Before we get into this new motherboard from Intel, let’s first have a look at the new chipset that it uses. This chipset offers support for Intel’s new 2011 socket processors and it offers a whole host of new or improved features over Intel’s previous chipsets.
This new chipset does not feature Intel’s popular Smart Response Technology. This is unfortunate but many vendors will likely introduce their own version of this technology onto their boards. It does however feature native support for SATA 3.0. This chipset also lacks native USB 3.0 support though. This is something that you would think would have been resolved by now. This isn’t a huge deal because most of the 3rd party USB 3.0 controllers are fairly good.
This has been a greatly anticipated upgrade from Intel’s previous flagship chipset, the X58 that supported their 1366 socket processors. One of the most impressive features of this new chipset is something that is immediately noticeable when you take one of these boards out of the box for the first time. I’m talking about support for quad channel memory up to a whopping 64 gigs, with speeds up to 2400 MHz with overclocking. This new feature alters the way these boards are set up because you will now have four ram slots on either side of the CPU socket. There is a foreseeable problem with this. With the way these boards are laid out now some CPU heat sinks are going to have clearance issues. This will be particularly true if you plan to use tall ram sticks in conjunction with a large CPU heat sink.
Another impressive feature of this chipset is that it uses a single Platform Controller Hub that provides all of the processor to interface communications. This isn’t really new; it just means that Intel is continuing to use a single chip to run communications between the processor and the various interfaces. Intel has led the way in this regard. AMD still uses a north bridge and a south bridge to relay information between the processor and the motherboard interfaces. This single solution has the potential of reducing overall power consumption and heat generation. Intel’s new chipset supports up to 40 PCI express 2.0 lanes for video card expansion as well as 8 additional lanes for PCI express 3.0. This will provide a tremendous amount of expansion and bandwidth for video cards and other peripherals that use these expansion slots.