X79 Extreme4 Features
With this new chipset Intel is replacing the venerable X58 that has been so popular with the enthusiast community. This new chipset brings a whole host of new features and upgrades to the table. Primarily it brings support for their new 2011 socket processors. These will be replacing their enthusiast level 1366 socket processors. These are processors that deliver server level performance but are aimed at the enthusiast level market. Please read the review that we wrote on these new processors here on this website.
This new chipset offers support for up to 64 gigs of quad channel, DDR3 memory. Quad channel was developed to enhance the CPU’s access ability and to therefore increase performance. These new boards are capable of up to 2400 MHz with overclocking and this will dramatically increase performance. These slots are located on either side of the CPU socket to reduce latency. If they were located on one side only the farthest slots from the CPU socket experience increased latency due to the distance. One issue that this might cause though is that some CPU heat sinks might run into clearance issues with taller RAM sticks. This is something to keep in mind when you’re choosing your CPU cooler and memory.
Intel has also included support for their Express Platform Controller Hub technology. This isn’t really new for Intel, but it is something that sets it apart from their competition. This technology makes use of a single chip as opposed to having a dual chip chipset. These boards don’t use a traditional North Bridge/South Bridge configuration, but instead use a single chip to process communications between the processor and the various interfaces and peripherals. This is important because it has the potential of reducing power consumption and heat generation. This should have the potential to also increase overclocking capabilities and improve overall stability. During our testing the heat sink that covers this Controller Hub never became hot to the touch. This is a huge improvement over the notoriously hot X58 platform. This new chipset also features support for 40 PCIe 2.0 lanes and 8 PCIe 3.0 lanes for graphical and expansion cards. This new PCIe 3.0 interface isn’t yet supported by Intel’s processors, so there currently won’t be any noticeable benefit of utilizing this interface.