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Intel Launches Z77 Motherboards, Preparing For Ivy Bridge

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the check-it-out dept.

Intel 58

MojoKid writes "In preparation for the arrival of their 3rd Generation Core processor products based on their Ivy Bridge microarchitecture, Intel has readied a new chipset dubbed the Z77 Express. New socket 1155 Ivy Bridge processors offer 16 lanes of PCI Express 2.0 or 3.0 connectivity on-die and they feature integrated dual-channel, DDR3 memory controllers with maximum officially supported speeds of up to 1600MHz. The processors are linked to the Z77 chipset via Intel's FDI (Flexible Display Interface) and 20Gb/s DMI 2.0 interfaces. The chipset itself is outfitted with 8 more PCIe 2.0 lanes, six ports of SATA (II and III), an integrated Gigabit MAC, and digital display outputs for up to three displays. Making its debut for the first time in an Intel chipset is also native USB 3.0 support with four USB 3.0 and ten USB 2.0 ports built in."

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Nice Spec - But.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39618401)

I can only hope that Intel in their esteemed wisdom allow more than 16Gb of Ram

AND

the MB manufacturers see fit to put a decent amount of Memory slots on the boards.

They probably won't though as this could be seen to be possibly eating intot their much more lucrative Server MBO business.

Re:Nice Spec - But.... (2, Informative)

rev0lt (1950662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39618469)

From what I've seen from the specs of the latest socket 2011 boards, they allow upto 64GB on desktop models, but I'm not shure I'd like to have that amount of RAM without ECC.

Re:Nice Spec - But.... (1)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 2 years ago | (#39618751)

That might be true for the 2011 Boards. A good number of them do seem to have 8 RAM Slots

I think what the OP was talking about was the MB makers releasing MB's with only 2 RAM Slots.
Then Intel has in the past released a cheapo chipset that was deliberately restricted in the amound of RAM that it supported.
Remember the MicroSoft Netbook Spec? Many makers implemented the RAM restrictions by using a low end chipset.

Re:Nice Spec - But.... (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39619307)

That's a good point. As the amount of the RAM continues to increase, so does the possibility for an error. At some point we might be looking ECC as a standard feature.

Re:Nice Spec - But.... (1)

rev0lt (1950662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39622987)

It already is a standard feature in many workstation lines (HP and such). Unfortunely, if you want ECC and an Intel CPU, you need to buy Xeon gear, so it gets expensive fast. There is no actual consensus in how reliable DRAM is, but articles like this http://www.zdnet.com/blog/storage/dram-error-rates-nightmare-on-dimm-street/638 [zdnet.com] reveal how important is to have at least some simple error-detection mechanism.

Z80 (3, Funny)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 2 years ago | (#39620167)

they allow upto 64GB on desktop models

Are you sure? The Z80 chipset only used to allow 64kB and the Z77 is presumably three models earlier.

Re:Z80 (2)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#39621231)

get with the times, man. the Z80 can do banked memory! under CP/M 3 systems you could have 16 banks *64kb = 1024kb of memory! A megabyte is more than enough for anyone.

Re:Z80 (1)

rev0lt (1950662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39622819)

The Z80 had no standard chipset :D It usually had some auxiliary IC's (mainly from intel), or some custom ASIC, such as spectrum's ULA. But hey, you could actually get Z80 to work with whatever RAM you wanted, using a paging mechanism (akin to EMS on early PCs).

Re:Nice Spec - But.... (4, Informative)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39618567)

Uhh, LGA1155 boards have been able to do 32GB of RAM since a year and a half ago, as had LGA1156 boards before that.

Re:Nice Spec - But.... (4, Informative)

slaker (53818) | more than 2 years ago | (#39618587)

I would certainly hope your servers have more than 16 gigabits of RAM.

As with most Intel chipset releases, there really isn't much to get excited about here. "Native" USB3 might be exciting to someone somewhere, but from a practical standpoint we've been getting USB3 on motherboards for the last couple years anyway, and extra PCIe lanes are for the most part only interesting to nutball gamers.

Z-series chipsets are enthusiast products. Basically all this stuff just integrates features that are already on $150+ motherboards into Intel's chips.

I give this a hearty "meh."

