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Intel Hardware Technology

Modders Get Intel's Coffee Lake CPUs To Run On Incompatible Motherboards ( 83

Paul Lilly reports via PC Gamer: It took some time and a whole lot of tweaking, but modders have finally figured out a way to get Intel's Coffee Lake processors running on older motherboards based on Intel's Z270 and Z170 chipsets. Even though Coffee Lake is pin compatible with older LGA 1151 motherboards, the official word from Intel is that the power requirements differ, and as such Coffee Lake only works in newer motherboards based on Intel's Z370 chipset. [T]here is a forum post on that outlines how it can be done. It is a fairly involved process and specific to ASRock motherboards, which the modders claim "have proven to work well" with the steps that are outlined. In short, getting a Coffee Lake processor to run in an older motherboard requires making tweaks to the CPU's microcode, the iGPU's UEFI GOP driver, and some Management Engine bootstraps. The modders were able to get a Core i3-8300 processor to boot in a couple of older boards, but not a Core i7-8700 chip. That is a higher core chip, of course -- six cores instead of four -- which seems to suggest that the power issue is related to driving higher core counts.

Modders Get Intel's Coffee Lake CPUs To Run On Incompatible Motherboards

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  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2018 @09:51PM (#56219975)

    Kudos to the modders for making the i3 series even work; that's a pretty cool feat on a technical level.

    But I've got a i7 8700K; and I can't really imagine even wanting to hack it into an older motherboard... under any circumstances.

    Its sort of like figuring out how to install an american v8 into a Porsche 911. There's modders who do that... but I can't fathom why.

    • Re:i7-8700 (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 06, 2018 @10:40PM (#56220123)

      .. because the Porsche engines have a defect (the IMS bearing) that can destroy the engine at basically any time. A Porsche with a blown engine is cheap, and a GM V8 is also cheap, not to mention that it makes more power and weighs less than the original Porsche engine (though the GM motor's center of gravity might be a bit higher).

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Khyber ( 864651 )

        Uhh, AC being modded down for a correct answer to "I can't fathom why Porsche owners throw a non-Porsche V8 into it" is bullshit, oh ye idiots with mod points.

        Porsche had to settle a lawsuit regarding their shit IMS bearings, and it settled in 2013.

        Fuckwit mods.

      • Engines with the replaced IMS are usually fine, (and it's not too hard or expensive to do; but do it BEFORE it fails...)
        Otherwise your're pretty much right; but note sticking in that Corvette V8 is not as easy and cheap as the people who sell the kits make out.
        And...the kits are far from complete - you'll still need to buy a ton of stuff.
        Finally, after all that work, you end up with a Porsche with questionable resale.
        But....a lot of fun!

        Ah yes; make sure you get the LS (Corvette, Camaro) version not the LQ

      • It's not due to weight: I run an aluminum smallblock V8 from GM and I bet it's at least as heavy as any flat-six ever made by Porsche; the iron block V8's that most modders are likely to use are even heavier.
      • by vux984 ( 928602 )

        ".. because the Porsche engines have a defect (the IMS bearing) that can destroy the engine at basically any time"

        Replacing the IMS bearing is cheaper than putting a V8 into it. But I concede that if you've already blown the 911 engine... that it might be a cheaper way of putting what is left back on the road... although replacing it with a 911 engine with a fixed IMS would actually increase its value vs forever turn it into a worthless frankenstein.

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      Because who else has a Porsche running an American V8? Some people just like to tinker. Some do it with code, some 3d print drones, some build weird cars. These people are all cool as fuck.
      • Because who else has a Porsche running an American V8?

        Trust me, American V8's aren't that cool to a Porsche or Audi nut. From Wikipedia:

        The first motorcar in the world to have an engine with two overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder was the 1912 Peugeot L76 Grand Prix race car designed by Ernest Henry.

        My latest-gen all-aluminum General Motors V8 (with direct injection, variable valve-timing and cylinder deactivation)? It's a fucking pushrod engine with two valves per cylinder, which has been largely obsolete for how long?

        Even Ford finally abandoned the pushrod engine...

        • ...crude, heavy, inefficient, obsolete tech: often the perfect solution to a problem (in this case the problem of not having enough torque). :)
          • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

            .often the perfect solution to a problem... of not having enough torque

            is an electric motor.

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by EETech1 ( 1179269 )

      Yeah like a Corvette crate motor wouldn't be the best thing to happen to that piece of junk.

      Disclaimer: I worked for a Porsche collector, and I put a 700 hp 502 engine in his.

    • but I can't fathom why

      Usually because Force equals Mass times Acceleration.

    • There's modders who do that... but I can't fathom why.

      Back in the day we used to upgrade our microprocessors, leaving everything else as-is. AMD fans used to brag about this being a great reason to not use Intel.

