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Intel Hardware

Intel Z68 Motherboard Round-Up 74

Posted by samzenpus
from the compare-and-contrast dept.
AmyVernon writes "Until Intel's next-gen, high-end Sandy Bridge-E processor is released sometime this quarter, Intel's second generation Core family of processors and the Z68 Express chipset are Intel's current premiere desktop platform for the mainstream. This look at several different motherboard offerings from manufacturers that cover a range of form factors, feature sets, and price points. Asus, MSI, ASRock, Gigabyte, eVGA and Zotac are all represented here. In addition to support for the entire line of 2nd-gen Intel Core chips with Turbo Boost 2.0, the Z68 chipset supports Intel High Definition Audio, 8 PCI-Express 2.0 lanes (16 more in the CPU), 6 SATA ports (2 x 6Gbps, 4 x 3Gbps), integrated Gigabit Ethernet, 14 USB ports, and a smattering of A/v ports including HDMI and DisplayPort."
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Intel Z68 Motherboard Round-Up

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  • by Surt (22457) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @02:28PM (#37765086) Homepage Journal

    Seriously. There are dozens of hardware reviews like this one daily. In what way was this one special enough to make the front page? I'm not seeing it.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @02:30PM (#37765102) Journal

      I just can't wait until Intel gets to Z80.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Seriously. There are dozens of hardware reviews like this one daily. In what way was this one special enough to make the front page? I'm not seeing it.

      Well, let's see. This round-up has just about every major manufacturer's offerings in one detailed review, so folks can compare available solutions in one significantly more digestible location. It's perfect Slashdot geek news actually.

      • by Surt (22457)

        But my point, again, is that there is a roundup article just like this 3 or 4 times a week at various sites. What makes this one special?

      • Quote from the article: "Until Intel's next-gen, high-end Sandy Bridge-E processor is released sometime this quarter, Intel's second generation Core family of processors and the Z68 Express chipset are Intel's current premiere desktop platform for the mainstream."

        I like the article, but who would buy old hardware? Supposedly Intel will release the next generation of chipsets next month. For example, the new chipsets will have all fast SATA and USB ports, instead of only 2 or 4.
    • by thue (121682)

      Perhaps the point is just to highlight the new motherboards, and any review could do, so they took the first one? Which is reasonable enough, IMO.

      If you disagree, then you can earn some karma by posting a comment with a list of other reviews.

  • They round YOU up!

  • Am I the only one disappointed that this revision doesn't support the Thunderbolt port? Even if few motherboards would ship with it at least the chipset should have the support.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Am I the only one disappointed that this revision doesn't support the Thunderbolt port?

      Yes.

    • As that maybe a hold up to having Thunderbolt with pci-e video cards and why there are no Thunderbolt data only pci-e cards. Also may be why there is no new mac pro yet as well.

  • The only thing hold back desktop boards right now is more RAM slots. I would really like to see motherboards with 8 or event 16 RAM slots become standard. Most of these motherboards support 16 GB maximum memory, which is nice, but once you start running VMs or databases on your machine, 16 GB can get eaten up pretty quickly. I would think that having a machine with a possible 64 GB of RAM would entice a lot of people. Right now the only way to get serious amounts of RAM is to go with XEON or Opteron. A
    • by Surt (22457) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @02:38PM (#37765194) Homepage Journal

      You're in luck. X79 (coming later this year) will typically sport 8 ram slots. It's the new enthusiast platform replacing x58.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_X79 [wikipedia.org]

    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      Right now the only way to get serious amounts of RAM is to go with XEON or Opteron. And those chips are pretty expensive without offering a whole lot of extra, or event less computing power (assuming single socket).

      Yep, that would be the point. You don't think Intel would make server-level RAM capability available for less than server-level costs, do you?

    • by Tom Womack (8005) <tom@womack.net> on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @02:42PM (#37765248) Homepage

      The Sandy-Bridge-E (X79) motherboards have eight RAM slots each of which can hold an 8G module, which gets your 64GB. Of course, Sandy-Bridge-E is a Xeon in the same way that Socket-1366 Nehalem was a Xeon.

      There are real electronic-engineering problems with getting lots of RAM slots attached to a single memory controller - you have to run the memory more slowly than you would if there were less of it. Cisco have a chip which pretends to be a very large slow DDR3 module by connecting together four large fast DDR3 modules, but it's sold only in expensive Cisco servers.

