Intel Coffee Lake Core i7-8700K, Core i5-8600K, Core i5-8400 CPU Review on ASRock FATAL1TY Z370 Professional Gaming i7 Motherboard

Introduction

Early in 2017, Intel released their brand new Kaby Lake platform, featuring a plethora of CPUs and motherboards. The Kaby Lake platform introduced nothing new over what Skylake and its boards already offered. It was simply part of Intel’s yearly refresh and brought some modest clock speed upgrades and boards with added features (mainly by AIBs rather than the chipset itself).

But, a few months after Kaby Lake launched, AMD introduced Ryzen. A significant update to their processor family that not only brought IPC on par with modern Intel cores, but also delivered a mainstream platform with feature level parity with Intel’s mainstream offerings. Ryzen also offered more cores on the mainstream platform, with multi-threading support and the major blow to Intel came in price to performance. Ryzen had done one thing, it had obliterated Intel’s long running reign in the mainstream market by itself, we won’t even mention Threadripper here as that is a whole other story.

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Meanwhile, Intel already had plans to update their mainstream family to higher cores, but AMD surprised them with the Ryzen lineup. As such, while the plans to bring higher core count CPUs were formulated long before Ryzen was even announced, the roadmap changes were made about a few months ago. So, what was expected to launch in early 2018 is launching today. Intel’s first mainstream core count bump in more than 10 years.

Today, Intel officially launches the 300-series platform. Designed to support 8th generation processors that are codenamed Coffee Lake, the 300-series offers new features and updates in the form that were essentially made to house the new generation of mainstream processors. The latest launch comes just a few months after Intel’s 7th Generation core family which is very surprising, even for Intel.

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Intel Z370 Express Chipset – The Top 300-Series PCH

With the launch of Coffee Lake processors, Intel is also offering a new platform that is marked as 300-series. The Intel 300 series platform will feature several chipset SKUs but the first to hit the retail market is Z370. The Z370 platform is exclusively built to support Coffee Lake CPUs meaning that while we can expect later CPU launches to feature support on the current platform, all CPUs that came before will not work on the new motherboards. We have more details on this in the LGA 1151 socket section so here, we will be taking a look at the Z370 featureset and what it offers over the previous 200 and 100 series platforms.

Intel Z370 PCH Features:

The 8th gen desktop platform has a range of new features that mainly include:

And of course, powering the new platform is the Z370 PCH. The PCH offers the following:

Expected Intel 300-Series Kaby Lake Refresh and Cannon Lake PCH Features:

Chipset Name Coffee Lake S (KBL-R) PCH / Z370 (Z390) Platform Coffee Lake S (CNL-H) PCH / 300 Series (H370, B360, Q370, H310)
Process Node 22nm 14nm
Processor 8C, 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
Memory Up To DDR4-2666 (Native) Up To DDR4-2666 (Native)
Media, Display & Audio 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
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 & Connectivity Integrated 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
Storage Next Gen Intel Optane memory
PCIe 3.0, SATA 3.0
Next Gen Intel Optane memory
PCIe 3.0, SATA 3.0
Security Intel SGX 1.0 Intel SGX 1.0
Power Management C8 Support C10 & S0ix Support for Modern Standby
Launch 2017 2018

Intel LGA 1151 Socket Again – Now With Only 8th Generation Processor Support

Intel isn’t moving away from the LGA 1151 socket anytime soon. We are once again looking at the same socket which has been doing the rounds in the mainstream market since 2015. There is however a major difference. There’s no backward compatibility with Skylake and Kaby Lake processors.

That brings us to the next significant detail about the Intel 300-series platform. Intel is confirming that the Coffee Lake processors are only compatible with the 300-series chipset. The reason cited by Intel is the change in electrical lanes and power delivery that Z370 improves substantially. We did have a word with some motherboard manufacturers and while they reveal that Coffee Lake may work with older motherboards, it won’t deliver the same level of stability or clocking as on the Z370 series motherboards.

A more detailed analysis was posted by David Schor a few days ago which confirms the change in pin configuration on Coffee Lake processors, hence keeping the LGA 1151 socket on Z370 boards exclusive to Coffee Lake chips.

According to David, the reason we don’t have Coffee Lake processors compatible with older series motherboards that feature the LGA 1151 socket is the change in pins. For instance, if the pin config changes on a processor, the sockets on the motherboard need to be configured as such. It’s not a process that can be done via software as its more of a hardware level change.

When compared, the Coffee Lake processors have 391 VSS (Ground) pins which is an increase of 14 compared to Kaby Lake, 146 VCC (Electrical) pins which is an increase of 18 pins compared to Kaby Lake and about 25 pins that are reserved and a decrease of 21 pins from the 46 reserved on Kaby Lake.

Kaby Lake -> Coffee Lake

Intel LGA 1151 CPU Pin Configuration (Coffee Lake vs Kaby Lake):

So one thing is clear, Intel was in fact telling the truth about electrical changes to the processors and socket in the 300-series platform. Furthermore, it’s not just the reserved pins from Kaby Lake that have simply been populated. There are pins aside the reserved ones that were swapped with VCC pins and indicate a design tweak.

While we can put many theories to rest with this new detail, I think much of the confusion could have just been avoided if Intel clarified this themselves. Of course, if you are making the boards with a new PCH and new series of processors on the same socket that ran the previous CPU line, consumers would definitely want to know more about why the new platform that has the same socket cannot support their older chips. We previously heard about the LGA 1151 V2 naming scheme and that may have sorted some confusion but as we can tell, all motherboards still use the LGA 1151 naming scheme which may lead to people thinking that their 6th and 7th generation processors can run on the newer boards.