      When those Celerons hit $75, it might well be worth it.

  • by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2018 @09:51PM (#56219981)
    I know playing and hacking tech for fun is a thing. But really why even bother trying this? it isn't like the motherboard is the most expensive component when doing an upgrade. Surely their are better projects to waste ones time on?
    • Re:why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2018 @10:11PM (#56220029)

      I know playing and hacking tech for fun is a thing. But really why even bother trying this?... Surely their are better projects to waste ones time on?

      Getting Linux to run on a toaster is of questionable value when a Raspberry PI is so inexpensive, but people still want to do it.

      It's called a hobby.

    • It’s not how I’d choose to spend my own free time; but if this is what they enjoy doing - then more power to them.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's like chess or football: it's a game that some people enjoy participating in and others enjoy watching, and that makes still others like yourself sit back, scratch your head and ask "why are you doing that?".

      When you start asking "why bother" keep in mind that ultimately practically everything comes down to "because it's fun" (eg this, apparently), "because not doing it leads to not-fun" (work, looking after your health) and "because the laws of physics as applied to my brain/body system made me" (and p

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Because Intel lied about their processors and chipsets in order to force adoption of newer, expensive motherboards that you don't need. And these folks proved it.

    • Re:why? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sg_oneill ( 159032 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2018 @11:58PM (#56220321)

      Its a hobby.

      It also shows up Intel as kind of being full of shit and intentionally going out their way to stop people simply doing a chip-swap upgrade to foist unnecessary MB upgrades. If you read the original discussion thread on the overclock forum, it appears intel has been a bit deceptive about pin outs in order to discourage people working this out.

    • >> "have proven to work well" with the steps that are outlined.
      "Work well" implies that they patched meltdown and spectre, and that it's slow as crawl.
      Intel processors, by defective design, cannot work well any more.

    • Windows licensing. Officially, new mobo + new CPU == new computer that requires a new OEM Windows license. Old mobo + new CPU == same computer, as long as you reboot it into full stability at least once before (and between) changing the video card & boot drive.

      So, it's not *just* $100-200 for a new mobo... it's $100-200 for a new mobo PLUS ~$89-189 for a new Windows license.

      For a home user, it's probably moot... Microsoft will let you voice-authorize the serial quite a few times before saying "no"... bu

  • Congrats, btw. But this is so bad. Intel is so stressed out at the moment from Spectre and Meltdown, and now this mess is being thrown upon them. There may just well be an actual meltdown in Intel Corp HQ.....
    • by Mouldy ( 1322581 )
      This isn't really a mess for Intel. This hack isn't for the faint hearted. Even the most seasoned PC-builders will not want to attempt to do this. They're not going to see their motherboard/chipset sales plummet because now all their customers are keeping their old motherboards.

      I think a couple of things will happen at Intel in the wake of this;
      The engineers at intel are probably just saying "huh, neat" or "I told you so"
      The lawyers will be checking they're not liable for a 'planned obsolescence' kind
      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        "This isn't really a mess for Intel"

        This demonstrates that their entire bootchain is essentially compromised. It won't be too long before someone figures out how to automate this process and make it a distributable package with options to select your chipset and motherboard vendor.

    • I may not know an Intel coffee lake from an EU milk lake, but my question is this:

      Intel MIGHT be forced to offer a replacement for Coffee lake chips without the Meltdown feature, and if these could be plugged into older motherboards, could some of us be happy to plug in a (paid) replacement from Intel into our old mobos, rather than resort to good old lynchings?

      There may be other reasons for lynching Intel CxOs, I am not in a position to comment on that either.

  • by Anonymous Coward

  • Could you atleast attempt to prove that this mod is a worthwhile effort by posting some benchmark scores. I'm guessing these systems aren't stable enough to run most benchmarking suites reliably and even if they do the scores won't be much better than the same class of chip that Intel spec'd for that generation of motherboard.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @04:53AM (#56220765)

    Who would buy flawed hardware from Intel at this point when new chips that supposedly fix meltdown issue are supposedly only months away?

    If I were in the market for new hardware right now I would seriously be looking to AMD.

    Personally starting to get tired of Intel's antics.

    - Failing to own up to Meltdown and false equivalences
    - ECC not available on normal non-xenon processors
    - Having to fuck with inf files to get "desktop" chipsets to work on server versions of Windows
    - Management engine comparatively nobody uses yet everyone gets to suffer thru vulnerabilities.
    - Stunts like TFA

  • by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2018 @10:40AM (#56221487) Homepage Journal

    The forum post [] gets it right.

    They cannot and did not make tweaks to the microcode. They took the coffee lake microcode blob from Intel and put it into the older gen board. So that board was presenting the right microcode for the CPU.

Programmers do it bit by bit.