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Intel Cougar Point — a line of chipsets for Sandy Bridge CPUs

Specification comparison of Intel chipset to support Sandy Bridge LGA-1155

Intel has released new chipsets to support Intel Sandy Bridge processors with LGA 1155 socket. At the moment, presented chipset, codename Cougar Point, for desktop solutions includes four models. This is the right time to make selection of a particular chipset, so let’s look at the main features of Cougar Point series chipsets.

Cougar Point chipset specification

Intel H67 and P67 chipsets are officially available starting from 9th of January, while on 20th of February Intel will introduce two more chipsets — Intel Q67 and B65 — and additional processor models with lower TDP value.

The most noticeable aspects includes next generation of DMI bus, providing processor access rates of up-to 20GB/s, additional FDI bus to support the integrated graphics processor as well two SATA 6GB/s ports. More details on chipset capabilities can be obtained from the flowcharts below:

Intel H67

Intel P67

Of all four models only Intel P67 chipset does not have support for Intel’s integrated graphics, instead, it provide overclocking features. If you don’t care about system overclocking, then the main thing you should be looking at, when making a choice, is the number of ports and support of RAID functions. Besides being more affordable, Cougar Point (apart from Intel P67) chipsets will allow you to use the integrating graphics system as a bonus feature. But remember, once you activate the discrete graphic card, the integrated graphics will be disabled automatically.

Conceding overclocking, the choice is obvious — currently the only motherboards that has full support for processor overclocking are the ones based on Intel P67 chipset.

All models has the basic clock (BCLK) locked at 100 MHz. This unusual limitation is somewhat described by the following slide:

Basic clock control flowchart for system based on Intel Cougar Point series chipset

Overclocking restriction are triggered by a rigid connection between the latter and control logic clock of system components.

The next slide demonstrates the main factors to pay attention to when making selection of motherboard chipset:

Selection factors for P67 and H67 chipsets

All in all, Intel H67 gives the opportunity to use integrated graphics processor, while you can forget about any kind of CPU overclocking. On the other hand, Intel P67 reveals all overlooking features, but requires to have a discrete graphic card.

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