Cooler Compatibility With LGA 1151 Socket

Keeping the same socket has some advantages in the form of cooler compatibility. All users who are running the LGA 1151 socket or even LGA 1150 boards can use the same cooler on the Z370 boards without any hassle. The socket has the same dimensions and no changes are made aside from electrical changes that are specific to socket and processor pins. The socket assembly and mounting remains the same.

Intel does offer a separate boxed cooler but it will be a much better choice to get an AIB cooling solution since those offer better cooling performance. It is recommended for the unlocked SKUs that users run them on a high end air cooler or liquid cooling solution. Custom loop cooling will deliver even better results.

First of all, what is Coffee Lake? In simple terms, Coffee Lake is an improved Kaby Lake that has been made possible with the latest 14nm++ process node. Intel briefed in their webinar that Coffee Lake is on the same architectural level as Kaby Lake with no changes at all. Aside from that, the new 14nm process allows for improved power efficiency and higher clock speeds. There’s a reason that Intel is bumping up the core count across their entire range of processors. The Intel Core i7 and Core i5 lineup gets 6 cores (HT/Non-HT) while the Core i3 lineup gets 4 cores.

The Intel Core i7 and Core i5 processors with 6 cores feature the same TDPs as their predecessors so bumping up the core count hasn’t changed the TDP numbers. Actual power consumption may vary during testing real world applications but for that, you’d have to wait for our review in the coming weeks. You will also note that Intel has given a fairly good bump to both CPU and integrated GPU clock speeds which is only possible with the new and improved 14nm++ process.

Intel Coffee Lake CPUs Have 16 PCIe 3.0 Lanes, PCH Supports 24 PCIe 3.0 Lanes – These Make Up The 40 PCIe Platform Lanes

Now one thing you might have noticed in other articles is that they state the Intel Coffee Lake platform will feature 40 PCIe Lanes. That’s true but not entirely an accurate representation. As you see, Intel does has 40 PCIe 3.0 lanes on their upcoming family but those are a combination of CPU and PCH lanes. All Coffee Lake CPUs feature 16 PCIe Gen 3.0 lanes while the Z370 PCH features 24 PCIe 3.0 lanes. These make up the 40 PCIe 3.0 lanes that Intel claims of.

This means that people can add in two GPUs for SLI or mGPU support which will be given to the CPU while PCH can allow for additional devices such as PCIe / M.2 storage or Intel Optane support.

The Intel 8th Gen, Core Desktop Family Full Specifications and Prices

At launch, Intel will introduce 6 new Coffee Lake CPUs to consumers. These include the flagship Core i7-8700K, Core i7-8700, Core i5-8600K, Core i5-8400, Core i3-8350K and Core i3-8100. Intel includes three “K” unlocked CPUs in the lineup while the rest are locked CPUs that don’t feature overclocking but great for budget users in their own place.

Following are the detailed specs for these CPUs:

Intel Core i7-8700K – The Coffee Lake Flagship With 6 Cores and 4.3 GHz Boost Across All Cores

The Intel Core i7-8700K will be the flagship processor of the lineup. It will feature 6 cores and 12 threads. The chip will be compatible with the LGA 1151 socket on the Z370 chipset only. The chip will be Intel’s first hexa core product and will be based on the 14nm process node.

In terms of clock speeds, we are looking at a 3.7 GHz base frequency which boosts up to 4.3 GHz (6 core) and 4.7 GHz (1 core). These clocks are really impressive so we can expect much faster gaming performance on Coffee Lake parts than the current generation of CPUs. The chip is fully unlocked allowing for overclocking and comes with a TDP of 95W. There’s 12 MB of L3 cache on board along with a GT2 tier iGPU. The chip supports DDR4-2666 MHz memory (native) and up to 4400 MHz+ (OC). The Intel Core i7-8700K will cost $359 US at launch.

Intel Core i5-8600K – The Gamer Aimed Hexa Core With Overclocking Capability and 4.3 GHz Boost

The Intel Core i5-8600K is the second unlocked chip in the lineup and features a hexa core design. We have learned that the Intel Core i5 series will stick with 6 cores but they will not feature a multi-threaded design. The chip probably features 9 MB of L3 cache while being supported on the LGA 1151 socket.

In terms of clock speeds, we are looking at 3.5 GHz base, 4.2 GHz (6 core), 4.3 GHz (1 core) boost clocks. The chip will feature a TDP of 95W and the pricing will be set at $257 US which is just a few bucks over $242 US Price of the Core i5-7600K making it a great option for gamers who want some extra cores inside their rigs.

Intel Core i3-8350K – A Quad Core i3 Processor With 4 GHz Clock Speed

The Intel Core i3-8350K might be the only Core i3 chip in the 8th Gen family that enables overclocking support. Intel’s 8th Gen Core i3 family is also the first to feature 4 cores which will be a great deal for budget builders. The Intel Core i3-8350K comes with 4 cores and 4 threads that are clocked at 4.0 GHz. The chip features 6 MB of cache and will feature a TDP of 91W.

The Intel Core i3 chips will not feature boost clocks but they will have a more stable base clock speed and pricing is set at $168 US for the unlocked model.

Intel Core i5-8400 – A 6 Core Chip Under $200 US, Is This The Dream Gaming Chip?

