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Oct 12, 2011

Intel X79 Is 50% More Expensive than the Z68, Brings Almost No New Features

The pricing of Intel's X79 chipset for the LGA 2011 motherboards has been uncovered, and although this doesn't bring almost any new features when compared with the Z68 it does come with a 50% higher price tag.

When motherboard makers buy the X79 PCH from Intel they have to shell out $73 (€53) from their pocket, according to Fudzilla, compared with the $48 (€34.8) Intel asks for the Z68.

Despite this huge increase in price, the X79 doesn't bring any new features when compared with its LGA 1155 counterpart as Intel has moved most of the hardware logic that was traditionally found in the chipset inside its Sandy Bridge-E processors.

This includes the quad-channel memory controller and the PCI Express controller, which makes the X79 a simple PCH chip that has to support only the storage devices and four additional PCIe lanes.

Initially, the X79 Express was supposed to include no less than 10 SATA 6Gbps with support for SAS drives as well as an additional PCI-Express 2.0 x4 link that directly connected the CPU to the storage subsystem, but these features have been dropped since Intel has been experiencing all sort of issues with its design.

As a result, the X79 gets just dual SATA 6Gbps ports and four SATA 3Gbps, without having any support for SAS drives as initially promised.

These features are just what the Z68 can provide, but the LGA 1155 chipset does also bring support for SSD caching through the Intel Smart Response Technology (SRT) and an FDI link for Sandy Bridge integrated graphics, all for $25 (€18) less.

Furthermore, if we were to compare the X79 with the now discontinued X58 that was sold for $20 (€15) less, we would come to see that the previous LGA 1366 chipset, which is comprised of not only an I/O hub but also includes the ICH10R southbridge, is definitely a much more complex to manufacture part, but I guess this is what happens where no competition is in sight.


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