Ivy Bridge chipset specs come into focus

Everyone is excited about Intel’s upcoming Ivy Bridge CPUs. There’s good reason, especially since the next-gen processors will be able to slip into some existing motherboards. Most Ivy Bridge systems will probably be built up on fresh mobos based on Intel’s incoming 7-series chipsets, though. Otherwise known as Panther Point, the 7-series chipsets will be Intel’s first with native USB 3.0 support.

We got our first taste of Panther Point’s capabilities back in March. Now, CPU World has published more extensive details on individual members of the 7-series lineup. Consumers will reportedly have their choice of H77, Z75, and Z77 chipsets. All three are supposed to offer four USB 3.0 ports in addition to 10 USB 2.0 ports. Like Intel’s existing 6-series chipsets, four of Panther Point’s SATA ports hail from the 3Gbps generation. Only two ports will enable 6Gbps speeds.

The same RAID support will purportedly be available in the H77, Z75, and Z77. However, only the 77-series models will come equipped with SSD caching via Intel’s Smart Response Technology. Support for multi-GPU configurations appears to be the primary difference between the H- and Z-series designs. Only the Z75 and Z77 are said to be capable of splitting Ivy Bridge’s 16 lanes of PCIe 3.0 connectivity between a pair of graphics cards. While the Z75 will be limited to dividing those lanes into a dual-x8 config, the Z77 will also be able to run them in a x8/x4/x4 setup.

Thanks to the extra bandwidth available in gen-three PCI Express, the Z77’s x8/x4/x4 config may support three-way CrossFire and SLI setups. Such configurations are likely to be rare, but I can see the appeal of running a dually graphics config alongside a super-fast PCIe SSD. The Z77 may be capable of hanging all those components directly off the CPU.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    It would be interesting to compare these new chipsets’ USB 3.0 performance with the AMD SB950’s, seeing as AMD is pretty good on paper but a little weak on actual implementation. By the way, are AMD’s AHCI problems finally solved? I can’t seem to get clear information regarding it being fixed. And what about SATA 3.0 performance compared to Intel? Nonetheless, USB 3.0 is seeing quick adoption, which is positive news.

    What I don’t like about the way Intel prices its chipsets, though, is the way Intel seems to offload some of the K-series processors’ prices to the chipsets. Take the H67 and Z68 chipsets, for example. The only thing/s Z68 adds is overclocking support and SRT, but boards that come with Z68 are roughly $50 more expensive than H67 boards. Unfortunately, if you buy a K-series CPU you’d be crazy to pair with it an H67 board. Sure, P67 is a bit cheaper, but not my much and you throw away video output so it’s not exactly a fair comparison (not that the comparison between H67 and Z68 is totally fair either, since Z68 also throws in SRT). So that S210 2500K isn’t really $210. You can think of it as actually being $260, but with the $50 lopped off and included in the Z68 motherboard’s price to make the 2500K seem cheaper for the unlocked multiplier.

    • cynan
    • 8 years ago

    So how will the Z77 be functionally different than the current crop of “GEN3” Z68 motherboards (ie, Asus P8Z68-V PRO GEN3)?. I’m not really seeing any added/improved features.

    Did I miss something?

    [i<]Edit[/i<]: Okay, okay. Other than native USB 3.0. Name one single additional/significantly proved feature.

      • Peldor
      • 8 years ago

      PCI-e 3.0 and 3-monitor support are the other new pieces I’ve seen mentioned.

      I’m not sure what you are expecting out of the new chipsets. I suppose Thunderbolt support would be new and flashy.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        PCIe 3.0 doesn’t go through the chipset – it’s a direct link between the CPU and the PCIe slot on the mobo.

        • cynan
        • 8 years ago

        The “GEN3” moniker on the newer Z68 boards indicates PCIe 3.0 support. So nothing new there.

        And as far as the triple monitor support, I thought that was due to the updated on-chip graphics in Ivy Bridge itself, not the Panther Point chipset. Is there any reason why you couldn’t run multiple monitors on Z68 boards with more than 1 video out with an Ivy Bridge CPU?

    • jdaven
    • 8 years ago

    Finally, the power of 3!

    DDR3
    SATA3
    PCIe3
    USB3

      • Farting Bob
      • 8 years ago

      Cant wait to play MW3 and BF3 on it!

        • pedro
        • 8 years ago

        Diablo III for me.

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          Morrowind?

      • thermistor
      • 8 years ago

      Like the three hot witches on that Charmed show. Alyssa Milano, ah, never mind…any and all.

