With Intel's next generation processors firmly on the horizon, we should also turn to what motherboards will be on offer when we have the opportunity to root around in our pockets to invest in an next generation system.  With appropriate vendor support, 6-series motherboards will support these new processors with little more than a BIOS update, however to get the most out of the new processor, we have to look at the new range of motherboards about to hit the market.  This brief look at some of them is by no means an exhaustive list, however we would like to know what you find most interesting and would like to be reviewed over the next few months.

7-Series Chipsets

As with all of Intel’s major chipset releases, we have the opportunity to pick from a wide range of models to suit different needs, price points, or even business models.  With Sandy Bridge, we also had distinct segregation – H67 had IGP but no overclocking, P67 did not have IGP but overclocked, and Z68 had both.  Thankfully this time all the new chipsets have IGP outputs to take advantage of the IGP, and the main differences lie in PCIe configuration limitations and use of Intel’s Smart Response Technology:

Chipset Comparison
  Z77 Z75 H77 Z68 P67 H67
CPU Support IVB
LGA-1155
IVB
LGA-1155
IVB
LGA-1155
SNB/IVB
LGA-1155
SNB/IVB
LGA-1155
SNB/IVB
LGA-1155
CPU Overclocking Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
CPU PCIe Config 1 x16 or
2 x8 or
1 x8 + 2 x4
PCIe 3.0
1 x16 or
2 x8 PCIe 3.0
1 x16 PCIe 3.0 1 x16 or
2 x8 or
1 x8 + 2 x4
PCIe 3.0
1 x16 or
2 x8 PCIe 3.0
1 x16 PCIe 3.0
Processor Graphics Support Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Intel SRT (SSD caching) Yes No Yes Yes No No
RAID Support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
USB 2.0 Ports (3.0) 14 (4) 14 (4) 14 (4) 14 14 14
SATA Total (Max Number of 6Gbps Ports) 6 (2) 6 (2) 6 (2) 6 (2) 6 (2) 6 (2)

The beauty of Ivy Bridge predominantly comes in the form of PCIe 3.0, which should alleviate many of the PCIe bus bandwidth bottlenecks in multi-GPU setups, and native USB 3.0 on board.  Some vendors may expand these features – PCIe lanes may be increased through a PCIe 3.0 PLX chip (similar to NF200 on X58), or third-party USB 3.0 controllers will be added to the boards.  In this brief look over some of the 7-series motherboards, we will see both in action.  However that PLX chip looks fairly expensive.

ASUS
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  • shatteredx - Monday, March 19, 2012 - link

    Lovin to see wifi on the asus boards. That's a bigger selling point for me than dual nics. Actually, can someone explain to me why you would want dual nics? Reply
  • tkafafi - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    Why do the new intel chipsets (series 7) still contain so many (10) usb2 ports ? Would any PC/laptop manufacturer chose to use a usb2 port instead of anavailable usb3 port from the chipset ? for e.g would they use 2 usb2 + 2usb3 instead of 4 usb3 from the chipset ?

    I know PC manufacturers are using this configuration (2 usb2 + 2 usb3) because now they need to support usb3 through an external controller so they are saving cost by using a 2 port controller. But once series 7 chipsets arrive with native usb3 support, there would be no cost advantage to do this. Is this to derisk any interoperability issues with older usb2 devices (i.e if for some reason usb3 ports don't work well with some existing usb2 devices) ?

    Thanks
    Reply
  • ajeto - Saturday, May 26, 2012 - link

    Does any of you guys (or girls) know what is the maximum resolution you can get when you use two displays on integrated graphic ASUS P8Z77-V LE?

    I'm planning to use one 30" and one 24"
    I know that max 2560x1600 can only be achieved via DisplayPort so i was planning to get an Active DisplayPort to DVI-D converter...

    Do you think it would work to get 2560x1600 and 1900x1200 simultaneously on my displays?

    Thank you for any kind of info
    Reply
  • ajeto - Sunday, May 27, 2012 - link

    Yes multiple displays are working (two at least, that i've tried), BUT i only get max 1280x800 on 30" via DVI. This should be 1900x1200 as stated in specifications.

    The other (24") display is working at correct 1900x1200 (via HDMI)

    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention i am using i5 3570K
    Reply
  • ajeto - Sunday, May 27, 2012 - link

    Funny that it works fine on two 24" @ 1900x1200, but if i use 30" i can only get 1280x800 as max on 30" and 1900x1200 on 24"

    I also tested this and it works:
    30" on 8600GT @2560x1600
    24" on integrated @ 1900x1200 (HDMI)
    and even additional (which i connected just for testing purpose and i wont be using it)
    24" on integrated @1900x1200 (DVI or VGA)

    but the thing is i would really like to get rid of 8600GT and use just integrated graphics (no need for 3D accel) so that's why i wanted to buy Dell-BizLink-DisplayPort-Adapter-Powered to use DisplayPort on MoBo.

    But since i only get 1280x800 from DVI to my 30" i'm kinda afraid it might not work even with DisplayPort ... :(

    Any ideas/solutions greatly appreciated..
    Reply

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