A New Socket and New Chipsets

There’s no nice way to put this: Sandy Bridge marks the third new socket Intel will have introduced since 2008. The first was LGA-1366 for the original Nehalem based Core i7. In 2009 we got LGA-1156 for Lynnfield, later updated with support for the dual-core Clarkdale CPUs launched in 2010. Next year, Sandy Bridge will launch with LGA-1155.

The CPU and socket are not compatible with existing motherboards or CPUs. That’s right, if you want to buy Sandy Bridge you’ll need a new motherboard.

As is the case today, there are two lines of chipsets for consumer desktops: H and P series. The H series supports Sandy Bridge’s on-die graphics, while the P series is strictly for discrete graphics.

At launch we’ll have P67 and H67 based motherboards, both of which are in testing right now. A quarter later we’ll see value H61 motherboards added to the mix.

Chipset Comparison
  P67 H67 H61 P55 H57 H55
CPU Support Sandy Bridge LGA-1155 Sandy Bridge LGA-1155 Sandy Bridge LGA-1155 Lynnfield / Clarkdale LGA-1156 Lynnfield / Clarkdale LGA-1156 Lynnfield / Clarkdale LGA-1156
CPU PCIe Config 1 x 16 or 2 x 8 PCIe 2.0 1 x 16 PCIe 2.0 1 x 16 PCIe 2.0 1 x 16 or 2 x 8 PCIe 2.0 1 x 16 PCIe 2.0 1 x 16 PCIe 2.0
RAID Support Yes Yes No Yes Yes Mp
USB 2.0 Ports 14 14 10 14 14 12
SATA Total (Max Number of 6Gbps Ports) 6 (2) 6 (2) 4 (0) 6 (0) 6 (0) 6 (0)
PCIe Lanes 8 (5GT/s) 8 (5GT/s) 6 (5GT/s) 8 (2.5GT/s) 8 (2.5GT/s) 6 (2.5GT/s)

With P67 you lose integrated graphics but you gain the ability to run two PCIe x8 cards off of the CPU. You also get fully unlocked memory multipliers with P67, whereas H67 is locked to whatever official DDR3 speeds Intel supports with Sandy Bridge (currently DDR3-1333).

Both H67 and P67 support 6Gbps SATA, however only on two ports. The remaining 4 SATA ports are 3Gbps. Motherboard manufacturers will color the 6Gbps ports differently to differentiate.

There’s no native USB 3.0 support on these chipsets, but most motherboard makers are looking to third party solutions to enable USB 3 on Sandy Bridge boards.

The other major (and welcome) change is the move to PCIe 2.0 lanes running at 5GT/s. Currently, Intel chipsets support PCIe 2.0 but they only run at 2.5GT/s, which limits them to a maximum of 250MB/s per direction per lane. This is a problem with high bandwidth USB 3.0 and 6Gbps SATA interfaces connected over PCIe x1 slots. With the move to 5GT/s, Intel is at feature parity with AMD’s chipsets and more importantly the bandwidth limits are a lot higher. A single PCIe x1 slot on a P67 motherboard can support up to 500MB/s of bandwidth in each direction (1GB/s bidirectional bandwidth).

With native 6Gbps SATA support, the faster PCIe interface will be useful for any third party USB 3.0 controllers.

Original Nehalem and Gulftown owners have their own socket replacement to look forward to. In the second half of 2011 Intel will replace LGA-1366 with LGA-2011. LGA-2011 adds support for four DDR3 memory channels and the first 6+ core Sandy Bridge processors.

A New Architecture The Roadmap & Pricing
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  • foundchild1 - Friday, August 27, 2010 - link

    "For example, today the fastest LGA-1156 processor is the Core i7 880. When Sandy Bridge launches early next year, the fastest LGA-1155 processor will be the Core i7 2600."

    Shouldn't the second one also read LGA-1156? Are they changing the pin count/socket for this 'tock'?
    Reply
  • foundchild1 - Friday, August 27, 2010 - link

    Well, that's me being an idiot and not reading the whole article first... New socket indeed. Reply
  • medi01 - Saturday, August 28, 2010 - link

    So intel has locked multtipliers because of some other evil companies, eh? To protect the consumers, right?

    What a shame... :(
    Reply
  • jfelano - Sunday, August 29, 2010 - link

    Did you even read the article???? Yes its s1155. Reply
  • wazzap123 - Thursday, November 18, 2010 - link

    The story of how caches are going to work in the 8+ core world is getting exciting. I like the overview at the daily circuit that summarizes how Niagara 3, Tilera Gx-100, and BlueGene/P processors weigh in on the issue too
    http://www.dailycircuitry.com/2010/11/progress-in-...
    Reply
  • dendysutrisna - Friday, August 12, 2011 - link

    The Apple iMac 21.5inch is a computer machine which uses the power of Intel Core i5-2400. Look at these page: http://www.bestdealscomputers.net/desktops/new-app... Processors like that, thanks to its strength, could draw the attention of everyone, even computer vendors at the level Apple also has without a doubt to hook them. Reply
  • Grooveriding - Friday, August 27, 2010 - link

    It's hard to wade through all this data so quickly. That said, as far as overclocking, the new 2011 socket will be the successor to 1366 ?

    I hope with all these new overclocking controls there will still be that mainstay $300 CPU that can overclock to some extreme performance. Meaning a successor to the i7 920/930 that can deliver the amazing performance those can overclocked.

    I hope this is not the death knell for such a CPU and Intel is expecting us to fork over $1000 for that performance level.
    Reply
  • BSMonitor - Friday, August 27, 2010 - link

    Good question, but judging by the road map, the Extreme and Performance segments are still Gulftown Processors. I think the 1366 stays for Gulftown. Reply
  • Casper42 - Saturday, August 28, 2010 - link

    On the 2P Server side of things, I have been told there will be a Westmere v2 coming in January 2011.
    This is probably the same family that will produce the i7 990 and the other 1366 chips on the chart that don't exist yet. The Xeon 5600 and 970/980 are damn near identical aside from QPI Links.

    Being those are being released in Jan, I wouldn't expect to see a socket 2011 desktop part until basically a year from now.

    They will once again be a close relative to the 2P Server family. The socket for the 2P Servers will be Socket R and will be Quad Channel memory as well as supposedly having PCIe 3.0.
    Reply
  • bitzao - Friday, August 27, 2010 - link

    Yeah but.... will it run Starcraft II ? (on medium) Reply

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