Re:Nice Spec - But.... (1)

rev0lt (1950662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39619239)

The extra PCIe lanes probably are the most exciting feature, since they can easily be converted to external PCIe. We're talking high-speed cpu->device interconnection, or even in some cases, cpu->cpu (upto 25m) interconnection, at a fraction of the price of 10G or competing technologies. From displays with embedded graphics card to external storage, the applications are much beyond the gamers realm.

Re:Nice Spec - But.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39619825)

Z-series chipsets are enthusiast products. Basically all this stuff just integrates features that are already on $150+ motherboards into Intel's chips.

I give this a hearty "meh."

You're fucking deranged. Integrating stuff that was previously done separately is basically the story of chip design in the last 40-50 years. It's the reason your mobile phone has gps/accelerometer/3d graphics/sound and it costs a couple of hundred dollars. You do remember when a floating point unit was a separate chip, right?

Re:Nice Spec - But.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39628191)

Don't bother. This is the same person who has said "Meh. Who needs that? This is just for nutballs who will never really need to use it." every single time something has happened in technology since the 8086 came out.

Re:Nice Spec - But.... (1)

Creepy (93888) | more than 2 years ago | (#39621293)

I think more importantly, Sandy Bridge has been in scant supply for several months due to a recall. I bought the last Sandy Bridge laptop at one store and nearly 2 months later they still don't have any 1080p or better 15 or 17 inch laptops in stock. Supposedly the supply will be back by mid-May, but I had heard many manufacturers were skipping replacing Sandy Bridge laptops since both Intel and nVidia had a chip refresh coming soon (Ivy Bridge and n600 respectively). I was in a bind though, because my laptop display had failed and other components (like the touch sensitive overlay) were failing and I was reluctant to sink $300+ into a 2 year old machine.

Re:Nice Spec - But.... (1)

QQBoss (2527196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39627975)

I think more importantly, Sandy Bridge has been in scant supply for several months due to a recall. ...

Ummm, no. The recall was back in January of 2011 and was fully resolved by April of 2011. [tomshardware.com] This is April, yes, but given that a year has passed between that April and this April, it is safe to assume that the recall induced issues are well behind us.

Any shortages of Sandy Bridge at this point would be more likely related to OEMs allowing current inventories to drain prior to the official release of Ivy Bridge based products.

Re:Nice Spec - But.... (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 2 years ago | (#39626137)

Servers?

From TFA:

"Considering the fact that the Z77 Express is designed for next-gen processors and targets the high-performance desktop segment"

Intel has Server chipsets and Desktop chipsets, not to mention protable and specialty chipsets - this is a desktop/workstation chipset, aimed directly at the "enthusiast" market.

Intel has a tradition of not creating server drivers for desktop chipset/MB combinations, I wouldn't expect any MB maker to use a performance desktop chipset for a server MB.

Re:Nice Spec - But.... (1)

Xanny (2500844) | more than 2 years ago | (#39627075)

More PCIE is great for servers. Expect the next 5 - 10 years see all the OpenCL / CUDA tinkering on the supercomputer market trickle down to other easily parallelizable tasks like web page generation, and we will migrate from clusters of 8 core budget processors to one rig with tons of PCIE bandwidth and quad GPUs doing all the work. Especially if they can get a combined ~24 gigs of ram with something like a 7970.5 with double the ram.

Re:Nice Spec - But.... (1)

RobbieCrash (834439) | more than 2 years ago | (#39651993)

Amen to that. Throwing multiple storage controllers on separate lanes would eliminate a lot of bottlenecks for me.

Re:Nice Spec - But.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39626061)

Sandy Bridge currently allows you to have 32GB of RAM. Ivy Bridge will likely double that.

First post by AMD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39618415)

I have an AMD CPU and I got here first!

Re:First post by AMD (3, Funny)

Falkentyne (760418) | more than 2 years ago | (#39618455)

I have an AMD CPU and I got here first!

Nice try, second place.

McDonalds Competition (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39618435)

Gigabit MAC? Yum. Gigs & Gigs served.

Is that all? (1, Funny)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 2 years ago | (#39618437)

I want frys with that, too.

Re:Is that all? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39618891)

I believe Fry's and Circuit-Shitty went out of business.

Re:Is that all? (1)

Omestes (471991) | more than 2 years ago | (#39620749)

Fry's is very much in business. And sadly is the only electronic component store in my area.

Thoughts of their customer service make me shudder.

Re:Is that all? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#39621239)

oh come on, you surely have a Radio Shack too.

