The 8 Series Chipset
With the Haswell processor came a new chipset. With the Haswell platform, Intel has developed five desktop chipsets to meet the demands of various enthusiasts, from budget builders to high-end gamers and more. We have the following: B85, H87, Q85, Q87 and finally the Z87 chipset which we will be taking a look at today.
Let’s take a look at some comparison charts for the previous 7 series chipset vs. today’s 8 series chipset.
Taking a look at the two side by side, you will first notice a couple of differences immediately. First is its new I/O Port flexibility. We see that the 8 series chipset will support 6 native USB 3.0 ports vs. the previous four. It also supports up to six native SATA 6Gbps ports.
To give you a better idea of what the Z87 chipset looks like, let’s take a look at Intel’s break down grid.
Breaking down the grid, the Z87 didn’t change a whole lot. It still has most of the same previous controllers in place as the Z87. The z87 also still supports PCIe 3.0 lanes for great multi-graphics card support like Crossfire and SLI. These PCIe 3.0 (generation 3) lanes are able to provide 32GB/s of bandwidth. With the new developments in today’s graphics cards, we can definitely see the increased need of PCIe 3.0.
However, graphics isn’t the only arena to join in on the available PCIe bandwidth. We are starting to see the expansion of PCIe add-on cards and storage devices too. Compared to the previous generation, the lanes are now capable of handling 1GB/s per lane, so PCIe 3.0 at x16, can handle up to 16GB/s of bandwidth for add-on devices.
Breaking it down to the USB channels, you can clearly see that the USB 3.0 channels are now supported by the Intel chipset. This was a nice change to see for users and manufacturers, because it can now support up to 6x USB 3.0 natively.
Now that we have taken a closer look at the Z87 Chipset, let’s move forward and take a look at the Haswell 4770K which will be used to test the ASUS Z87 WS Motherboard.