The one other chip that is worth mentioning is the Intel Core i5-8400. This is a 6 core processor with no hyper threading and no overclocking enabled so what makes it so special? The pricing. The Intel Core i5-8400 has been priced at a remarkable $182 US range which is under the $200 US pricing range. This makes it a very competitive chip for the gaming desktop market as you can have a modern 6 core gaming processor for a fantastic price. We are very interested to test the chip out ourselves.

Intel Coffee Lake 8th Gen Desktop Core Lineup:

CPU Name Intel Core i3-8100 Intel Core i3-8350K Intel Core i5-8400 Intel Core i5-8600K Intel Core i7-8700 Intel Core i7-8700K
CPU Family Coffee Lake-S Coffee Lake-S Coffee Lake-S Coffee Lake-S Coffee Lake-S Coffee Lake-S
CPU Process 14nm 14nm 14nm 14nm 14nm 14nm
CPU Cores 4 4 6 6 6 6
CPU Threads 4 4 6 6 12 12
Base Clock 3.60 GHz 4.00 GHz 2.80 GHz 3.60 GHz 3.20 GHz 3.70 GHz
Boost Clock (Max) N/A N/A 4.00 GHz 4.30 GHz 4.60 GHz 4.70 GHz
Boost Clock (6 Core) N/A N/A 3.50 GHz 4.40 GHz 4.20 GHz 4.30 GHz
L2 Cache 1 MB (256 KB per Core) 1 MB (256 KB per Core) 1.5 MB (256 KB per Core) 1.5 MB (256 KB per Core) 1.5 MB (256 KB per Core) 1.5 MB (256 KB per Core)
L3 Cache 6 MB 6 MB 9 MB 9 MB 12 MB 12 MB
Overclocking Support No Yes No Yes No Yes
Socket Support LGA 1151 LGA 1151 LGA 1151 LGA 1151 LGA 1151 LGA 1151
PCH 300-Series 300-Series 300-Series 300-Series 300-Series 300-Series
TDP 65W 91W 65W 95W 65W 95W
Price $117 US $168 US $182 US $257 US $303 US $359 US

Intel Details Overclocking and Gaming Performance Figures – Our Advice, Wait For Reviews

Intel has also detailed some performance numbers for their Coffee Lake processors. First of all, we have overclocking details. Intel claims that Coffee Lake processors are the best chips designed for overclocking. There are a range of new features supported by the chips which include:

The combination of these tools and features will presumably deliver better overclocking and even faster performance out of the chips. In terms of pure gaming performance, Intel says that the Core i7-8700K, when paired with a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti class graphics card delivers up to 195 FPS in the Gears of War 4 title, that’s a 25% increase in FPS over the Core i7-7700K. The extra number of cores also deliver better streaming performance that is a must in today’s gaming ecosystem. We can see up to 45% better performance in Player Unknown Battlegrounds while gaming, streaming and also recording at the same time versus a Core i7-7700K. Compared to a 3 year old PC with something like Haswell or Ivy Bridge inside it, we can see a difference of 2X which sounds great.

Intel Coffee Lake PCB Thickness Compared To Kaby Lake and Core X Processors

ASRock sent us their top of the line FATAL1TY motherboard, the FATAL1TY Z370 Professional Gaming i7. This motherboard carries a top end design that boasts literally every feature that gamers demand. You can find quad way SLI/CFX GPU support, faster 4333+ MHz DRAM support, high-end audio driver, 10 Gigabit LAN, wireless connectivity on board and an aggressive design scheme that can take true advantage of overclocking capabilities that Coffee Lake unlocked CPUs have to offer. The motherboard being aimed at the high-end also comes at a high price of $289.99 US.

ASUS ROG Maximus IX Code Specifications:

ASRock FATAL1TY Z370 Professional Gaming i7 Motherboard Gallery:

ROCK-SOLID VRM

The improved power phase design offers smooth power delivery to the more powerful 8th Generation Intel Core Processors, providing unmatched overclocking capabilities, lower temperature for advanced gamers, and reinforced system stability for taking on all sorts of arduous computing tasks. Following are the features offered in ASRoc’s Super Alloy motherboard design:

  • XXL Aluminum Alloy Heatsink

Extra large aluminum alloy heat sinks that effectively take away heat from the MOSFET and chipset so that your whole system may perform more stable.

  • Premium 60A Power Choke

Compared to traditional chokes, ASRock’s premium 60A power chokes effectively make the saturation current up to three times better, thus providing enhanced and improved Vcore voltage to the motherboard.

  • Premium Memory Alloy Choke

Specifically designed for memory power delivery, these new alloy chokes feature a highly magnetic and heat resistant design, thus delivering more stable and reliable power to the motherboard and memory modules.

  • Dual-Stack MOSFET (DSM)

Dual-Stack MOSFET (DSM) is another innovative MOSFETs design by ASRock. The silicon die area is increased by stacking two dies into one MOSFET. The larger the die area, the lower Rds(on). Compared to traditional discrete MOSFET, DSM with larger die area provides extreme lower Rds(on) 1.2 mΩ, so the power supply for the CPU Vcore is more efficient.

Combo Caps

A combination of 820uF and 100uF capacitors. Together these capacitors provide clearer, efficient and more responsive CPU Vcore power, and overclockers may achieve higher scores.

  • Nichicon 12K Black Caps

Supreme 12K black capacitors with lifespans of at least 12,000 hours. Compared to other counterparts on high-end motherboards that merely have lifespans of around 10,000 hours, ASRock applied Nichicon 12K Black Caps that offer 20% longer lifespans and provide more stability and reliability.

