Final details of the new Intel 9-Series chipsets has appeared online, giving us the first full look at what we can expect from the chipset platforms. The upper end of the new sets will be the LGA1150 package, and a sole chipset for the LGA2011-3 HEDT platform. This means that we will be getting two new chipsets for LGA1150, the first being Z97 Express and the other being H97 Express. Z97 will be the focus for top-end hardware platforms, so will obviously come with support for the current Haswell line up, the upcoming Haswell refresh and Devil’s Canyon processors. There boards will feature up to three PCI-Express 3.0 slots wired to the CP in configurations of x16/NC/NC, x8/x8/NC, and x8/x4/x4. The Z97 chipsets will feature support for overclocking and while the H97 is similar in most respects, it will lack overclocking support and the PCIe configurations of the Z97 chipset.
Both the new chipsets will come with a range of up to date features, this includes support for super quick PCI-Express M.2 storage, six SATA 6Gb/s ports (with AHCI and RAID support), Rapid Storage Technology, Smart Response Technology, but only the Z97 will feature Dynamic Storage Accelerator. The H97 will offer Small Business Advantage (SBA) exclusively. With both chips packing 8-lane PCI-E gen 2.0 root complexes which will run onboard devices, 14 USB ports and six USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports.
Ready to kick things up a notch? Good! The X99 Express hardware is designed for the upcoming Haswell-E HEDT platform and feature the next-gen LGA2011-3 socket, which is unfortunately incompatible with current LGA2011 chips, but it looks like the upgrade may be worth it. X99 chipset motherboards will support up to five PCI-E 3.0 X16 slots wired to the CPU, this will allow for x16/NC/x16/NC/x8, x16/NC/x8/x8/x8, or x8/x8/x8/x8/x8 configurations. This means you’ll be able to have a PCIe SSD as well as a quad-GPU configuration in your system. If that isn’t enough for you, then you’ll also find a staggering 10-port SATA 6 Gb/s with RST and SRT support coming from the storage controller and SSD TRIM will be supported on RAID 0 configurations. The 8-lane PCI-Express gen 2.0 root complex will be used to run onboard devices like it does in the Z97/H97 hardware, and comes with support for 14 USB 2.0 ports and 6 USB 3.0 ports.
Expect to see the new chipsets and motherboards hit the market Q2-Q3 this year.
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