MSI Z170A Xpower Titanium Motherboard Modded To Support Intel 8th Gen Core Coffee Lake Processors

A determined user has managed to get an Intel 8th Generation Core processor (Coffee Lake) running on a Z170 chipset motherboard, despite claims by Intel that such a feat is simply not possible. With a little BIOS wizardry, the user successfully booted into Windows with a Core i3-8350K processor nestled into an MSI Z170A XPower Titanium motherboard, and posted images of his feat on Baidu.

MSI Z170A XPower Gaming Titanium

The modded BIOS sidesteps a restriction that Intel has placed on its hardware partners preventing them from supporting Coffee Lake processors Z270 and Z170 motherboards. That has been a point of frustration for customers, as Coffee Lake CPUs use the same LGA 1151 socket as Kaby Lake chips. However, Intel maintains that changes made to the power delivery require a new Z370 chipset motherboard.

Whether or not that is truly the case is not fully known. A few weeks ago, ASUS ROG product manager Andrew Wu said that Intel's Z270 chipset is actually compatible with Coffee Lake, and even though the power delivery is indeed different, ASUS would be able to support 8th Generation Core processors on Z270 motherboards with a BIOS update. So in essence, Wu hinted at the lack of support being an arbitrary restriction, at least in part.

As for the user on Baidu, his modded BIOS is allowing him to boot into Windows using a Coffee Lake processor paired with a Z170 motherboard, and in particular MSI's Z170A XPower Titanium, which is a higher end model with premium components. However, the integrated GPU on the Core i3-8350K is non-functional, and the primary PCI Express slot does not work either. Both of those problems could be indicative of a power delivery problem, as Intel has claimed, or simply the result of a hacked BIOS that needs a bit more polish.