  • I/O Armor

A new designed protective cover for all of the crucial parts near the motherboard’s rear I/O, so that they won’t easily be damaged by static electricity.

  • Matte Black PCB

A new mysterious matte black and copper color scheme to match the prestigious components on ASRock’s high-end motherboards.

  • High Density Glass Fabric PCB

High Density Glass Fabric PCB design that reduces the gaps between the PCB layers to protect the motherboard against electrical shorts caused by humidity.

Hyper DDR4

ASRock Hyper DDR4 technology unlocks the hidden performance of DDR4 memory modules, giving the overall performance a huge boost. Unlike traditional memory signal designs that are easily distorted, Hyper DDR4 uses an optimized trace design and the memory circuitry are ideally isolated, thus providing pure memory signals for compatibility, stability and performance.

AQUANTIA 10Gb/s BASE-T Ethernet

The new 10Gb/s network standard was specially designed to satisfy the user who is seeking immediate performance improvements. Based on AQUANTIA’s AQtion client controller, it offers blazing fast 10-gigabit/sec transfer speed over Cat6 cable. The 10Gb/s Ethernet not only fully compatible with 5Gb/s, 2.5Gb/s & Gigabit Lan but also delivers lightning fast transfer speed, perfect for media center, workstation and gaming PC.

Dual Intel LAN

Users are able to connect two LAN cables to this motherboard’s rear I/O. Dual LAN with Teaming function enabled on this motherboard allows two single connections to act as one single connection for twice the transmission bandwidth, making data transmission more effective.

Dual Band 802.11ac WiFi

No one has time for weak WiFi signals and sluggish internet! That’s why this motherboard comes with a 802.11ac WiFi (2.4G / 5G WiFi) module which supports wireless networks and Bluetooth v4.2.

Triple Ultra M.2

Triple of the world’s fastest PCIe Gen3 x4 Ultra M.2 slots that deliver up to 32Gb/s transfer speed, it also supports SATA3 6Gb/s M.2 modules.

Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 3

Sound Blaster Cinema 3 is the latest software that is designed with SBX Pro Studio to deliver a holistic audio experience. Whether you’re gaming or watching a movie, Reality 3D technology lets you enable 5.1/7.1 surround sound for an additional layer of transience to your listening experience even with just a pair of headphones or stereo speakers.

RGB LED

Build your own colorful lighting system! RGB LED and header allows users to connect LED strip and create their unique PC style easily. The ASRock RGB LED utility can be downloaded directly or from an all-in-one utility ASRock Live Update & APP Shop!

Intel Optane Memory Ready

Supports Intel Optane memory technology and Intel Optane storage technology that redefines a new standard of high performance and responsiveness.

Front USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C

Front USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C header delivers up to 10 Gbps data transfer rate and next generation reversible USB design to the front panel of computer case.

PCI-E STEEL SLOTS

The advanced PCI-E Steel Slots packed with solid cover that prevent any signal interference with graphics cards. It also ensures the heavy graphics cards to be well-installed in the PCI-E slots safely.

ASRock Z370 Motherboard Lineup Specs:

ASRock Z370 Motherboard Lineup:

Motherboard Name ASRock Z370 Taichi ASRock FATAL1TY Z370 Professional Gaming i7 ASRock FATAL1TY Z370 Gaming K6 ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming-ITX/ac ASRock Z370 Extreme 4 ASRock Z370 Killer SLI/AC ASRock Z370 Killer SLI ASRock Z370 Pro 4 ASRock Z370M Pro 4 ASRock Z370M ITX/AC
CPU Support Intel 8th Generation Coffee Lake CPUs Intel 8th Generation Coffee Lake CPUs Intel 8th Generation Coffee Lake CPUs Intel 8th Generation Coffee Lake CPUs Intel 8th Generation Coffee Lake CPUs Intel 8th Generation Coffee Lake CPUs Intel 8th Generation Coffee Lake CPUs Intel 8th Generation Coffee Lake CPUs Intel 8th Generation Coffee Lake CPUs Intel 8th Generation Coffee Lake CPUs
Form Factor ATX ATX ATX MITX ATX ATX ATX ATX mATX MITX
Socket Type LGA 1151 LGA 1151 LGA 1151 LGA 1151 LGA 1151 LGA 1151 LGA 1151 LGA 1151 LGA 1151 LGA 1151
Power Phases 12 Phase 12 Phase 12 Phase 7 Phase 12 Phase 10 Phase 10 Phase 10 Phase 10 Phase 6 Phase
CPU Power Connectors 1 x 8 Pin 1 x 8 Pin 1 x 8 Pin 1 x 8 Pin 1 x 8 Pin 1 x 8 Pin 1 x 8 Pin 1 x 8 Pin 1 x 8 Pin 1 x 8 Pin
DDR4 DIMM Slots 4 x DDR4 DIMM Slots
Supports DDR4 4333+(OC)
4 x DDR4 DIMM Slots
Supports DDR4 4333+(OC)
4 x DDR4 DIMM Slots
Supports DDR4 4333+(OC)
4 x DDR4 DIMM Slots
Supports DDR4 4333+(OC)
4 x DDR4 DIMM Slots
Supports DDR4 4333+(OC)
4 x DDR4 DIMM Slots
Supports DDR4 4266+(OC)
4 x DDR4 DIMM Slots
Supports DDR4 4266+(OC)
4 x DDR4 DIMM Slots
Supports DDR4 4266+(OC)
4 x DDR4 DIMM Slots
Supports DDR4 4300+(OC)
4 x DDR4 DIMM Slots
Supports DDR4 4000+(OC)
PCI-e 3.0 Expansion Slots 3 x PCIe x16
2 x PCIe x1
3 x PCIe x16
2 x PCIe x1
3 x PCIe x16
3 x PCIe x1
1 x PCIe x16 3 x PCIe x16
3 x PCIe x1
2 x PCIe x16
4 x PCIe x1
2 x PCIe x16
4 x PCIe x1
2 x PCIe x16
3 x PCIe x1
2 x PCIe x16
2 x PCIe x1
1 x PCIe x16
M.2 3 3 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 1
SATA III 6 GB/s Ports 8 8 8 6 8 6 6 6 6 6
Ethernet 1 x Giga PHY Intel I219V
1 x GigaLAN Intel® I211AT
AQUANTIA AQC107
1 x Intel I219V
1 x Intel I211AT
1 x Giga PHY Intel I219V
1 x GigaLAN Intel I211AT
Giga PHY Intel I219V Giga PHY Intel I219V Giga PHY Intel I219V Giga PHY Intel I219V Giga PHY Intel I219V Giga PHY Intel I219V 1 x Giga PHY Intel I219V
1 x GigaLAN Intel I211AT
WiFi Intel 802.11ac WiFi Module Intel 802.11ac WiFi Module N/A Intel 802.11ac WiFi Module 8265 N/A Intel 802.11ac WiFi Module N/A N/A N/A Intel 802.11ac WiFi Module
Audio Realtek ALC1220 Audio Codec Realtek ALC1220 Audio Codec Realtek ALC1220 Audio Codec Realtek ALC1220 Audio Codec Realtek ALC1220 Audio Codec Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec
USB 3.1 Gen2 3 3 2 1 2 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
USB 3.1 Gen1 8 8 9 8 9 9 9 8 9 8
USB 2.0 Ports 6 6 6 2 6 4 4 5 4 2
Price $219.99 US $289.99 US $179.99 US $179.99 US $164.99 US $159.99 US $139.99 US $129.99 US $129.99 US $134.99 US

