename Z370 To Z390, May Not Use 14nm PCH – Board Makers To Rely on 3rd Party Controllers, 8 Core Support Retained

Jun 23, 2018

There's a new rumor regarding the Intel Z390 platform which will be launched around the same time as the Coffee Lake refresh processors in Q3 2018. According to a report from Benchlife, the Z390 products will actually be based on the existing Z370 PCH.

Intel Z390 Rumored To Be Just a Rebadged Z370 PCH - Intel Will Expand Support To 8 Core Chips, Board Makers To Rely on 3rd Party Controllers For Additional Features

If we take a look at the differences between the Intel Z370 and Z390 PCH, we won't see major differences. All of Intel 300 series chipsets excluding the Intel Z370 are based on a 14nm node while the Z370 itself is based on a 22nm process node. Aside from that, the Intel Z390, just like other 300-series chipsets based on the 14nm process, features support for USB 3.1 Gen 2.0 and Wireless AC 802.11 AC plus Bluetooth 5.0 support.

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Now Intel had already listed the Z390 chipset for a while on their webpage but they removed it a few days ago. Do note that the webpage has been on Intel's website and almost everybody had covered the details that were posted. However, if Intel wanted to, they could have removed the webpage at that moment when the stories starting hitting the web. The reason they waited this long to remove the Z390 listing was not to avoid any further coverage because it was well known that the chipset would make it's way to the market but the issue is something else.

Due to 10nm delay, Intel has put a lot of strain on their current 14nm production. There are new chipsets coming for the 8th gen Intel Xeon platform (C246 PCH). The company already put the entry-level H310 chipset on standby to ensure maximum 14nm production smoothness. There have been reports that the H310 production will resume in July, with motherboard makers now focusing more on the B360 products which are seen as an alternative. But with new 14nm chip-sets on the verge, Intel will be replacing 14nm Z390 PCH with the 22nm design.

With Intel putting rebadged 22nm Z370 PCHs as Z390 on motherboards, we aren't going to see native support for USB 3.1 Gen 2 or wireless capabilities that are included on other 300-series chipsets. Instead, motherboard makers would rely on 3rd party controllers to provide users with these features. Third party controller chipset manufacturers such as ASMedia would see a huge demand for their SKUs with specific features that would have been available on 14nm Z390 chip sets.

Having Z370 rebadged as Z390 doesn't sound impressive but motherboard manufacturers have to offer something new and fresh with upcoming Core processors including the 8 core SKUs. It would also save them further efforts for maintaining 8th gen CPU support. Intel will also have little reason to remove support for new processors from Z370 boards as Z390 is based on the same design. We will provide more info on this when we get it from our sources.

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
Would you upgrade to Z390 Platform when the new 8 Core CPUs arrive?