Intel leak confirms plans to launch an enthusiast Z390 chipset for Coffee Lake

There are plenty of Z370 motherboards on the market to pair with Intel's Coffee Lake processors, along with some other options based on a few lower end chipsets that Intel recently introduced. Sometime in the near future, however, Intel will launch a new enthusiast Z390 chipset, as the company inadvertently revealed on its website.

We assume it was inadvertent anyway, because there's still no official announcement, and the product brief is no longer live on Intel's website. Nevertheless, Anandtech was able to capture all of the pertinent information before things went dark.

So, what can you expect from Intel's Z390 chipset? It's not a huge upgrade over Z370, but does add two main things—one is support for up to six USB 3.1 Gen2 (10Gbps) ports, and the other is built-in 802.11ac wireless networking.

Intel is basically fleshing things out for its enthusiast offering. If you recall, when Coffee Lake first launched, the only option was Z370. While it made perfect sense to pair a high-end chip like the Core i7-8700K with an enthusiast chipset/motherboard, the same wouldn't necessarily be true if buying a lower end and cheaper processor.

To address that market, Intel more recently launched a handful of additional chipsets supporting Coffee Lake, including H370, B360, and H310. While lower on the totem pole, they included features not found on Z370, including built-in wireless bits and USB 3.1 Gen2. That's were Z390 comes into play.

Z390 includes all of the same features found in Z370, such as overclocking and Intel Optane Memory support, and adds the newer stuff that Intel built into its more recent lower end chipsets.

Once Intel formally introduces its Z390 chipset, Z370 will be in a bit of a weird place. That could lead to some interesting sales on Z370 motherboards, which could be intriguing if you don't mind USB 3.1 Gen2 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity being offloaded to third-party solutions.

In the meantime, if you're looking to build now, check out which motherboards we think are best for gaming.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).