The ASRock FATAL1TY Z370 Professional Gaming i7 comes in the standard cardboard package. The front is fully red which is also the color scheme that FATAL1TY motherboard line is known to use in a range of products.

The back side of the package lists down the specifications and special features of the motherboard such as Aquantia 10 Gb/s Base-T Ethernet, Intel Dual LAN and Intel 802.11 AC Wifi, Triple Ultra M.2 support, Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 3, RGB LED, Hyper BCLK Engine II and Front USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C.

The front side also lists down support for Intel’s 8th generation Core processors. There’s also support for Intel Optane memory along with 10 Gigabit Ethernet, RGB LED, NVIDIA SLI, AMD Crossfire technology (although AMD has abandoned the Crossfire name and uses mGPU instead nowadays) and HDMI.

Inside the package is another box which contains the accessories in the top and motherboard at the bottom. It is very easy to access although the accessories are a bit scattered and things could get messy sorting out the various additions.

There are several accessories included in the package such as a Wi-Fi antenna module, four SATA III cables, an I/O cover, screws for the M.2 storage devices, a high-bandwidth SLI bridge, a driver disk, a manual for the board, a post card branded in FATAL1TY and a ASRock sticker logo.

The motherboard is housed underneath the accessories and has the anti-static wrapping to protect it from any built up electrical resistance that can affect the board.

The ASRock Z370 Professional Gaming i7 has a very aggressive design scheme that reeks of high-end nature. It doesn’t have the glitter splattered all over like some other boards that focus more on the RGB trend nowadays but it’s impressive in its own right, using professional heatsink solutions and design theme.

The ASRock Z370 Professional Gaming i7 is styled in black and silver. This is a top tier product that retails over $300 US so expect lots of features packed inside this motherboard. The motherboard comes in the standard ATX form factor.

The board uses the LGA 1151 socket to support Intel Core processors. The socket is compatible with Intel’s 8th generation core family only at the moment. The socket has a protective cover on top of it that points out the exclusivity with Coffee Lake CPUs and refrains users from running a older 6th or 7th generation CPU as it could damage the socket.

Next to the socket are four DDR4 DIMM slots which can support up to 64 GB dual channel memory. These slots are rated to support XMP profiles up to 4333 MHz (OC Plus). Each slot is labeled, making it easier to install DIMMs in the proper orientation.

The ASRock Z370 Professional Gaming i7 packs a 12 phase super alloy power design. The design is packed with 2 phase power for the DRAM and uses Premium 60A power chokes, Premium Memory Alloy Chokes, Dual-Stack MOSFET (DSM), Combo Caps and Nichicon 12K Black caps that deliver un-precedented stability and overclocking capabilities.

As you can see, the VRMs are getting ample cooling from the two metallic heatsinks that are beefy in terms of overall size. This motherboard is designed for overclocking so expect stable operation of the electrical circuitry when this board is running.

If you look in closely, the heatsink solution comes with heatpipe coolig that runs across the entire length of the dual heatsinks. ASRock is also using fin based heatsink under the IO cover which can provide even better thermal operation under load.

The CPU is supplied power through a single 8-pin power connector. This will feed the CPU with up to 150W of power. Most Intel CPUs will be shipping with TDPs under 100W but that changes when users overclock, since that changes the power limit based on applied voltages and clock speed.

