Monday, November 21st 2016

Intel Z270 and H270 Chipsets Detailed: More PCIe Lanes

Early 2017, a new wave of socket LGA1151 motherboards based on Intel 200-series chipset will launch, alongside the company's 7th generation Core "Kaby Lake" processors. The lineup will be led by the Z270 Express, targeting performance desktops, and H270 Express, targeting premium commercial desktops. The question on your mind probably is what sets these chipsets apart from the current 100-series Z170 and H170 chipsets. Here are some pointers.

To begin with, motherboards based on Z270 and H270 chipsets are assured to support Core "Kaby Lake" processors, out of the box. The 100-series chipset motherboards inventory with retailers may require BIOS updates, although some of the newer production batches could ship with the latest BIOS that support "Kaby Lake." Secondly, the Z270 and H270 support Intel Optane technology, a new breed of bleeding-edge performance SSDs based on the company's 3D X-point non-volatile memory, which is the very latest in sold-state storage, and purported to be the fastest. The chipets also support Rapid Storage Technology v15.
Thirdly, and this could be of more relevance to PC enthusiasts, the 200-series chipsets have more downstream (general purpose) PCI-Express gen 3.0 lanes. The chipsets have 14 downstream PCIe lanes; compared to 10 on 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 motherboard designers can cram in additional bandwidth-heavy onboard devices such as Thunderbolt and USB 3.1 controllers; additional M.2 slots, or just more PCIe slots with greater than x1 bandwidth. This takes the platform's total PCIe lane budget to 30, compared to 26 on the 100-series chipset motherboards.

What sets the Z270 apart from the H270 are the same things that set the Z170 apart from the H170. The Z270 supports CPU overclocking and multi-GPU by splitting the PCI-Express 3.0 x16 PEG port from the CPU into two PCI-Express 3.0 x8 slots using 3-way lane switches. The H170 lacks CPU overclocking and multi-GPU support. You should still be able to use a pair of AMD Radeon graphics cards on the H270/H170 by running the second card on the PCI-Express x16 (electrical x4) slots some motherboards feature, since AMD drivers support this; although the performance won't be optimal, as the second card will become a strain on the DMI chipset bus. Source: BenchLife.info
Add your own comment

21 Comments on Intel Z270 and H270 Chipsets Detailed: More PCIe Lanes

#1
Prima.Vera
At least the new chip-set is not a complete waste. :) :)
I will only upgrade to this platform if the mobo craps, otherwise no way Jose :) :)
Posted on Reply
#2
RejZoR
So, the only selling point they'll now have is "moar PCIe lanes". Seriously? How about not making Z170 such a turd 1 year ago?
Posted on Reply
#3
Athlonite
Still not enough PCIe lanes to do CF or SLI at x16 PCIe 3.0 per GPU though so still not worth it
Posted on Reply
#4
Grings
I just wonder if memory overclocking will be a bit better, this is usually the saving grace of one of intels underwhelming new releases

Right now on skylake 3200 seems to be the sweet spot not only on price, but also some boards and imc's struggle over this
Posted on Reply
#5
Assimilator
Athlonite said:
Still not enough PCIe lanes to do CF or SLI at x16 PCIe 3.0 per GPU though so still not worth it
These are PCIe lanes from the chipset, not the CPU. The mainstream CPUs "only" provide 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes, a number that's unlikely to ever be increased because then mainstream would start to intrude on HEDT.

And since PCIe 3.0 x8 is more than sufficient for any GPU available today, any 2-card SLI/CF setup isn't crippled on a mainstream platform. If you want more than 2 GPUs at their full bandwidth, you gotta buy HEDT.
Posted on Reply
#6
Grings
They are not going to give mainstream boards 2x16 pci-e when its a £180-200 optional extra on x99
Posted on Reply
#7
Chaitanya
Assimilator said:
These are PCIe lanes from the chipset, not the CPU. The mainstream CPUs "only" provide 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes, a number that's unlikely to ever be increased because then mainstream would start to intrude on HEDT.

And since PCIe 3.0 x8 is more than sufficient for any GPU available today, any 2-card SLI/CF setup on a mainstream platform. If you want more than 2 GPUs, you gotta buy HEDT.
With 6th gen Cpus Intel did increase the cpu pci-e lanes to 20. Though additional chipset pcie lanes can be useful for extra controllers or pcie ssds.
Posted on Reply
#8
zargana
I think, this announcement proves intel always targets the consumers pockets.
Posted on Reply
#9
R-T-B
I mean I'm kinda glad because it means my chipset gets more longevity.

