Intel's 8th generation Core processor family is officially here (more details at Intel), though only in mobile form at the moment—the Santa Clara chipmaker formally introduced a handful of low-power laptop processors this morning. In doing so, Intel also let slip some details about its 8th generation Core desktop processor lineup, which can be found on press renders of its Core i5 and Core i7 retail packaging.
Nathan Kirsch, the eagle-eyed founder of Legit Reviews, spotted some interesting details after zooming into the product images. One of them is that Coffee Lake in desktop form will in fact require a new motherboard based on Intel's 300 series chipset, as previously indicated by ASRock. Even though the pin count is expected to be the same as Kaby Lake (LGA 1151), upcoming Coffee Lake processors will not work in today's 200 series motherboards.
"Requires Intel 300 series chipset-based motherboard," the retail packaging states.
This is a somewhat risky move by Intel. Requiring a new motherboard could drive some users in need of an upgrade toward AMD and its Ryzen lineup, or even Threadripper if they're willing to pony up a bit extra.
Perhaps in recognition of this possibility, Intel is increasing the core count on its 8th generation processor lineup. As PCWorld notes, all recent Core i7 desktop processors have 4 cores and 8 threads, but its Core i7 Coffee Lake chips will feature 6 cores and 12 threads, making them a bit more attractive next to Ryzen. That's especially true for gamers, as Ryzen has not been able to out-muscle Intel in games.
The Core i5 line will also make the jump to 6 cores, though it will lack Hyper Threading.
One final thing to note from the retail packaging—Coffee Lake will continue to use the same "Intel Graphics 630" graphics currently found on Kaby Lake. The one change is that the 8th generation packaging includes the prefix "UHD" instead of "HD." Intel hasn't revealed any details on availability, other than a target of "this fall."