Re:Is that all? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39625885)

You've got questions?

We've got blank stares.

Re:Is that all? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#39640377)

the Radio Shack by me has knowledgeable staff, they're actual electronic geeks

Ur trolling/pot calling a kettle black (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39625865)

FAILED BADLY Omestes -> http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2772023&cid=39612033 [slashdot.org] LMAO! You "OmessedUp", lol...

Re:Is that all? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39622853)

I want Fry's with that, too.

FTFY. Before someone bashes me for the apostrophe, it's a possessive.

Z71 (1)

OlRickDawson (648236) | more than 2 years ago | (#39618481)

Two hundred and seventy one different motherboards? Wouldn't that lead to market confusion?..... Oh Z71 Nevermind.

thunderbolt = only a x8 + x4 pci-e 3.0 slots (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39618519)

Now if a video card can't do pci-e 3.0 then it will only get X8 pci-e 2.0 speeds. As for duel x16 slots you may need to add a switch chip that puts out dual X16 pci-e 2.0. Most boards may have

Also the other pci-e slots / lanes (that get used by on board chips) + USB 3.0 + SATA 6.0 + gig-e may put a load on the DMI bus.

Re:thunderbolt = only a x8 + x4 pci-e 3.0 slots (5, Informative)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39618597)

Score: -3; Factually Incorrect

1) no, you get 16x PCIe 2.0 as a fallback if the card does not support PCIe 3.0
2) if you want SLI/CF, you can use either 8x PCIe 3.0 or 8x PCIe 2.0 for the two graphics card slots. No current graphics card saturates PCIe 2.0 8x, so this is more than sufficient for 2 way SLI/CF.
3) USB 3 and SATA 6 are not on the PCIe bus at all, so they don't leach bandwidth.

Re:thunderbolt = only a x8 + x4 pci-e 3.0 slots (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39619877)

No, GP is right and you are wrong.
RTFA.
1) if thunderbolt is enabled, you get one PCIe 3.0 x8 and Thunderbolt in x4 mode + the DMI bus which is electrically identical to PCIe 2.0 x4
2) First part is correct, 2nd is wrong. 680 and 7970 SLI/CF do measurably saturate 2.0 x8 in some games, it's only a few % but it's there.
3) Wrong. All 8 PCIe2.0 lanes, SATA2, SATA6G, USB2, USB3, GbE, ... go over the DMI bus (which is 2GB/s, see above or RTFA).

Re:thunderbolt = only a x8 + x4 pci-e 3.0 slots (5, Funny)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#39618731)

duel x16

En garde, all sixteen of you!

Re:thunderbolt = only a x8 + x4 pci-e 3.0 slots (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39624279)

Touché!

Why not all 3.0 USB and PCIe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39618627)

Intel is dragging their feet.

Smallest bump for mem speed, only up to 1600Mhz. They could offer 2133Mhz but they won't. They could offer more USB 3.0 ports, but they won't. They could offer more PCIe 3.0 but they won't.

They push slower interfaces now so they can later give more as an "upgrade". Lame.

Re:Why not all 3.0 USB and PCIe? (1)

gabereiser (1662967) | more than 2 years ago | (#39619003)

Go with what you know to be ready for the show... They likely will come out with more "hardcore" MB's after launch when demand for the processors skyrockets

Re:Why not all 3.0 USB and PCIe? (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39619659)

They can come out with as many "hardcore" boards as they want, and that will do nothing to change the fact that the Z77 chipset only adds 8 PCI-e lanes.

One nice RAID controller and you're done. Thanks a lot, Intel.

Re:Why not all 3.0 USB and PCIe? (1)

gabereiser (1662967) | more than 2 years ago | (#39620497)

I totally agree... but Intel is just milking the offerings by providing something now, then get the chips out, then offer something people wanted all along... so they get 3 transactions rather than 2...

QPI should be on all intel boards like AMD HT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39619643)

QPI should be on all intel boards like AMD's HT that is on all CPUs!

Re:QPI should be on all intel boards like AMD HT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39626283)

QPI should be on all intel boards like AMD's HT that is on all CPUs!

No, it shouldn't. LGA1155 and LGA1156 CPUs don't have QPI at all. As for LGA2011, only the Xeons have it enabled.

The only reason all AMD motherboards have HT is that AMD CPUs use HT to talk to southbridge chips. In the Sandy Bridge generation, Intel only uses QPI for CPU-to-CPU. Intel southbridges connect to the CPU through DMI, a modified and dedicated PCIe interface.

