Monday, January 10th 2011

Intel LGA2011 Socket, X68 Express Chipset Pictured

Here are the first pictures of Intel's new high-end CPU socket, the 2011-pin land grid array (LGA2011). A selection of pictures of an unannounced motherboard by MSI made it to the internet. LGA2011, coupled with a new chipset, the Intel X68 Express, will drive the company's new high-end and enthusiast-grade processors that feature 6, 8, or 12 cores, and quad-channel DDR3 memory controllers. At first sight, the LGA2011 is huge! Its retention clip looks to be completely detachable by unhooking the retention bars on either sides. With all LGA sockets till date, you needed to unhook one retention bar, letting you open the retention clip along a hinge.

Since the processor has four DDR3 memory channels, there's room for only one DIMM per channel on a typically-sized ATX motherboard. On this particular motherboard, we can make out that there are two DIMM slots on either sides of the socket, accommodating two channels each. With this platform, Intel transferred the northbridge component completely to the CPU package, much like LGA1156/LGA1155. Therefore, the 32-lane PCI-Express controller is housed inside the CPU package. What remains of the chipset is a PCH (platform controller hub). Like P55/H55/P67/H67, the X68 is a PCH, a glorified southbridge. It will house a smaller PCI-E hub that handles various connectivity devices, a storage controller, a LPCIO controller, USB and HDA controllers, and the DMI link to the processor. We will get to know more about this platform as the year progresses.

Source: Zol.com.cn
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51 Comments on Intel LGA2011 Socket, X68 Express Chipset Pictured

#1
LAN_deRf_HA
So 4 ram slots? Good, was worried I wouldn't be able to get two more matching sets (my ram is EOL) by the time 2011 comes out.
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#2
blu3flannel
That's a pretty weird way to do the RAM slots, doing | | o | | instead of o |||| ( o is the socket and | is a RAM slot).
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#3
n-ster
quad-channel DDR3? cool :D
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#4
blu3flannel
Oh cool, so if I were ever to upgrade to this I would only need another kit of RAM, to make 8GB. Sweet!
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#5
Hayder_Master
ok i just want to know are them wrong or i am wrong, as i know can't quad channel be useful with 64 bit processors????
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#6
Completely Bonkers
by: blu3flannel
That's a pretty weird way to do the RAM slots, doing | | o | | instead of o |||| ( o is the socket and | is a RAM slot).
That actually not true at all.

The only reason we saw o |||| is because it was actually like this:

o - N - |||| where N is the northbridge (the memory controller).

Now that N is incorporated onto the CPU die, we can do o - |||| or || - o - ||

Now which one of the above has the shortest distance to the CPU and which one has the most consistent trace lengths? Remember that at high speeds you get all kinds of signalling problems if one memory is twice the distance from the CPU as the other. Inconsistent resistance, capacitance and crosstalk.

The second point is the internal structure of the new multi-core CPU and the internal QPI. You need to think of the memory layout as || - X - || where X is the multicore CPU, and one bank of memory is "closer" to one core and the other bank memory is closer to the other core. And the QPI deals with passing memory data from one side of the CPU to the other if necessary.
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#7
mtosev
by: LAN_deRf_HA
So 4 ram slots? Good, was worried I wouldn't be able to get two more matching sets (my ram is EOL) by the time 2011 comes out.
how can you make out that the board has 4 memory slots in thos blurry photos?
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#8
blu3flannel
by: Completely Bonkers
That actually not true at all.

The only reason we saw o |||| is because it was actually like this:

o - N - |||| where N is the northbridge (the memory controller).

Now that N is incorporated onto the CPU die, we can do o - |||| or || - o - ||

Now which one of the above has the shortest distance to the CPU and which one has the most consistent trace lengths? Remember that at high speeds you get all kinds of signalling problems if one memory is twice the distance from the CPU as the other. Inconsistent resistance, capacitance and crosstalk.

The second point is the internal structure of the new multi-core CPU and the internal QPI. You need to think of the memory layout as || - X - || where X is the multicore CPU, and one bank of memory is "closer" to one core and the other bank memory is closer to the other core. And the QPI deals with passing memory data from one side of the CPU to the other if necessary.
I just meant it's different than what I'm used to, but thanks for the informative post. :toast:
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#9
Yukikaze
by: hayder.master
ok i just want to know are them wrong or i am wrong, as i know can't quad channel be useful with 64 bit processors????
If you had one core, reading a single 64-bit value, with no prefetch and no cache, you might have had a very tentative point. With several cores per chip, relatively large cache line sizes and memory prefetch having quad-channel memory can be quite the help. Of course - the gains won't be all that big for run-of-the-mill apps (just like triple-channel didn't make dual-channel seem slow or obsolete), but they will be there for those who need them and can take advantage of them.
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#10
LAN_deRf_HA
by: mtosev
how can you make out that the board has 4 memory slots in thos blurry photos?
Xray vision. I see through your photoshopz
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#11
jellyrole
In the last pic if you look at the top RAM module holders, you can see 4 white blurs.
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#12
Octopuss
There's good chance these photos are fake. I don't trust any chinese bullshit anyway.
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#13
Hayder_Master
by: Yukikaze
If you had one core, reading a single 64-bit value, with no prefetch and no cache, you might have had a very tentative point. With several cores per chip, relatively large cache line sizes and memory prefetch having quad-channel memory can be quite the help. Of course - the gains won't be all that big for run-of-the-mill apps (just like triple-channel didn't make dual-channel seem slow or obsolete), but they will be there for those who need them and can take advantage of them.
as u say cuz i didn't see the tri channel fully use yet, so the quad channel will be useful with 12 cores maybe??
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#14
Yukikaze
by: hayder.master
as u say cuz i didn't see the tri channel fully use yet, so the quad channel will be useful with 12 cores maybe??
Triple channel is being used beautifully by server applications, which is where it belongs anyway. Same goes for Quad channel memory. They end up in enthusiast systems simply because they share a CPU-design with the server systems and they do make a small impact which the enthusiast crowd is automatically drawn to.
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#15
buggalugs
I believe there is 2 retention clips because the socket is big but mainly because of memory detection issues on socket 1366 boards.
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#16
Completely Bonkers
by: Yukikaze
Quad channel...
Just to add a bit more here. This isn't really "quad-channel" but rather it is a dual dual-channel. There are two independent sets of dual-channel memory feeding different cores. There is an internal ring-bus for forwarding memory data in the CPU to the relevant core.