Expansion slots include three PCI Express 3.0 x16, three PCI Express 3.0 x1 and three M.2 slots. The board can support four-way multi-GPU (CrossFireX / SLI). The M.2 slots are rated to support NVMe PCIe gen3 x4 and Intel Optane series memory.

ASRock is using a metallic cover on the sides of the expansion slots which provides protection to some extent. It adds more retention and shearing resistance by reinforcing the slots with metal plates. Aside from adding more protection, they do look really sweet.

The PCH is cooled off by a large metallic heatsink which runs next to the SATA ports. The PCH heat sink has embedded RGB LEDs and provide a good light show for those that are interested in RGBs trend. You can also turn off the LEDs entirely through ASRock’s bundled software if you are not a fan of such LEDs.

Storage options include eight SATA III ports rated to operate at 6 GB/s. These can support eight different storage devices at once. There’s also a right angled USB 3.0 front panel connector. Many fan headers and jumpers can be found beneath the storage ports.

The Sound Blaster Cinema 3 onboard system powers the audio on this board. The most unique component that was added to the solution in this generation is the Realtek ALC1220 Audio Code which powers the 7.1 channel audio. This new codec features an unprecedented 113dB SNR line-in and 120dB SNR line-out that allows users to stream and record with minimal noise.

ASRock is using the Intel 802.11ac WiFi Module to power wireless connectivity such as 802.11ac WiFi (2.4G / 5G WiFi) and Bluetooth 4.2. In terms of Ethernet, there’s dual Intel Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and a 10 Gigabit Aquantia LAN port which means networking on this board is going to be really impressive.

ASRock has placed two very interesting, gold colored buttons at the bottom right hand corner of the board. The purpose of these switches is to allow users to easily Power or Reset the board in overclock and system tuning cases. A bunch of other connectors for chassis power, RGB and fan headers can be spotted next to them.

Finally, we have the I/O panel which includes the Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac module, PS/2 port, HDMI, Display Port, Dual Intel Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, a single 10 Gigabit Ethernet LAN port, 4 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (Type-A + Type-C) and a 7.1 channel audio jack.

ASRock Z370 Professional Gaming i7 Photo Gallery:

For testing, we used the latest Intel Core i7-8700K, Core i5-8600K and Core i5-8400 CPUs which were sent to us by Intel. The Intel Coffee Lake family comes with higher core count on the main stream platform but prices are close to the predecessors in the same segment. We also slightly updated our test platform as Intel had sent us with their 32 GB Optane Memory which they say boosts performance of SATA based storage devices significantly and Coffee Lake can prove to be worthy demonstration for this type of memory product.

Intel Z370 Platform Test Setup:

Processor Intel Core i7-8700K
Intel Core i5-8600K
Intel Core i5-8400
Intel Core i9-7900X
Intel Core i7-7820X
Intel Core i7-7800X
Intel Core i7-7740X
Intel Core i5-7640X
Intel Core i7-6950X
Intel Core i7-6900K
Intel Core i7-6800K
Intel Core i7-7700K
Intel Core i5-7600K
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
Motherboard ASRock Z370 Professional Gaming i7
ASRock X299 Taichi
Gigabyte GA-X99-UD7
Gigabyte AORUS Z270X-Gaming 8
ASRock X370 Killer SLI/AC
Power Supply Corsair RM 750X Gold Plus
Solid State Drive Samsung SSD 960 EVO M.2 (512 GB)
Hard Disk Seagate Barracuda 2 TB 7200.12
Memory G.SKILL Trident Z RGB Series 32 GB (4 x 8GB) CL16 3600 MHz
Case Corsair Graphite Series 780T Full Tower
Video Cards MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Lightning X
Cooling Solutions Corsair H115i GTX
Cryorig R1 Ultimate
OS Windows 10 64-bit

Our test rig includes the Samsung 960 EVO 500 GB SSD that boots up our main OS while a 2 TB Seagate HDD is used for demonstration purposes for the Intel Optane memory. In addition to these, we are running a MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Lightning X graphics card, a Corsair RM 750X Gold Plus power supply and 32 GB of G.Skill provided Trident Z RGB series memory which runs with a clock speed of DDR4-3600 MHz. For cooling, we used the Cryorig R1 Ultimate and Corsair H115i GTX AIO coolers to see how the new Coffee Lake CPUs perform on both air and liquid cooling solutions.

We won’t be focusing on Intel’s Core i7-7700K architecture in this review since it is entirely the same chip as Skylake along with minor improvements. The Skylake / Kaby Lake architecture analysis can be seen in detail here. For overclocking, I made the following tweaks to the CPUs:

3DMark Time Spy CPU Performance

3DMark Firestrike is the widely popular video card benchmark test for Windows that is designed to measure your PC’s gaming performance. While the overall benchmark is great, the utility also provides a good indication of the CPU performance.

3DMark Firestrike CPU Performance

3DMark Firestrike is the widely popular video card benchmark test for Windows that is designed to measure your PC’s gaming performance. While the overall benchmark is great, the utility also provides a good indication of the CPU performance.

Blender

Blender is the free and open source 3D creation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation.

Cinebench R15

CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Life of Pi or Prometheus and many more.

Cinebench R11.5

Cinebench is based on Maxon’s Cinema 4D. It is used to compare graphics as well as processor performance. We are using the CPU performance numbers for our comparison.

HandBrake

HandBrake is a tool for converting video from nearly any format to a selection of modern, widely supported codecs.

