A couple of days ago we revealed that ASUS had published a list of its upcoming motherboards on the currently unofficially announced Z390 chipset. While we know a little bit about what can be expected from the upcoming Intel 300-series platform, newly revealed slides from two sources give a broader insight into the new Z390 chipset. Along with the info, timing for the new chipset was set during Q3/Q4.

Intel Z390, Z370 and Z270 Chipset Comparison
Feature Z390 Z370 Z270
Max PCH PCIe 3.0 Lanes 24 24 24
Max USB 3.1 (Gen2/Gen1) 6/10 0/10 0/10
Total USB 14 14 14
Max SATA Ports 6 6 6
PCIe Config x16
Memory Channels (Dual) 2/2 2/2 2/2
Intel Optane Memory Support Y Y Y
Intel Rapid Storage Technology (RST) Y Y Y
Max Rapid Storage Technology Ports 3 3 3
Integrated 802.11ac WiFi MAC Y N N
Intel Smart Sound Y Y Y
Integrated SDXC (SDA 3.0) Support Y N N
DMI 3.0 3.0 3.0
Overclocking Support Y Y Y
Intel vPro N N N
Max HSIO Lanes 30 30 30
Intel Smart Sound Y Y Y
ME Firmware 12 11 11

With a lot of speculation surrounding Z390 and if it's a rebranded Z370 chipset, on the majority, it would seem that way. Some of the key differences include up to six USB 3.1 Gen2 ports natively supported through the chipset, which on both the current Z370 and previous Z270 chipsets was non-existent. Another fundamental addition is Wi-Fi support with the Z390 featuring integrated 802.11ac Wi-Fi via Intel's new connectivity built-in. Speaking with vendors during previous chipset launches, this Wi-Fi addition still adds another $10-$15 to the final cost of the board. Another thing we now know is that the Z390 will feature a new Intel Management Engine Firmware revision with little known about what's going to be different over the previous ME 11 revision. The Z390 chipset is starting to take shape as what would have been ideal for Z370, showing Z390 as a more mainstream high-end platform.

The same set of leaks also show Intel's Coffee Lake Refresh processors are also set to debut in Q1 2019. All of Intel's planned desktop processors and refresh models will all be based on the 14nm process, with mass production of Intel's 10nm chips not expected until later in 2019.

For a more detailed look at what's expected with the new Intel Z390 chipset, click here.

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  • smilingcrow - Tuesday, July 31, 2018 - link

    Most boards won't come with the optional WiFi chip which is needed to give a complete WiFi solution and as you say you can just remove it and use whatever network hardware you like.
  • Peter2k - Tuesday, July 31, 2018 - link

    And if a customer wants a board with WiFi they can buy one.
    I have a Z170 with Mu-MiMo WiFi.

    Integrating it into the chipset has zero benefit for the desktop space and basically just adds cost for everyone.
    It's only really useful for mobile as it should save a few watts here n there.

    Again if its important for you, you can get plenty of boards with WiFi.

    Btw, IME ≠ WiFi
    The complaints stem from the fact that IME might use the WiFi hardware on a low level even when you deactivate it.

    Not sure anyone knows really, it's rather undocumented for a reason.

    What's known is that Intel Management Engine can use the network and send and receive data even if your OS has a firewall.
    We also know it still runs even when the PC is switched off.
    It's always on and has its hands everywhere in the system.
    Its it's own "computer" with it's own OS.

    Integrating WiFi with IME might be a bad thing not just because of paranoid people fearing the NSA, but because IME has it's own flaws hackers might exploit.

    For ethernet, that might not be so bad, at least there is usually a router in between, but WiFi?
  • boeush - Tuesday, July 31, 2018 - link

    How would the IME obtain the requisite WiFi SSID and authentication info, in order to connect? I'd guess if IME wanted to use WiFi, it'd need your help to explicitly enable/configure that feature in the UEFI...
  • smilingcrow - Wednesday, August 1, 2018 - link

    The baked in WiFi in the chip-set is only half a solution so if you don't want to use it you either don't buy the optional add in chip or remove the one that is bundled with your board.
    It's really that straightforward unless IME can magically work with only half the WiFi hardware in place which does make a good conspiracy theory though! ;)
  • ikjadoon - Tuesday, July 31, 2018 - link

    Intel Smart Sound is listed twice in the table, FWIW.
  • abrowne1993 - Tuesday, July 31, 2018 - link

    It's stereo
  • FreckledTrout - Tuesday, July 31, 2018 - link

    lol :)
  • Dug - Thursday, August 2, 2018 - link

  • jcc5169 - Tuesday, July 31, 2018 - link

    intel continuing to rip off its customers ..... recycling old crap
  • halcyon - Tuesday, July 31, 2018 - link

    Hey, but you can wait another 1.25 years for their upgraded Z470 chipset, with PCIe 3.0, no more PCIe lanes, dual memory channels and DMI 3.1.

    Intel was caught down by AMD with their pants down. They had no backup plan. They had gotten very lazy.

    Thank god for competition.

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