MSI Z370 Support for Intel 9000-Series Suggest Backwards Compatibility

MSI has announced that it will support Intel's 9000-series processors with 15 of its Z370 motherboards. From a larger perspective, the announcement signals that Intel's next generation processors, which purportedly step up to eight cores for mainstream models, will be backwards compatible with existing motherboards. There have also been several reports that H-Series motherboards will also support the new processors, but those reports remain unconfirmed.

Intel has long suffered the ire of enthusiasts and mainstream users alike due to the lack of backwards motherboard compatibility among its new chips, especially in light of AMD's commitment to support its AM4 socket with all of its mainstream processors until 2020. True to form, Intel's Coffee Lake processors also necessitated a step forward from 200-series motherboards to 300-series models despite the similar LGA 1151 interface found on both generations of motherboards.

Intel claimed that 300-series motherboards required optimized memory trace routing and improved power delivery to support the six-core models, and subsequent digging found that the company did in fact beef up power delivery to the interface.

Many enthusiasts opined that the existing power delivery for the 200-series motherboards could have handled the increased power draw of the new six-core Coffee Lake models, but given the revelation that 300-series boards will also support the eight-core models, it appears that Intel was setting the stage to support eight-core models on the 300-series platform as well.

Curiously, existing Z370 motherboards lack the new features Intel added to its H, Q and B-Series chipsets, like 10Gbps USB 3.1 and support for CNVI Wi-Fi modules, but it appears the company is readying new Z390 to bring the high-end boards more in line with the downstream models.

More details are arriving by the day about Intel's forthcoming 9000-series processors, but many of the recently leaked roadmaps contradict one another. At least with MSI's leak, we know that support for 9000-series processors is well underway, so we should learn more shortly.

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