Intel Z68 chipset rumours start

K and Z were sitting in a tree…

AMIDST CONCERNS THAT Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors will lack much in the way of overclocking it seems like Intel might’ve come up with a solution that will appease the masses. We’ll take this with a grain or two of salt for now, as the leaked slide covering what is set to be a new performance chipset from Intel doesn’t quite look like an Intel slide, but that doesn’t mean we won’t entertain the thought of such a chipset being launched.

The slide posted over at Chiphell presents the Intel Z68 Express chipset, a model we haven’t heard about to date and it seems a little late in the game for Intel to add another chipset to the LGA-1155 platform considering we’re less than two months away from the launch of Sandy Bridge. Then again, it’s no fun if you don’t have something else to follow up with later in the year, right?

As you can see, most of what’s presented on the slide are exactly the same features that you get from the P67 chipset, with a couple of minor exceptions. For starters, the Z68 chipset lists performance overclocking as one of its features, for the processor, memory and integrated graphics. As the Z68 chipset supports integrated graphics, it’s actually some kind of franken-hybrid between the H67 and P67 chipsets. We’re not sure how many high-end users would even care about this feature, although we can’t but wonder why embedded DisplayPort support is listed under the supported display interfaces. We’re not sure what “Built-in Visuals Support” stands for, but it might just be related to Intel’s Clear Video technology.

The one feature that looks really interesting is RST SSD Caching, where RST stands for Rapid Storage Technology. If this is what we think it is, it’ll allow you to use an SSD as a cache drive while using a hard drive as the main storage drive. We’ve seen solutions like this in the market via various hardware solutions already and it’s not too farfetched that Intel would integrate such a feature in its chipsets. With RST driver version 10.5 Intel will also support RAID with hard drives larger than 2.2TB. What’s missing is native USB 3.0 support, so it seems like Z68 based motherboards will still have to rely on third party USB 3.0 host controllers.

As far as the overclocking features we can only speculate that Intel either didn’t include the clock gen in the chipset and as such will allow the motherboard manufacturers to pick their own solution, or that they added a solution that allows for base clock overclocking, albeit possibly only up to a certain limit. This would make the Z68 chipset an ideal companion with Intel’s K series processors for the ultimate in unlocked processor overclocking. On the other hand, the Z68 chipset would also be suitable for the multiplier locked Sandy Bridge processors which won’t overclock much at all using Intel’s other chipsets for the platform. It will be interesting to see what Intel’s price premium will be for the new chipset though, as apparently it should cost a lot of extra to be allowed to overclock your system, at least going by Intel’s X-series of CPUs.S|A

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