Intel Skylake-S Platform Specifications Detailed – Z170 “100-Series” Chipset To Replace Z97 in 2H 2015

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Details of Intel’s next generation Skylake-S platform have been revealed by VR-Zone, unveiling that the new processors will be available in 2H of 2015 and a new motherboard series featuring the latest 100-Series chip. Configurations of various Skylake series processors were unveiled not long ago which mentioned that the time span between the launch of Broadwell and Skylake generation would be small and both platforms would be available to consumers by 2015.Intel Skylake-S Desktop Z170 Chipset

Image Courtesy of VR-Zone!

Intel Skylake-S Desktop Platform Detailed – Z170 Chipset Replaces Z97 in 2H 2015

While the current Z97 series motherboards do add support for Broadwell processors, Intel won’t have the chips ready for consumers till at least Q2 of 2015. The first iteration of Broadwell processors which will launch for PCs will be in the form of Intel Core-M and Broadwell Y-Series which will arrive in holiday 2014 and are aimed toward the tablet and laptop market. The actual desktop processors won’t be available till 2015 which is a bit surprising since at the time Intel launches Broadwell-K series, they will be shipping Skylake-S to consumers in the exact same quarter or a bit late (moving in early 2H 2015). This was showcased in the latest Intel Desktop roadmap leak for consumers.

The transition to Z170 chipset will not be a massive upgrade and would be similar to what the Z97 was to Z87 with a little added features such as more PCI-e lanes, Super Speed USB and up to 10 USB ports compared to 6 standard ones found on the current iteration of motherboards. There will be a total of six 100-series chipset SKUs which will include the Z170 (Performance) replacing the Z97, H170 (Mainstream) replacing the H97, H110 (Value) replacing the H81, B150 (Small and medium Business) replacing the B85 and the Q170 plus Q150 chips with Intel vPro / SIPP which will replace the Q87 and Q85. So as you can note, Intel has the entire replacement plan ready which will update the current desktop chipset stack in 2015. Intel is already phasing out their Ivy Bridge-E and Z77/H77/H75/Q75 chipsets in early 2015. This transition won’t eliminate support for Z97 or Z87 in 2015 since there would be a majority of consumers who will still be running Broadwell and Haswell processors since these platforms have spanned a longer shelve-time in the market and will cease to exist along side each other for a couple of years.

The Z170 would be the flagship performance chipset which will support the unlocked K-Series Skylake processors which I don’t believe would be available in early 2015 and launch a bit later. The chipset will feature up to 20 PCIe Gen 3 lanes, 6 SATA Gen 3 ports, 10 USB 3.0 ports and a total of 14 total USB ports (USB 3.0 / USB 2.0), up to 3 SATA Express capable ports, up to 3 Intel RST capable PCI-e storage ports which may include x2 SATA Express or M.2 SSD port with Enhanced SPI and x4/x8/x16 capable Gen 3 PCI-Express support from the processor. Aside from that, we know that the Skylake processors would be compatible with the latest LGA 1151 socketed boards and Z170 chipset which is part of the new 100-Series chipset replacing the 9-Series “Wild Cat” PCH. The second most interesting thing covered is that Skylake processors would have both DDR3 and DDR4 memory controllers so the different SKUs can be configured to use either of the memory type which is detailed in the following chart:

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Intel Skylake-S and Skylake SKUs Configuration:

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Intel 14nm Skylake Configuration Table
Variant SKL-Y (BGA) SKL-U (BGA) SKL-H (BGA) SKL-S (LGA)
Cores Configurations 2 2 / 2 4 / 4 4 / 2 / 4
Graphic Configurations GT2 GT2 / GT3e GT2 / GT4e GT2 / GT2 / GT4e
eDRAM - 64MB – GT3e 128MB – GT4e 64MB – GT4e
Memory LPDDR3 1600Mhz LPDDR3 1600Mhz DDR4 2133Mhz DDR3L/DDR3L-RS 1600Mhz, DDR4 2133Mhz
TDP 4W 15-28W 35-45W 35-95W