      • jackbomb
      • 8 years ago

      And all powered by a 3rd gen Core i3!

      • pedro
      • 8 years ago

      All sitting on a GIGABYTE Ultra Durableā„¢ 3 Technology motherboard.

    • Voldenuit
    • 8 years ago

    Any word about overclocking support? Will all 3 chipsets be able to OC (hypothetical) unlocked -K chips? Also, will intel fix their IGP/transcode calls so that you can use hardware acceleration for encoding video even if you have a discrete GPU (yes, Lucid does this now, but it’s not without its bugs and performance penalty. A native implementation would be preferred)?

      • stupido
      • 8 years ago

      my questions too…

      • ronch
      • 8 years ago

      I expect the H chipsets to replace the H67 and the Z chipsets to replace the Z68.

      Edit : Typo

      • Peldor
      • 8 years ago

      Anand’s preview from back in May ( [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/4318/intel-roadmap-ivy-bridge-panther-point-ssds/2[/url<] ) said that all three consumer chipsets would allow overclocking. I haven't seen anything about QuickSync with discrete graphics yet. Would be nice.

    • Frith
    • 8 years ago

    I wish they’d support more SATA ports. If you need more than six you have to use a PCI card, which results in a mess of wires in your case. Since the wires run to an expansion card it’s very hard to get them looking tidy.

    Meanwhile I think 10 USB ports is pretty pointless. I suspect the number of people who have 10 USB devices is pretty low, and if you do need more ports you can just get a USB PCI card. USB expansion cards don’t have any internal wires so don’t create the same mess SATA expansion cards do.

    I personally think they’ve got their priorities backwards and we need more SATA ports.

      • yokem55
      • 8 years ago

      The folks that want more SATA ports are people running biggish RAID arrays, and those sort of folks tend to be enterprisey, and thus are pushed into buying enterprisey gear at enterprisey prices.

        • Spotpuff
        • 8 years ago

        Yeah like PCI-E raid cards.

        I agree 6 ports is a bit low though and would like 8-10.

          • Kurotetsu
          • 8 years ago

          Then you’re in luck! Intel has an X79 motherboard to sell you.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 8 years ago

            No, they cut all those extra ports out of the X79 chipset. Go read TR’s review of SB-E motherboards:

            [quote<]Like the bulk of Intel's 6-series lineup, the X79 has dual SATA controllers: one with two 6Gbps ports, and another with four 3Gbps ones. [/quote<] [url<]https://techreport.com/articles.x/21993[/url<] They only time you'll see more than 6 ports on an Intel-powere motherboard right now is if it has an extra controller on the board like a Marvell solution.

        • Deanjo
        • 8 years ago

        Not necessarily, many of these folks just want to have a lot of capacity for their media center servers which isn’t enterprise at all.

      • ermo
      • 8 years ago

      Just being curious here, but are you worried about the ‘mess’ from an aesthetic standpoint or a practical (airflow) standpoint? Because I’m fairly certain that the aesthetics of the cabling doesn’t matter to the data going to and from the storage devices…

      Personally, I’m not too fussy about how the internals of my machines look, as long as the airflow is decent and I don’t cut my hands when installing and upgrading. But then again, I’m not the kind of guy who buys a monster case with a big window on the side either.

      Ah well. To each their own.

        • stdRaichu
        • 8 years ago

        For me the main problem with <6 SATA ports is typically that any SATA not made my Intel (or, to a lesser extent, AMD) is a slow and buggy pile of pants. Marvell, JMicron and Silicon Image SATA ports, either built into the motherboard or on a PCI/PCIe card, run the gamut from mediocre to piss-poor.

      • Kurotetsu
      • 8 years ago

      I’m willing to bet that the number of people who have 10 USB devices is a whole lot more than the number of people who need more than 6 hard drives in their desktop. Especially with 4TB hard drives floating around.

        • SPOOFE
        • 8 years ago

        There’s a whole lot more random, weird, silly, cheap stuff to plug into USB ports, too. SATA ports pretty much just take (relatively much more expensive) HDDs/SSDs.

        • Deanjo
        • 8 years ago

        It is usually neater and easier to use a powered USB hub instead of crawling around trying to plug everything into the back of a desktop. A lot of those devices also only have at most a 3 foot cord and are often too short to use the back ports.

      • Deanjo
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]I wish they'd support more SATA ports.[/quote<] Amen. That has been my biggest beef with the chipsets for a while. I don't need a dozen USB ports, I do however need more SATA ports especially since they stopped putting on ide connectors and stopped using ide for optical drives.