HT can provide better southbridge I/O performance than DMI, but in practice desktop users seldom run into DMI's limits. Which is probably why Intel feels no need to make QPI mainstream.

Re:Why not all 3.0 USB and PCIe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39626517)

Intel is dragging their feet.

Smallest bump for mem speed, only up to 1600Mhz.

Memory speed is a function of the CPU, not the chipset.

They could offer 2133Mhz but they won't.

You know this how?

They could offer more USB 3.0 ports, but they won't.

You know this how?

I'll let you in on a not so well known thing: USB3 controllers consist of an entire USB 2.0 controller, connected only to the legacy USB2 pins on the USB3 port, *plus* a new USB3 controller, connected only to the new USB3 data lines. Since USB3 borrowed much of its physical layer from PCIe Gen2, that means the additional circuitry includes the equivalent of a PCIe 2.0 SERDES (serializer / deserializer). Those are not cheap in terms of silicon area or power. So, the resources required for each independent USB3 controller are many times that required for USB2.

The questions Intel then has to ask itself are things like "what does the average user of this chipset need", and "how many users need tons of USB3". The answers obviously came up far short of justifying a USB3 controller for every port. Maybe in a generation or two, when the chipset moves to a new process...

They could offer more PCIe 3.0 but they won't.

No, they flatly could not. Those PCIe 3.0 lanes come direct from the CPU, not the chipset. Mainstream Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge share the same LGA1155 socket. The only way to get more PCIe 3.0 would be to dump LGA1155 and move on to a new socket.

(Had Intel done so, whiners like you would be bitching about the abandonment of LGA1155 instead.)

They push slower interfaces now so they can later give more as an "upgrade". Lame.

What's lame is ignorant people with no clue about engineering tradeoffs crying about everything which falls short of the "free unicorns for everyone" standard.

"Gigabit MAC" (2)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39618937)

I'm showing my age here, but I remember the days when MACs were only 48 bits.

Re:"Gigabit MAC" (2)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39619441)

I'm really happy with Gigabit MAC [maccosmetics.com] . This will probably make girlfriends and wives get ready faster than ever!

Awesome technology advances these days!

Re:"Gigabit MAC" (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39624825)

The bottleneck is not in the rate at which they purchase cosmetics.

Launching motherboards (3, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39618963)

I just have to say, back when I was doing a lot of hardware work, I would have happily launched 277 motherboards ... with a catapult.

Re:Launching motherboards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39619377)

That's a lot of motherboards.

Re:Launching motherboards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39620157)

Whew. Glad I'm not the only one who saw 277. :D

Re:Launching motherboards (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39621227)

I dunno, I think a 12-gauge and some sort of modified clay-pigeon apparatus would be more ideal.

For added irony, you could load the shotshells with machine screws instead of buckshot.

Slow down! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39618979)

Next year's obsolete shit (which this will be) will have to be stored in arizona of florida or some other backwards place. China's running out of land to fill.

Still only 8 lanes??? (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39619611)

What a waste of time.

Intel is now a CISPA supporter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39619637)

No thank you.

Grandma's rig (1)

rullywowr (1831632) | more than 2 years ago | (#39621139)

This will be perfect for Grandmothers everywhere to log on and check their hotmail accounts.

Re:Grandma's rig (2)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#39621253)

get real, the multimedia channels aren't up to recommended specs for her Ultraporn.

PCI-e on die is transformative (2)

nunley (760422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39622141)

I think a lot of commenters on this are missing the point that 16 lanes of PCI-e 3.0 directly on-die is going to be a massive boost to Native PCI-e NAND Flash implementations (Fusion-io, for example). One of the biggest hurdles to getting more productivity out of faster CPUs and the proliferation of sockets/cores is feeding data to those CPUs. The disparity here is staggering... CPUs have improved by over a million times where storage interfaces and devices have only improved perhaps 100x (being generous) in the same timeframe. This change puts many terabytes of native PCIe NAND flash memory in very close proximity to the CPU complex and will enable vastly more efficient applications.

Re:PCI-e on die is transformative (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39624849)

Did you read that off a marketing blurb from a NAND manufacturer?

Re:PCI-e on die is transformative (1)

nunley (760422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39630525)

No, but maybe I should start writing them.
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