Intel 100-Series Chipsets SKUs

The TDPs for the Skylake processors were also confirmed last month which further detailed the various core configurations of Skylake SKUs. The desktop variants will have six different variants which will include the flagship 95W Quad Cores with GT2 and GT4e GPU while the lowest 35W TDP variant will feature Dual Cores and GT2 graphics. The H-Series lineup will also include the 95W Quad Core with GT4e graphics chip but that’s the only flagship chip followed by 65W, 55W and 45W Quad Core variants with a mix of GT4e and GT2 graphics. Skylake would also get rid of the FVIR (Fully Integrated Voltage Regulator) which was featured on Haswell generation processors and will continue to be used till Broadwell processors in 1H 2015 after which Intel will abandon the design

This H-Series doesn’t seem to include a dual core model at all. The U-Series lineup will have TDPs of 25W and 15W with the flagship part featuring Dual Cores and GT3e graphics while the other models consist of GT2 graphics. Last up is the Y-Series Skylake lineup featuring two SKUs, both featuring 4.5W TDP and 2 Cores plus GT2 graphics. The difference between them is not clearly mentioned however we think its related to clock speeds. You can get a better representation of the variants in the following chart:

SKUs x86 Cores Graphics TDP
Skylake DT 4 GT4e 95W
Skylake DT 4 GT2 95W
Skylake DT 4 GT2 65W
Skylake DT 2 GT2 65W
Skylake DT 2 GT2 35W
Skylake DT 4 GT2 35W
H-Series 4 GT43 95W
H-Series 4 GT4e 65W
H-Series 4 GT4e 55W
H-Series 4 GT4e 45W
H-Series 4 GT2 65W
H-Series 4 GT2 55W
H-Series 4 GT2 45W
U-Series 2 GT3e 25W
U-Series 2 GT3e 15W
U-Series 2 GT2 25W
U-Series 2 GT2 15W
Y-Series A 2 GT2 4.5W
Y-Series B 2 GT2 4.5W

We will also get several new Wireless technology on the 100-Series chipset such as Snowfield Peak (WiFi + Blue-tooth) replacing Wilkins Peak, Douglas Peak (WiGig+ WiFi + BT) replacing Stone Peak and Maple Peak and the Pine Peak plus WWAN LTE chips (XMM 726x) replacing the WWAN XMM7160) for wireless connectivity.  Intel is also introducing the latest Alpine Ridge thunderbolt controller with Skylake pushing speeds of 40Gb/s, double that of last generation. For LAN, Intel will introduce Jacksonville to replace Clarksville.

Intel Mainstream Platforms Comparison Chart:

Intel Sandy Bridge Platform Intel Ivy Bridge Platform Intel Haswell Platform Intel Broadwell Platform Intel Skylake Platform
Processor Architecture Sandy Bridge Ivy Bridge Haswell Broadwell Skylake
Processor Process 32nm 22nm 22nm 14nm 14nm
Processors Cores (Max) 4 4 4 4 4
Platform Chipset 6-Series “Cougar Point” 7-Series “Panther Point” 8-Series “Lynx Point” 9-Series “Wild Cat Point” 100-Series “Sunrise Point”
Platform Socket LGA 1155 LGA 1155 LGA 1150 LGA 1150 LGA 1151
Memory Support DDR3 DDR3 DDR3 DDR3 DDR4 / DDR3 (Up to 64 GB)
Thunderbolt Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes “Alpine Ridge”
Platform Desktop LGA Desktop LGA Desktop LGA Desktop LGA Desktop LGA
Launch 2011 2012 2013-2014 2015 2015

Skylake is going to be one of the hottest launch of 2015 since it will be a true 14nm processor with a architecture designed and built from the ground up. Boasting higher IPC and graphics performance coupled with a efficient design, Skylake might just become the perfect choice for mainstream users and enthusiasts.Intel Skylake-S Platform Details Intel Skylake-S 100-Series PCI-e Lanesa Intel Skylake-S 100-Series PCI-e Lanes

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