Two interesting slides from Intel leaked today through TPU with the source being Hermitage Akihabara, the slides give the final specs and features of the upcoming Series 9 chipsets. Though there are no big surprises is does show all the features. The Intel series 9 chipsets will see two important chipsets for us Guru's, obviously the Z97 and later on Z99 chipset. Z97 will be split up into two SKUs, the Z97 Express, and the H97 Express chipset.
The Z97 and H97 Chipset
That makes Z97 the more high-end platform for current and upcoming Haswell based processors, including "Devil's Canyon" processors which have an improved heatspreader/TIM and are overclockable being unlocked. These two chipset will get three PCI-Express 3.0 slots connected towards the CPU, in configurations of x16/NC/NC (NC=No Card), x8/x8/NC, and x8/x4/x4. Z97 will support overclocking, H97 Express won't.
If we look a bit closer at the slides you will notice that Z97 and H97 will get legacy support for PCI-Express M.2 storage which is lovely, as PCI-Express M.2 has roughly 67% more bandwidth available opposed to SATA3 (6 Gbps). So that will definitely kick off a new SSD race in the upcoming months.
Obviously there will also be support for SATA 6 Gb/s ports, six of them with AHCI and RAID support. Rapid Storage Technology (RST) and Smart Response Technology (SRT). Z97 seems to feature something new called Dynamic Storage Accelerator (DST), likely a caching feature.
The X99 Express Chipset
We have already written a lot about Haswell-E and X99, this is going to be the stuff us enthusiast will run warm for.
X99 is developed for the 6 and 8-core DDR4 supporting Haswell-E" HEDT platform and is based on socket LGA2011-3 (this one is incompatible with the current LGA2011 btw). The motherboards based on X99 can support a whopping five PCI-Express 3.0 x16 which can be arranged in these slot configurations, x16/NC/x16/NC/x8, or x16/NC/x8/x8/x8 and yeah, even x8/x8/x8/x8/x8. A 4-way multi-GPU setup suddenly became very sexy.
X99 will bring a whopping 10-port SATA 6 Gb/s storage controller supporting RAID RST and SRT and SSD TRIM on RAID 0 configurations. Intel plans to launch the three around Q2-Q3, 2014.
Kudo's to TPU and Hermitage Akirahaba for picking up on this story.
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