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Today we say farewell to our series of Intel-based Motherboard Memory Lane articles on HWBOT, having exhausted history’s quota of Intel Chipsets from the Intel P965 platform to the present day. All of which leads us to the current mainstream Intel platform, the Z270 chipset that was in fact launched just a few months ago. The Z270 chipset arrived with a new Kaby Lake series of backwards compatible processors and the hope of improved overclocking capabilities. Let’s take a look at the chipset, the processors and motherboards, plus a few of the outstanding scores that have been submitted to HWBOT.
First announced back in August 2016, the new Z270 platform was officially launched in January 2017. The Z270 Platform Controller Hub (PCH) was designed as a direct replacement for the previous Z170 that had arrived in August of the previous year. Whereas the 100 series, (codenamed Sunrise Point) included six PCH offerings with Q-,B-,H- and Z- offerings, the 200 series used the codename Union Point and featured five PCH models; the Intel Z270, Q270, H270, Q250 and B250. All members of the Union Point family had specific feature limitations in terms of PCIe lane count and connectivity options. The Z270 remains the high-end model - boasting a full complement of connectivity it is the only family member that allows full CPU and memory overclocking.
A direct comparison of the Intel Z270 PCH and its predecessor reveals very little difference. In short the two main differences are that the Z270 platform offers 24x PCI gen 3.0 lanes direct from the PCH compared to 20x lanes with the Z170. One other new feature that end users can enjoy with a Z270 motherboard is support for Intel Optane Technology. The additional PCIe lanes can be regarded as Intel’s acknowledgment that motherboard vendors were keen to expand support for faster M.2 drives, bringing more bandwidth to the PCH specifically for that reason.
Welcome back to our Motherboard Memory Lane series. This week we’ll actually be looking at a platform that should remain pretty fresh in the memory of most overclockers - the relatively recent Intel Z170 platform. The Intel Z170 platform arrived alongside a brand new batch of Skylake architecture processors just under three years ago and remains a popular platform today. Let’s once again take a look at the motherboards and processor models that were popular in this era, as well as a few of the most exceptional scores and submissions that were made by overclockers on HWBOT.
In the minds of most enthusiasts the newly arrived Skylake architecture processors replaced the previous generation Haswell and Devil’s Canyon architecture chips. This due to the fact that its true predecessor, the Broadwell architecture, basically failed to turn up as a desktop PC option. For most us, Skylake replaced Haswell, just as Z170 replaced Z97.
The Intel Z170 platform officially landed on August 5th 2015, sporting a new CPU socket and a new line of CPUs. Aimed the mainstream PC market, Z170 was eventually joined by several other PCH variants that include the Intel H110, B150, Q150, H170 and Q170. The Z170, as with all Z-series PCH models, was aimed at the enthusiasts and was the only one (at launch) to support CPU multiplier and BCLK overclocking.
We continue our Motherboard Memory Lane series today with a look at the Intel X99 platform. Arriving with a new and updated LGA 2011 socket and three new Haswell-E processors, the Intel X99 platform remains at the heart of Intel’s HEDT lineup today. Let’s take a look at the PCH itself and the feature that it brought, as well the most popular X99 motherboards, processor models and the outstanding scores that were made during the era.
First a recap. The Intel X-series of High End Desktop (HEDT) platform chipsets began with the X38 chipset in 2007 which was codenamed Bearlake. This was followed up by the Bearlake refresh X48 platform in early 2008. By the end of 2008 we had Tylersberg and the iconic X58 platform that dominated the HEDT space for years to come. In late 2011 we finally received Patsburg and the X79 platform. This was replaced by the X99 platform in 2014 which was codenamed Wellsburg.
It’s that time of the week once again when we take a nostalgic look back at an Intel platform of note. This week we wind back the clock just a few years to revisit the Intel Z97 platform that arrived around the middle of 2014. Paired with the Haswell refresh that was Devil’s Canyon, it remains an important time in motherboard history and one that many will associate with the rise of the MSI Gaming brand. Let’s focus on the new features that the Z97 platform heralded, the boards that were popular at that time, plus a few of the record scores that were made by overclockers here on HWBOT.
If we compare the Intel Z97 PCH with its predecessor the Z87 PCH you may well have to look hard to find any tangible differences. Both chips belong to the same platform family - Lynx Point, which also included the non-overclockable H97 PCH. All Lynx Point chipsets supported Intel 1150 LGA Socket processors with DDR3 memory at stock speeds of 1,600MHz and above. Multiple GPUs were connected via 16 lanes of PCIe Gen 3.0, divisible in the same 1x 16, 2x 8 and 1x 8 + 2x 4 configurations.
The Motherboard Memory Lane series returns today with a look at the Intel X79 platform and the era of Sandy Bridge-E and Ivy Bridge-E architecture processors. The X79 platform was in fact the first update Intel’s High-Performance Desktop (HEDT) segment since the launch of the aging Intel X58 platform. As usual we will examine the platform itself, the most popular motherboards and CPUs of that particular era, and the record scores that were made.
The Intel HEDT platform became wholly refreshed with the arrival of the X79 platform. HEDT describes a high-end, high-priced offering for enthusiasts that simply want the most powerful system that money can buy. The platform included the promise of hexa-core computing with enough PCIe lanes to support maxed out multi-GPU configurations, plus quad-channel memory.