Quad-channel would be better (simpler design) in a single core system.

Dual dual-channel is better (faster) in a multi-core situation where multiple cores are working independently.

[The theoretic bandwidth of the memory is the same, but dual dual-channels can be accessing different memory locations and forwarding the data directly to different processor cores simultaneously and independently. Whereas with quad channel, latency increases when the second memory request from the second core waits for the first to be completed then forwarded by the ring bus.] *

* I put that in brackets because I'm not 100% sure of the implementation in Sandy Bridge. It might use a mixed methodology, ie. using both approaches, depending on demand. We need to know more about how those cache controllers are memory controllers have been designed.
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#17
Animalpak
Forget the RAM think about the CPU socket, looks huge really.
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#18

Just curious, how much better is this X68 over P67 chipset. Need a comparison....
#19
HillBeast
I know why they blurred it out (to prevent too much info getting leaked), but why not just crop it down to what needs to be looked at? All they have done is made people speculate about the memory. I don't give a **** about the memory. I am on a Bloomfield Core i7 and I am STILL on dual channel and not once have I been begging for more bandwidth. I know there are people who care, but let's not talk about that. I want to see the CPU for cripes sake! That's the real hero here, not some piece of pre-release PCB.

by: TAViX
Just curious, how much better is this X68 over P67 chipset. Need a comparison....
My suspicions are not by much. I'd suspect it would maybe have more SATA/USB and a slightly faster PCI-e bus, but I doubt it'll wipe the floor with P67. I am willing to bet they will be interchangeable if someone was nutty enough (not pin for pin, but someone could be crazy enough to make LGA2011 work on P67). Just a guess anyways.
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#20
buggalugs
by: TAViX
Just curious, how much better is this X68 over P67 chipset. Need a comparison....
Theres also Z68, the overclockable 1155 boards coming soon.

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/2010/11/22/intel-z60-express-leak/1

But i would guess they are similar, X68 will have slightly higher memory bandwidth with the quad channel and slightly better pci-e performance with 2, 16x slots.
Posted on Reply
#21
theonedub
habe fidem
by: Completely Bonkers
That actually not true at all.

The only reason we saw o |||| is because it was actually like this:

o - N - |||| where N is the northbridge (the memory controller).

Now that N is incorporated onto the CPU die, we can do o - |||| or || - o - ||

Now which one of the above has the shortest distance to the CPU and which one has the most consistent trace lengths? Remember that at high speeds you get all kinds of signalling problems if one memory is twice the distance from the CPU as the other. Inconsistent resistance, capacitance and crosstalk.

The second point is the internal structure of the new multi-core CPU and the internal QPI. You need to think of the memory layout as || - X - || where X is the multicore CPU, and one bank of memory is "closer" to one core and the other bank memory is closer to the other core. And the QPI deals with passing memory data from one side of the CPU to the other if necessary.
If that's the reasoning I wonder why this arrangement wasn't used on SB motherboards or even Lynnfield boards where the NB is already integrated? Or is it because those are dual channel boards?

Id like to hear more about these boards, officially anyway.
Posted on Reply
#23
entropy13
by: Bjorn_Of_Iceland
maybe they should make it like this instead
._
|o|
LOL So you want the RAM to surround your socket, CPU and therefore the heatsink as well? :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#24
Cuzza
Being released in the year 2011. Does Intel have that much time on there hands that they can engineer a socket to have a desirable number of pins, rather than a number that is convenient and works for the technology? Or is it simple coincidence?
Posted on Reply
#25
bear jesus
Interesting setup but i assume it will cause even more clearance problems with big coolers when used with tall ram.

I really look forward to seeing how the LGA2011 chips perform.

by: Cuzza
Being released in the year 2011. Does Intel have that much time on there hands that they can engineer a socket to have a desirable number of pins, rather than a number that is convenient and works for the technology? Or is it simple coincidence?
I would assume it's just a coincidence kind of like the Nvidia 480 having 480 cuda cores.
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