PCMark 10

PCMark 10 is a complete PC benchmarking solution for Windows 10. It includes several tests that combine individual workloads covering storage, computation, image and video manipulation, web browsing and gaming. Specifically designed for the full range of PC hardware from netbooks and tablets to notebooks and desktops, PCMark 10 offers complete Windows PC performance testing for home and business use.

POV-Ray

The POV-Ray package includes detailed instructions on using the ray-tracer and creating scenes. Many stunning scenes are included with POV-Ray so you can start creating images immediately when you get the package.

SuperPI

Super PI is used by many overclockers to test the performance and stability of their computers. In the overclocking community, the standard program provides a benchmark for enthusiasts to compare “world record” pi calculation times and demonstrate their overclocking abilities. The program can also be used to test the stability of a certain overclock speed.

WinRAR

WinRAR is a powerful archive manager. It can backup your data and reduce the size of email attachments, decompress RAR, ZIP and other files downloaded from the Internet and create new archives in RAR and ZIP file format.

X264 HD Encode Benchmark

This benchmark measures the encoding performance of the processor. It offers a standardized benchmark as the clip as well as the encoder used is uniform.

Intel Coffee Lake Single Core Clock-To-Clock Performance Results

I also tested the various chips of the same tier at adjusted clock speeds to note down any IPC improvements. It looks like that Coffee Lake has slightly better IPC thanks to process and little architectural tweaking that come from more stabilized clocks. The clock speeds used are listed as:

ASRock Z370 Professional Gaming i7 – Ashes of The Singularity

Stardock’s Ashes of the Singularity RTS title is a new take on the historic genre. The game incorporates several things that many pc gamers have been curious about and anxious to try for themselves such as Explicit Multi-Adapter Support and full Asynchronous Compute under DirectX 12 API. We tested the game at 1440P with 4x MSAA on Crazy Settings under DirectX 12.

ASRock Z370 Professional Gaming i7 – Battlefield 1

Battlefield 1 is the kind of game that doesn’t need any real introduction. The latest installment of the Battlefield series is as beautiful as anyone would expect and comes right out of the gate with full DX11 and DX12. EA and DICE did a fantastic job with their AAA WW1 shooter this time by implementing some key gaming technologies. We tested the game at 1440P using Ultra settings and DirectX 11 API.

ASRock Z370 Professional Gaming i7 – DOOM

In 2016, Id finally released Doom. My testing wouldn’t be complete without including this title. It’s a hell fest featuring fast paced FPS action and tons of demons to kill. The latest title is based on both Vulkan and OpenGL APIs that take advantage of the latest multi-core and multi-GPU upgrades.

ASRock Z370 Professional Gaming i7 – GTA V

GTA V is one handsomely optimized title for the PC audience. It’s scalable across various PC configurations and delivers an impressive frame rate. Rockstar did an amazing job with the PC build of GTA V and it comes with a large array of settings that can be configured by PC gamers. We tested the title at 1440P with everything set to Ultra and 4x MSAA.

ASRock Z370 Professional Gaming i7 – Mass Effect Andromeda

Being a huge fan of the Mass Effect series, I was highly anticipating the arrival of Andromeda to store shelves. Now that it’s here, I put the fastest gaming card to the test. Using Frostbite, the latest Mass Effect title looks incredibly gorgeous and the open world settings on the different planets immerses you a lot.

ASRock Z370 Professional Gaming i7 – Rise of the Tomb Raider

The latest Rise of the Tomb Raider title  gets lots of graphical enhancements added by Crystal Dynamics and Nixxes, including hardware tessellation, increased anisotropic filtering, additional dynamic foliage, increased LOD, additional PureHair strands, sun soft shadows, and improved bokeh DOF. We tested the game at 1440P under DirectX 12 API.

ASRock Z370 Professional Gaming i7 – Sid Meir’s Civilization VI

Civilization VI is the pinnacle of the series. It’s featured huge, sweeping changes, and nothing was left out. Everything has found a purpose, they all work together in tandem but also have a reason to stand alone. It uses a more fleshed out engine that now supports DirectX 12 capabilities. We tested the game with every setting maxed out (4x MSAA, 4096×4096 shadow textures) at 1440P in DirectX 12.

ASRock Z370 Professional Gaming i7 – Watch Dogs 2

Watch Dogs 2 once again takes us on a hacking tour, but this time in the city of San Francisco. Using a very evolved version of the OPUS engine the developers should have a better grasp on things this go around than they did with Watch Dogs. The new engine incorporates several NVIDIA Gameworks technologies and is seen as one of the most graphics intensive titles to launch this year. We tested the game on a mix of Ultra and high settings at 1440P (Temporal Filtering Disabled).

The Coffee Lake architecture is meant to improve overall system power consumption and add to the efficiency. In the case of the 8th Gen CPUs, we are looking at refined 14nm++ process which allows Intel to gain improved clock speeds and increase the number of cores with in the same power envelope.

With the frequency bump, the new chips do end up with higher power consumption both in idle and load states. The Intel Core i7-8700K when overclocked, breaches the 400W barrier although surprisingly, it’s not as intensive when compared with Core-X or Kaby Lake processors. The Core i5-8600K remains under 400W with an overclock of 5.1 GHz which is good to see while the Core i5-8400 remains at a super steady 336W (full system power consumption) even when the system is stressed under full load.

