Intel 9-series chipsets may not be backwards compatible with Haswell

By on August 27, 2013, 10:30 AM

Intel's current generation of 'Haswell' processors, as well as the upcoming 'Broadwell' processors, will share the same LGA1150 CPU socket. However, the upcoming 9-series chipsets designed specifically for Broadwell may not be backwards compatible with Haswell, and the current 8-series chips designed for Haswell may not support Broadwell, which could cause a headache for motherboard manufacturers.

According to documentation obtained by VR-Zone, there are slight changes in the implementation requirements of the two processor families. Specifically, Broadwell processors require slightly different connections between the socket and chipset, mostly to facilitate a new power source called VCCST. If motherboard manufacturers implement these changes in their boards with 9-series chipsets, Haswell processors will likely be incompatible.

VR-Zone also speculate that Haswell Refresh processors, expected to be released in a few quarters, will bring minor platform changes that could be compatible with 9-series chipsets. With three different families of processors - Haswell, Broadwell and Haswell Refresh - all using the same CPU socket, but not necessarily supporting the same motherboards and chipsets, OEMs may find it difficult to advertise and explain incompatibilities.

Other information from the report indicates that 9-series chipsets will support SATA Express, the recently finalized specification that brings 2 GB/s of bandwidth. DDR4 memory may also be supported with Broadwell, although conflicting information makes it hard to definitively confirm or deny.

Broadwell is the 14nm die shrink of Intel's Haswell microarchitecture, expected for release sometime in the second half of 2014, alongside new 9-series chipsets.




User Comments: 9

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EEatGDL said:

OK, now if that comes true I'll be very mad at Intel. I just bought my i5-4570S and was hoping to upgrade to Broadwell's i7 using the same mobo; but if they do support DDR4 I'll consider changing everything again.

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

OK, now if that comes true I'll be very mad at Intel. I just bought my i5-4570S and was hoping to upgrade to Broadwell's i7 using the same mobo; but if they do support DDR4 I'll consider changing everything again.

This has long been a criticism of Intel. One thing people love about AMD is being able to upgrade your processor without buying a new motherboard. Intel changes sockets with almost every processor iteration. Why go through the effort of making an old socket work when most of your processors are sold on new PCs that will rarely even be opened up? It's not like anyone shopping on Dell.com knows the difference. They might be a little confused as to why they have to chose a new model to get a different processor instead of it being a customizable option, but that's about it.

EEatGDL said:

Yes, we know about the socket thing with Intel; but this time they are not even changing it!! Just the chipset on the same socket. I wasn't going to wait more time (I had a Conroe Core 2 Duo) for something better and AMD hasn't refreshed its processors line in a while.

JC713 JC713 said:

Well, SATA express and DDR4 are big leaps.

1 person liked this | hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

OK, now if that comes true I'll be very mad at Intel. I just bought my i5-4570S and was hoping to upgrade to Broadwell's i7 using the same mobo; but if they do support DDR4 I'll consider changing everything again.

This has long been a criticism of Intel. One thing people love about AMD is being able to upgrade your processor without buying a new motherboard. Intel changes sockets with almost every processor iteration. Why go through the effort of making an old socket work when most of your processors are sold on new PCs that will rarely even be opened up? It's not like anyone shopping on Dell.com knows the difference. They might be a little confused as to why they have to chose a new model to get a different processor instead of it being a customizable option, but that's about it.

Easy Amd cpu/motherboard upgrades only satisfies the, "This is good enough for me" crowd. The rest of us want real performance. FYI, the easy AMD upgrades are only there because their CPU architectures don't change enough to warrant a major chipset/socket change. And with AMD discrete GPU's, AMD only lowers their price when their sales and/or performance is down compared to nVIDIA. See: 5000 series.

MrBungle said:

I haven't actually upgraded processors while using the same motherboard in years... unless you purchase a CPU that is very low end for the platform their doesn't seem to be much point.

1 person liked this | dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

This has long been a criticism of Intel. One thing people love about AMD is being able to upgrade your processor without buying a new motherboard.

Not actually true of AMD's last two sockets.

Socket FM1 ( 905 pins in 31x31 grid) supports only one generation of Llano APU's

Socket FM2 ( 904 pins in 31x31 grid) supports Trinity/Richland APU's (and Kaveri when it launches). Not backwards compatible with Llano.

tonylukac said:

I think there really are few people who ever upgrade their processor, and I am never going to upgrade windows again without buying a new machine after the disaster that is windows 8.

Geforcepat Geforcepat said:

Surpise surprise

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