Intel’s 11th gen CPUs might not be as backwards compatible as we thought

Empty motherboard socket

Ahead of Intel’s puported 11th generation CPU launch next month, it looks like 98ºc load temperatures aren’t the only thing to make you raise an eyebrow. According to its BIOS support page, Intel will also be leaning into its reputation for a lack of backwards compatibility by dropping support for select 400 series motherboards when its new range releases.

If you’re currently running a 10th gen CPU on a high end Z490 or H470 motherboard, you’re in luck, as a simple BIOS update will support the new processors should a CPU upgrade be on the cards for you. If you’re currently on B460 or H410 models, however, Intel has confirmed that these “chipsets are not compatible with upcoming 11th Gen Intel Core processors” – at least not in any official sense.

Intel’s habit of shifting to a new socket isn’t to blame for its lack of compatibility this time around, as some Comet Lake motherboards support the upcoming processors and some don’t. In fact, it’s difficult to pin down exactly why Intel has made this decision aside from a few VRM discrepancies that might not play nice with the upcoming CPUs, but we won’t know until they land.

It’s worth waiting to see how Intel’s 11th generation performs before deciding to upgrade, as the best gaming CPU is still firmly AMD.

The silver lining here is that all upcoming 500 series motherboards will support PCIe 4.0 SSDs, while just select Z490 models boast the same feature. Combined with other improvements, such as better power delivery, this should soften the blow for anyone that’s forced to upgrade.

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