Intel typically releases fresh platform hubs, otherwise known as chipsets, with new CPUs. According to DigiTimes, Haswell and its accompanying 8-series platform hubs are due in April 2013, about a year after Ivy Bridge arrived with its 7-series chipsets. The site says this transition will also include a new LGA1150 socket that won’t be backward compatible with existing CPUs.
Code-named Lynx, the 8-series platform hubs will reportedly be much more power-efficient than the current generation. Fudzilla claims the new chips are projected to consume 50% less power on average than 7-series products. They’ll offer more connectivity, too. The site says we can expect four 6GBps SATA ports and six USB 3.0 ports in addition to the usual mix of other goodies. Intel will stick with second-generation PCI Express lanes, at least for the platform hub. Haswell-based CPUs should have plenty of gen-three PCIe built in.
Intel’s 7-series platform hubs boast dual 6GBps SATA ports and four USB 3.0 ports, so the 8-series upgrades are relatively modest. Still, the additional Serial ATA ports are long overdue; competing AMD products have offered six 6Gbps SATA ports for years.
To be fair, AMD’s current 6Gbps SATA implementation is slower than Intel’s. Perhaps AMD’s upcoming A85 platform hub will fare better. It adds ports, too; at the Computex trade show in June, we learned that the new chip will sport eight 6Gbps SATA ports in addition to six USB 3.0 ports. FM2 motherboards with the A85 platform hub are expected to hit the market this fall. They won’t be backward compatible with older CPUs, either.