Intel Z87 Chipset
New and fresh on the scene for June 2013 is Intel's latest Socket 1150 platform, with Intel's Z87 chipset taking the top-tier spot in chipset functionality and for performance options on this platform.
Most of the basic functionality offered by Intel's new Z87 chipset is quite similar to what was offered with Intel's Z77 Express, but there are more USB 3.0 ports, and they are faster too. All of the SATA ports provided offer SATA 6 Gb/s functionality. Intel's Z77 Express only had two ports at those speeds. There are also new power-saving features to keep power consumption at a bare minimum, and all of the features offered by the Intel Z77 Express. The chipset offers up to 5 GT/s PCIe speeds for fast access to peripheral devices and networking, with up to eight PCI Express 2.0 x1 ports that can be configured to act as x2-, x4-, or x8 ports. Intel's functionality diagram for the Z87 chipset is shown above.
The new 4th Gen Intel Core CPUs are 64-bit, multi-core chips built on a 22nm process; pairing with the Intel Z87 chipset enables the performance-tuning features of "K"-SKU CPUs, which allows the user to change the core-, graphics-, "ring"-, and memory frequencies independently. This allows you to clock up one part of the chip while running any other part of the chip at stock speeds. This is extremely useful for enthusiasts that like to overclock, as each part can be clocked and tested independently for the absolute most out of your chip if the time is taken to test everything fully. Users who prefer the simpler approach of past platforms can use it instead, ensuring everyone's needs are met. For PCIe connectivity, Intel Z87-based platforms allow the processor PCI Express 3.0 port to be configured into three different configurations: 1x16, 2x8, or 1x8 and 2x4. The third x8 and 2x4 configuration is primarily meant for use with Intel Thunderbolt Technology but can be used to support other devices as well.
Other TPU reviews will cover the CPUs themselves in more detail. We'll also separate reviews into each covering either GPU- or CPU performance.