Presenting Intel PCH Z68 chipset

Intel Z68 shows a combination of features from P67 and H67 chipsets. Among all innovations, Intel Smart Response technology come to the foreground

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Intel Copr. has officially presented Intel® Z68 Express chipset. New chipset is intended to support 2nd generation of Intel Core processors, also known as Sandy Bridge with Socket LGA 1155.

Intel PCH Z68 diagram

If we to compare Intel Z68 with earlier announced Intel H67 and PCH Р67, then you can clearly see the novelty shows a combination of features from the last two chipsets.

Intel PCH P67 diagram Intel PCH H67 diagram

Intel PCH H67 stands out by having Sandy Bridge Integrated Graphics Processor (IGP) support, at the same time being low on overclocking possibilities. On the other hand, Intel PCH P67 provides great overclocking features, but does not allow you to use IGP. In return it brings you support of multi-GPU configs of discrete graphics cards: single PCIe x16 lane can be used as two PCIe x8 lanes. Inherited from P67, Z68 includes FDI bus, that connects the motherboard to IGP while CPU overclocking capabilities and support for multi-discrete card setups were adopted from P67.

Besides, Intel PCH Z68 based motherboards use Lucid Virtu technology. The essence of it lies in opportunity to utilize both integrated and discrete graphics at the same time. Virtu switches between two of them in reference with currently active application. The main profit of Virtu technology can be seen as reduced power consumption and in demand for general purpose computing. Lucid Virtu is a software, therefore, motherboard manufactures that has purchased appropriate license can equip its Intel PCH Z68 based products with such a technology by simple BIOS update.

In spite of formal TurboBoost capabilities, true overlooking on Z68 boards still requires processor models with unlocked multiplier.

Among all innovations, Intel Smart Response technology come to the foreground. This feature speeds up traditional hard drives by using SSD as a cache for frequently used information. In the end, it is worth to note that new chipset supports RAID arrays of more that 2.2TB.

Other than that Intel PCH Z68 specs corresponds to ones of earlier announced chipsets:

  • 1x PCIe x16 16GB/s lane or 2x PCIe x8 8GB/s lanes
  • 8x PCIe x1 5Gb/s lanes
  • 2x SATA 6GB/s ports
  • 2x SATA 3GB/s ports
  • 14x USB 2.0 480Mb/s ports

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