      • bcronce
      • 8 years ago

      I’d like at least 4 SATA6gb ports. 3 SSDs is what I’m aiming for. 80-120GB primary(OS) drive, with a 160-240GB storage(games/etc) and a 40-60GB swap.

    • indeego
    • 8 years ago

    Give me cool/quiet/mid-to-upper tier CPU/GPU + PCIe SSD Drives + Small Form Factor (1 ft by 1 ft.) No drive bays needed at all. No Optical. I have converted all my optical disks to USB months ago.

    No laptop because crap screens are always attached. Just a raw beast portable desktop system would be great.

      • Farting Bob
      • 8 years ago

      Why should i give you these things? You have to earn them by doing chores around the house.

      • pedro
      • 8 years ago

      And a nice case to put it in…

      • pedro
      • 8 years ago

      And a horrible case to put it in…

    • yogibbear
    • 8 years ago

    So… any idea on a release date? I’d like to do my next build around Ivy Bridge and the Nvidia 680GTX or whatever terrible name they decide to muster. I can wait till probably May-June ish.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      Last rumors were IB in March, and I presume (though don’t know) that chipsets come along with it.

    • flip-mode
    • 8 years ago

    deleted – seriously, I submitted the first post and it didn’t show up even after refreshing the page a few times so I though I’d mistakenly deleted it. Post a second time and the first post shows up.

    Be kind to me, thumbers.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 8 years ago

      I’ve seen that happen quite a few times. I’m not sure if it’s limited to first posts or not, but it’s certainly obvious when it happens to those. The phantom post always shows up eventually, but sometimes it takes quite a while.

    • flip-mode
    • 8 years ago

    Hmm… Krogoth not very impressed by Ivy Bridge. Krogoth fairly impressed by Sandy Bridge though. Ivy Bridge not enough of an upgrade.

    Edit:
    No, Krogoth changes mind. Krogoth not even impressed by Sandy Bridge, so why to be impressed by Ivy? Wake Krogoth when Haswell.

    [quote<]Sandy Bridge is getting too many accolades. It is just the final product of Intel's goal of intergrating core logic onto the CPU. It all started with Nehalem. Calling it the biggest architectural change since Netburst is a bit too much. It is really just an extremely evolved Conroe. IMO, the last architectural change from Intel was Conroe. Ivy Bridge is looking like the next generation. It is fast? Of course. Does it do it with better power efficiency? Indeed. Is it enough of a gap to be worth upgrading over the previous generation? Depends on your needs. IMO, the intergrated graphics is Sandy Bridge's greatest asset. It yields enough performance for mainstream gamers. It is Intel's preemptive strike at AMD's Fusion. Anyway, the upcoming Haswells will be more impressive.[/quote<] [url<]https://techreport.com/discussions.x/20188?post=526810[/url<]

      • yogibbear
      • 8 years ago

      I’m tired of this crap. It is almost as bad as the skyrim memes.

        • flip-mode
        • 8 years ago

        I don’t know any skyrim memes so I had to stick to the Krogoth meme. I thoroughly enjoy memes, but I can understand that other people don’t.

        By the way, I think the above quoted post is the one that really kick Krogoth into meme-worthy territory. That’s where I posted this response to him: [url<]https://techreport.com/discussions.x/20188?post=527059[/url<]

        • Forge
        • 8 years ago

        I used to be a gloomy nay-sayer like Krogoth, but then I took an arrow to the snark.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 8 years ago

          Y U NO GET PLUSSES?

          • ronch
          • 8 years ago

          This ‘i took an arrow..’ thing is gonna be the next wave.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            How about bucketheads?

            • ronch
            • 8 years ago

            Bucketheads?

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        Anything Skyrim is pure and good

        EDIT: except going to work after just 3h of sleep

          • flip-mode
          • 8 years ago

          Not sure if relevant…

          or just memeless.

        • ronch
        • 8 years ago

        I think this Krogoth meme is getting long in the tooth. Give the guy a break.

        • Chrispy_
        • 8 years ago

        I used be tired of the skyrim memes too, until I took an arrow to the knee.

      • flip-mode
      • 8 years ago

      If memes get minuses, do youyous get pluses?

        • PenGun
        • 8 years ago

        Depends, the >>——> is both a plus and a minus.

      • FuturePastNow
      • 8 years ago

      This is a tick, and you want a tock.

      The main benefit of the die shrink is power consumption, and it looks like that is way down in Ivy Bridge.

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