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        Yeah, after reading more closely, these boards mostly support the 8GB modules as well, giving you the ability to use 32 GB of RAM. However, the prices on the 8 GB modules is still way too expensive. At least $200 each, compared to about $25 a piece fro the 4GB modules. if the price of the 8GB comes down enough, and you get 8 slots on a board, giving you 64 GB, that gives you some serious power. Or if you have 8 slots, and you can get 32 GB of RAM for $200, it is also really interesting.
    • That would be called a server...
    • by jpedlow (1154099)
      I've got an evga Z68 board. I'm quite happy with the 16 gigs of ram I use for it. But I guess that's because my VM's and Databases run on my SERVER, not my performance gaming machine.
    • by nabsltd (1313397)

      I would really like to see motherboards with 8 or event 16 RAM slots become standard. Most of these motherboards support 16 GB maximum memory, which is nice, but once you start running VMs or databases on your machine, 16 GB can get eaten up pretty quickly. I would think that having a machine with a possible 64 GB of RAM would entice a lot of people.

      Once you get above about 8GB of RAM, you really shouldn't trust it for anything serious without ECC.

      Even the best listed bit-error rates (which are all pretty much a guess) show that 32GB of RAM will have an error every 3 years, while the worst listed rates would give you an error every 2 minutes. Based on ECC logs in my servers, I'd say the reality is about 8 errors per year for 32GB. So, if you want 64GB, and can live with a once-a-month error that could be anything from a BSOD to a subtle corruption of

      • Very few people care, and even fewer would buy ECC memory. It would be an insanely lame thing to brag about. I'm not going to spend 3X the amount on memory so my game doesn't crash. In all my years of running way too many computers in my house, I've never thought "damn, I wish I'd spent 3X the money so I could have ECC!".

        If you care, buy a real server platform.

        • Very few people care, and even fewer would buy ECC memory. It would be an insanely lame thing to brag about. I'm not going to spend 3X the amount on memory so my game doesn't crash.

          Context, my dear fellow.

          If you're thinking "so my game doesn't crash" then you probably also don't have a problem with the already-absurdly-high amount of RAM that you can put on these motherboards. You are not asking for more RAM slots.

          If you had needs where 64GB isn't enough RAM, then it's a lot more likely you'd be inter

    • by tompaulco (629533)
      My Asus has 4 memory slots, which allows for up to 16 GB of currently cheap memory. Like my most people, I rarely use more than 3 GB. Of course, I don't run VMs on it or databases, but that is because it is a desktop board and not a server board. Motherboards that support more than 4 slots are likely going to be found in boards intended for servers as the niche market of home users that want that amount of memory is small.
  • As it does not have on board video and there are no plans for data only cards.

    So does intel have a plan for linking Thunderbolt to a add in ATI / AMD and nvidia cards?

    • Extremely unlikely. Why would you want that, by the way? Just plug those cards into PCIe slots. Thunderbolt support will come with discrete controllers for the time being.
  • by Nethead (1563) <joe@nethead.com> on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @02:40PM (#37765228) Homepage Journal

    I'm an old hardware hacker and it JUST SEEMS WRONG that Intel is using the number 68. That is for Motorola, 65 is for MOS and Rockwell. 80 is for Intel.

    It's WRONG I say, WRONG!

    • by Surt (22457)

      It's just intel showing off that they've killed and buried motorola.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Amen brother.

    • An interesting little bit of trivia: Intel used their influence on the PCI management board well. Their vendor ID is 0x8086.
    • by Ecuador (740021)

      Right, 80 is for Intel, so it would have been better to call it Z80 ... oh, wait...

      The more serious answer is that the Z68 is a chipset and not a CPU, so they can call it whatever they want and old hackers won't complain (Z80 would turn some heads though). And if you want to know, "80" was originally Intel's prefix just for 8-bit microprocessors, just like "40" was for 4-bit ones. But they did not keep the scheme when they went to 16-bits possibly because they were not drawing hard lines for the new archite

    • Amazing that I stopped following after BX.
      And it seems it was just a few months ago...

  • Is this anything like the kick-ass Motorola Z80?
  • I confess to not having read TFA but I guess the summary would have mentioned it given the world-class editing team around here... *cough!*
    Anyway, being Thunderbolt an intel technology, is there any such controller/port available in these boards?

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