But the other half of me is screaming something about tech stagnation and I can't shut him up...
Posted on Reply
#10
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
Athlonite said:
Still not enough PCIe lanes to do CF or SLI at x16 PCIe 3.0 per GPU though so still not worth it
Sound legit, except for the part where it isn't?


Pretty sure that 8 lanes at PCI-E 3.0 is enough to drive a modern GPU and that even using 4x 3.0 lanes off the PCH isn't as bad as you think it is. If you're complaining about 5%, you must be absolutely livid when games don't scale perfectly. :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#11
$ReaPeR$
Aquinus said:
Sound legit, except for the part where it isn't?


Pretty sure that 8 lanes at PCI-E 3.0 is enough to drive a modern GPU and that even using 4x 3.0 lanes off the PCH isn't as bad as you think it is. If you're complaining about 5%, you must be absolutely livid when games don't scale perfectly. :laugh:
exactly! pcie lanes are a bit overrated.. on the other hand, though i don't see how this fact warrants a "new" chipset.
Posted on Reply
#12
Solidstate89
Athlonite said:
Still not enough PCIe lanes to do CF or SLI at x16 PCIe 3.0 per GPU though so still not worth it
You straight up don't need that many lanes for SLI or CrossFire. Even a Titan X is nowhere near saturating 16 PCI-e 3.0 lanes. You can easily use x8/x8 with no performance drop.
Posted on Reply
#13
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
Chaitanya said:
With 6th gen Cpus Intel did increase the cpu pci-e lanes to 20. Though additional chipset pcie lanes can be useful for extra controllers or pcie ssds.
But those 4 lanes aren't available for use. They are used as a DMI interface with the chipset. This provides more bandwidth between the chipset and the CPU.

What using those 4 CPU lanes to connect to the chipset allows is in turn more PCI-E lanes connected to the chipset, for expansion like storage, as you mentioned. With the shift to PCI-E storage, more PCI-E lanes available for this is always good. What the Z270 chipset basically allows is an additional full speed M.2 slot over Z170. That is what those extra 4 PCI-E lanes amount to.
Posted on Reply
#14
ERazer
coming from sandy this looks appealing, i might actually upgrade.
Posted on Reply
#15
Psyphik
Assimilator said:
These are PCIe lanes from the chipset, not the CPU. The mainstream CPUs "only" provide 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes, a number that's unlikely to ever be increased because then mainstream would start to intrude on HEDT.

And since PCIe 3.0 x8 is more than sufficient for any GPU available today, any 2-card SLI/CF setup isn't crippled on a mainstream platform. If you want more than 2 GPUs at their full bandwidth, you gotta buy HEDT.
That's just not a good enough option when the next AMD chips are going to have 64 or 128 PCIe lanes
Posted on Reply
#16
R-T-B
Psyphik said:
That's just not a good enough option when the next AMD chips are going to have 64 or 128 PCIe lanes
Citation?

I believe what you'll quote is referring to server segment parts.
Posted on Reply
#17
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
Psyphik said:
That's just not a good enough option when the next AMD chips are going to have 64 or 128 PCIe lanes
That's a load of crap without a source because that's a ton of pins when the PCI-E root complex is on the CPU. The number of pins would have to increase by an easy 40% in order to do that which is a stretch to say the least. I think it's more realistic that there will be 32 lanes per CPU and that 64 might be available on a 2P server or 128 on a 4P server but, 64-128 on a consumer grade product... that's laughable to say the least.
Posted on Reply
#18
Homer_liu
I think it is a turn-point from SATA to PCIe although the new platform has 6 SATA ports. The new platform can support Optane technology and with much more PCIe lanes. So if Intel could release the Optane SSD on schedule, I think the DIMM SSD, PCIe SSD with Optane technology will have a breathtaking debut by then.
Posted on Reply
#19
Kostasb
Athlonite said:
Still not enough PCIe lanes to do CF or SLI at x16 PCIe 3.0 per GPU though so still not worth it
GA-Z270X-Gaming 9

Z270 SuperCarrier
Posted on Reply
#20
gabrielomana
I intend to create a rig to mine cryptocurrency. Can I use the new Z270 to connect 6 video cards (RX 470 Nitro) so they are working at the same time? With the Z170 only 4 GPU could be connected, because with the 5 or 6 GPU the PC froze or generated some other error, hence the question. It is important to clarify that the 6 Gpu are connected by Riser 1x.

In summary, does the Z270 have enough pci lanes so that 6 GPUs are connected and working at the same time, without affecting the performance of the motherboard by the saturation of the bandwidth?

Thanks in advance
Posted on Reply
#21
Jetster
There is also changes to the 14nm process. It is less transistor dense and a larger fin pitch reducing the heat which means higher base clocks.
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment