Intel C606 Express Chipset
Launched in March, 2012, The Intel C606 is a Workstation-oriented chipset that supports eight PCIe 2.0 x 1 ports, up to eight SAS 3 Gb/s ports, two SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and four SATA 3 Gb/s ports. It also features fourteen USB 2.0 ports, Legacy PCI, Intel RSTe, and hardware XOR acceleration for RAID.
Built on the 65nm process node, the Intel C606 Express offers much more than the Intel X79 Express PCH, allowing board manufacturers to simplify design and save on component cost, but it does cost more than its X79 Express sister. It supports Xeon E5 processors, which can bring eight cores plus HT, for 16 total processing cores in a single-socket desktop workstation.
The 2nd Generation i7 Processors for SKT 2011 are very similar to the previously released SKT1155 CPUs, but nearly everything offered in the SKT1155 platform has been doubled, including cache and core count. Going by the marketing material given out by Intel, the SB-E CPUs (as they are referred to in enthusiast circles) feature eight total processing cores with two having been disabled to keep power in check. Rather than a total of eight active cores we find six, but as these cores feature Hyper-Threading, they appear as twelve separate cores to the OS.
Meanwhile, the Xeon E5 CPUs start as quadcores, but go all the way up to hectacores with HT, for a total of 16 processing cores within Windows. The cache goes up as well, as more cores need more cache, but the cooling needed, and thereby power consumed, increases as well, with the high-end 8-cores having up to a 150 W TDP.
The PCIe on the CPU can be split many ways, including dual x16 links and a single x8 link at the same time, a single x16 link with triple x8 links, or a single x16 link with dual x8 and dual x4 links. Together, these options offer a lot of flexibility for multi-card GPU configurations while supporting up to five total devices connected directly to the CPU. While only four discrete GPUs maximum are supported in current multi-GPU rendering options, the 5th link can be used for an external RAID controller or other PCIe devices that are commonly found in high-end builds.
The Gigabyte X79S-UP5 WiFi does, of course, take advantage of the possibilities offered by the Intel C606 chipset, including full Xeon E5 CPU support, the 8-core Xeon E5-2687W that features 20 MB of cache, and a default 3.1 GHz speed with a TDP of 150 Watts. It also offers fully enabled SAS support over the desktop X79!