The Intel Coffee Lake processors feature higher clock speeds and more cores, this means that the temperatures can directly be affected by the updated design. In terms of packaging, the processors ship with the same TIM between the IHS that has been used on previous mainstream Intel CPUs. In short, they aren’t as great as soldered ones but we should expect temps to stay under some what level of control due to tweaking. The results at stock were carried out with a Cryorig R1 Ultimate air cooler while the overclocked results were carried out with a Corsair H115i GTX AIO liquid cooler:

There are two parts of this review, first one is the processor and the second is the motherboard. First, I will talk about the processors which are the main topic of today’s launch and then focus on the motherboard that ASRock provided for our review.

Intel Coffee Lake CPU Family – A Glimpse of Hope From Intel?

Intel’s Coffee Lake family arrives in the Intel Core family at a really tough time. It’s arrival comes when AMD is back in the battlefield on all fronts. They have positioned Ryzen at the mainstream and Threadripper at the HEDT market and both are doing really well, offering great performance at very disruptive price points. So did Coffee Lake turned out to be a great CPU launch from Intel?

First of all, every Coffee Lake CPU we tested today had 6 cores. That’s something very significant coming from Intel. It’s their first mainstream core count bump in many years and it was very much needed for the company to remain competitive in an era when multi-tasking is booming. The rise of content creation, game streaming and broadcasting and development on even maninstream PCs has raised the demand of more cores on processors. That’s where Ryzen did well but Intel is known for their IPC prowess and with Coffee Lake, they have further tuned their processors, now with two extra cores on the Core i7 and Core i5 series.

In general, this is an excellent thing from Intel. It may not be as many as 8 cores as Ryzen offers but Intel isn’t breaking the $400 US barrier. Under $400 US, they are offering the fastest 6 core solution which sometimes even tackles the likes of Ryzen 7 1700, an 8 core chip. The thing is, Intel always had an edge in terms of their core design. They had faster cores and that’s where applications such as games, matter a lot to mainstream users. Taking the advantage of their faster cores, Intel beefed up their mainstream design to offer even more cores. The result is a phenomenal increase in multi tasking capabilities while keeping the advantage in single threaded applications.

Intel Core i7-8700K Conclusion

The Intel Core i7-8700K can be seen right now as the fastest gaming chip on the market. It’s fast and overclocks like crazy. Unlike the Core i7-7700K, you won’t face bottlenecks such as stutter or frame rate loss while streaming your games to a wider audience thanks to the two additional cores. Best of all, those two extra cores come at around the same price as the 7700K which is a deal breaker.

Intel Core i5-8600K Conclusion:

The Intel Core i5-8600K can be seen as the more budget oriented overclocking chip. It retains the 6 cores with an unlocked design and while it lacks multi-threading, the higher boost speeds assure that you don’t loose much in terms of performance when compared to the 8700K. The chip is also better than the 7700K, costing more than $100 US lesser than the previous flagship.

Intel Core i5-8400 Conclusion

But the winner today in my review is the Core i5-8400. This chip, for under $200 US is a deal breaker. It has 6 cores, can boost up to 4 GHz and delivers amazing price to performance for the price point. The chip has great gaming performance and having 6 cores at hand means that you can still be able to do all the multi-tasking you want without any issues.

Farewell 100-Series and 200-Series, 300-Series is Here and ASRock’s Z370 Professional Gaming i7 Is One Solid Contender For High-End Mainstream Users

Finally, we arrive at the part that covers the motherboard. As mentioned before, ASRock was kind enough to send us their high-end Z370 Professional Gaming i7 motherboard for this review. And I must say, the Gaming i7 is one hell of a professional and solid motherboard. Strictly speaking, this motherboard is designed for heavy users. Things such as triple M.2, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Dual LAN ports, a solid VRM delivery system and the use of proper heatsink solutions with fin and heatpipe designs are proof that ASRock designed this board for high-end users.

Of course, the gaming audience will find this motherboard suitable for them for several tasks too. Having fast LAN capabilities at hand along with wireless connectivity ensures uninterrupted access to the internet. These are essential for network users and the motherboard offers a lot in terms of hardware support too. Aside from just 8th gen CPU support, we are looking at fast DDR4 memory support with speeds of up to 4333 MHz (O.C)+, a total of eight SATA ports in addition to triple M.2 drives so you are being assured a handful of storage options. There’s a powerful 12 phase power delivery system that delivers clean and filtered power to your CPU for overclocking. We did reach up to 5.2 GHz on our Coffee Lake sample so one thing is for sure, the motherboard had a hand in it.

ASRock proves with the Z370 Professional Gaming i7 motherboard that their FATAL1TY lineup is designed not only for gamers but also for heavy professional uses who want a board with no comprises on features and connectivity options. This is one powerful motherboard for builders who are going to purchase the 8th Generation Coffee Lake CPU.

9.8

ASRock proves with the Z370 Professional Gaming i7 motherboard that their FATAL1TY lineup is designed not only for gamers but also for heavy professional uses who want a board with no comprises on features and connectivity options.

Performance10
Value9.5
Design & Aesthetics9.6
Features10

Pros

  • Support For Intel 8th Generation Coffee Lake Family
  • Up To 6 Core Processor Support
  • Excellent Overclocking Support on Unlocked Intel CPUs
  • Excellent Design Scheme With Solid Heatsink + Heatpipe Solution
  • Tons of Connectivity Options
  • 10 Gigabit Ethernet LAN
  • Dual Gigabit Ethernet LAN
  • Wireless + Bluetooth Module
  • 4333 MHz+ DDR4 Memory Support
  • 12 Phase Power Delivery System
  • Triple M.2 Slots (Optane Support)
  • RGB LED Support

Cons

  • High End Design Comes at High Price ($289.99 US)
  • Limited RGB capabilities (personal preference)
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