This is Intel’s latest enthusiast level chipset that will be replacing their X58 chipset. Before we start taking a look at this particular board from Gigabyte let’s first go over some of the features that this new chipset has to offer.
Right from the start you can tell that this is something special. There are ram slots now on either side of the board that gives you the ability to install up to a whopping 64 gigs of DDR3 memory. This will allow for some really heavy video and graphical rendering power and it will also allow for speeds up to 2400 MHz with overclocking. It also brings a new memory architecture to the table called quad channel. This is supposed to produce better addressing capabilities for the processor. We’ll have to see if this is actually the case when we run our benchmarks. One downside to this new layout is that some CPU heat sinks may have clearance issues with taller ram sticks.
Another feature that this new chipset brings is that it supports Intel’s new 2011 socket processors. For a full review of these processors I highly recommend that you read the review by our editor Elric Phares to get a better understanding of how amazing these new processors are. These essentially are the new enthusiast line of processors that will be replacing the 990x. We were supplied a 3960x for our review and these processors produced some of the highest scores we’ve ever seen for a consumer level processor. Before these babies came out you’d have to get a Xeon to get this level of performance. In other words this consumer level processor produces server level performance.
Intel has also incorporated their Platform Controller Hub technology into this new chipset. This isn’t an entirely new feature but it does set this chipset apart from the competition. AMD still requires a North Bridge and a South Bridge on their motherboards. Intel is continuing to use a single chip to run communications between the processor and the various interfaces. In this way Intel has been able to reduce the overall heat and power requirements for their motherboards. This new chipset also supports up to 40 PCI express 2.0 lanes for graphical expansion cards as well as an additional 8 lanes for PCI express 3.0. This gives Intel the advantage when it comes to being ready for the next generation of video cards that we hopefully will get to see shortly after the first of the year.