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Intel X299 chipset motherboards
Intel X299 chipset motherboards
These are exciting times to be in the market for a new CPU. AMD is back in the game with its competitive Ryzen processors, while Intel has upped the ante in the enthusiast space with a refresh of its High-end Desktop (HEDT).
Spearheaded by the launch of Core X-Series processors, Intel is bringing more cores, more performance, more PCIe lanes, more memory and, well, more of just about everything to its latest and greatest consumer platform. And it's about time, too, as X99 was getting a little long in the tooth.
As you have no doubt heard, Core X-Series processors have been added to the Core i5 and Core i7 product lines, while the best-performing parts have been introduced under the all-new Core i9 brand. The range starts with a quad-core Core i5-7640X at $242 and later this year will extend to the 18-core Core i9-7980XE at $1,999.
Intel Core X-Series
|Skylake-X processor due later this year|
|Core i9-7980XE||18 / 36||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||2066||$1,999|
|Core i9-7960X||16 / 32||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||2066||$1,699|
|Core i9-7940X||14 / 28||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||2066||$1,399|
|Core i9-7920X||12 / 24||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||TBC||2066||$1,199|
|Skylake-X processors now available|
|Core i9-7900X||10 / 20||13.75||3.3||4.3||4.5||44||Quad||DDR4-2666||140||2066||$999|
|Core i7-7820X||8 / 16||11||3.6||4.3||4.5||28||Quad||DDR4-2666||140||2066||$599|
|Core i7-7800X||6 / 12||8.25||3.5||4.0||-||28||Quad||DDR4-2400||140||2066||$389|
|Kaby Lake-X processors now available|
|Core i7-7740X||4 / 8||8||4.3||4.5||-||16||Dual||DDR4-2666||112||2066||$339|
|Core i5-7640X||4 / 4||6||4.0||4.2||-||16||Dual||DDR4-2666||112||2066||$242|
The full range of Core X-Series processors is outlined in the table above, and further details are available in the relevant TekSpek, but the purpose of this article is to shed some light on the LGA2066 socket and supporting X299 chipset. As is often the case, Intel's new chips arrive in a revised package, ruling out compatibility with existing motherboards and putting greater emphasis on the capability of the new platform.
X299, then, is an opportune moment to refresh the enthusiast feature set and Intel does so in a few key areas. The link between processor and chipset has finally been upgraded from DMI 2.0 to DMI 3.0, resulting in speeds of up to 32Gb/s and interconnect parity with existing chipsets such as Z270. Juggling IO capabilities, X299 provides 10 USB 3.0 ports (up from six on X99) and 24 PCIe 3.0 lanes (up from eight).
Support for quad-channel DDR4-2666 is offered as standard, yet despite the upgrades, users should note that the feature set is in part predicated by the choice of CPU. Using a Kaby Lake-X processor such as the Core i7-7740K or Core i5-7640K will limit memory support to dual-channel configurations, and the available Core X-Series chips offer a choice of 44, 28 or 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes, resulting in some confusion in X299 expandability.
For example, an X299 motherboard equipped with a Core i9-7900X will offer a total of 68 PCIe lanes, allowing for ample graphics, storage or network expansion, making it an ideal combination for PCs outfitted with multiple GPUs and elaborate RAID arrays. At the other end of the spectrum, X299 and Core i5-7640X provide a combined 40 PCIe lanes, in which case PCIe storage may be disabled if multiple GPUs are in situ, or vice versa. The key takeaway here is that the power of X299 as a platform is dependant on the accompanying Core X-Series CPU.
X299 has been introduced as Intel's ultimate high-end platform for enthusiasts and power users seeking maximum desktop performance. The new chipset, armed with DMI 3.0, 24 PCIe lanes, eight SATA 6Gbps ports and 10 USB 3.0, is better equipped than outgoing X99 but carries the same caveat in the way that PCIe lanes are allocated to supporting Core X-Series CPUs. At the time of writing, only the premium Core i9-7900X unlocks the chipset's full potential, while more affordable solutions such as the Core i5-7640X have the opposite effect.
It will be fascinating to see how motherboard manufacturers adopt to X299's multifaceted feature set, but in the meantime end users and CPU cooler vendors will be pleased to hear that mounting-kit compatibility has been retained between LGA2011v3 and LGA2066, ensuring full support for your existing cooling paraphernalia.
As you would expect from a high-end Intel solution, board partners are lining up to present their wares and a range of X299 solutions will be available from the likes of Asus, EVGA, MSI and Gigabyte, to name but a few.
A full range of Intel X299 motherboards are available to purchase right here at Scan Computers.