In January we will see a new wave of socket LGA1151 motherboards based on the Intel 200-series chipset launch alongside the 7th generation core “Kaby Lake” processors. This will start with the Z270 Express chipset leading the pack targeting performance desktops, then the H270 chipset targeting premium commercial desktops. I’m sure many of you want to know what the difference is between these chipsets and the current Z170 and H170 chipsets.
These new chipsets will support Intel’s 7th generation core “Kaby Lake” processors out of the box, while the 100-series chipset motherboards will need a BIOS update to support them. The new chipsets will also feature Intel’s new Optane technology, this is a new type of cutting-edge performance SSD technology based on the company’s 3D X-point non-volatile memory, which is the very latest in sold-state storage, and expected to be the fastest. The chipets also support Rapid Storage Technology v15.
One of the biggest differences is that the 200-series chipsets will have more downstream (general purpose) PCI-Express 3.0 lanes. The chipsets will have 14 downstream PCIe lanes compared to the 10 of the 100-series chipsets. The LGA1151 processor has 16 PCI-Express gen 3.0 lanes it sets aside for graphics, and four lanes that go to the chipset as physical layer of the DMI 3.0 chipset bus. This means that motherboard designers can add additional bandwidth-heavy onboard devices like Thunderbolt and USB 3.1 controllers, M.2 slots, or just more PCIe slots with greater than 1x bandwidth. So the total platform lane budget is 30, compared to 26 of the 100-series chipsets.
Z270 and H270 has the same differences as Z170 and H170. The Z270 chipset will support overclocking and multi-GPU setups while the H270 chipset will not.