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Intel X299 Chipset Platform To Power Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X Processors

Hassan Mujtaba
Posted Nov 1, 2016
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Intel’s next generation chipset to power their HEDT (High-End Desktop Platform) has been confirmed as X299. The chipset will be used to power entire platforms that will support the Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X CPU family.

Intel X299 HEDT Chipset To Power Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X Based Platforms

Intel launched their X99 chipset platform back in 2014. This platform features support for Haswell-E and Broadwell-E processors. The platform utilized a new socket known as LGA 2011-3. Now, Intel plans to be delivering an update to their HEDT platform in the form of X299.

The move to switch to X299 doesn’t come as a surprise as Intel would like to push their HEDT platform in the 200-series branding. Intel would be using the 200-series branding for all PCH’s (Platform Control Hubs) on the mainstream lineup hence it makes sense from a marketing perspective to keep parity, following the same 200 series naming scheme as the rest of the chipsets.

Intel X299 chipset will not only be replacing the X99 chipset, but it would also introduce a new socket. The new socket will be required to support Kaby Lake-X and Skylake-X processors. We have known this socket as LGA 2066. The name reveals that the socket will feature exactly 2066 pins. This is an increase of 55 pins from the previous socket. Since Skylake is architecturally different than Haswell and Broadwell, it was necessary to make the shift.

The new socket will span at least three generations of processors, Skylake, Kaby Lake and Cannonlake. Intel will only need to update it when they introduce their Ice Lake architecture based processors which would be around 2020. That new socket would be known as LGA 2076, more details on that here.

Intel Skylake-X HEDT Processors For X299 Chipset

The Intel Skylake-X family is a new name for Skylake-E which is built for high-end desktop PCs. The family will be aimed at enthusiasts and will be launching in 2H 2017. The Skylake-X chips will be replacing the Broadwell-E family which launched a few months ago.

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Intel X299 Chipset Motherboard

Information suggests that Skylake-X processors will be available in same core configuration as Broadwell-E with 10, 8 and 6 core variants and TDP’s adjusted around 140W while delivering better IPC with the new Skylake architecture. We can expect similar if not higher pricing structure for these processors.

Intel Kaby Lake-X HEDT Processors For X299 Chipset

Intel would also be offering Kaby Lake-X processors on their HEDT platform. They would launch at the same time as Skylake-X but available in only Quad Core package. The surprising thing here is that the Kaby Lake-X SKUs will feature a 112W TDP on a 14nm node. This means that we might be looking at much higher clock speeds compared to current generation quad core models.

In fact, the Kaby Lake family uses a more optimized architecture compared to Skylake which will allow Intel to finer tune its performance for better performance and efficiency. The Kaby Lake-X series of processors feature up to 16 PCI-E Gen 3.0 lanes.

It’s odd to see Intel splitting Kaby Lake “Unlocked” Quad Cores on mainstream and HEDT platforms but it kind of makes sense too. While LGA 1151 (Z270) will have its set of unlocked flagships, HEDT users will be allowed an entry level product that will allow them to upgrade later onward or take advantage of multiple PCI-e lanes that will be offered on X299.

Some other details about the Basin Falls-X platform includes quad channel memory support on Skylake-X and dual channel memory support on Kaby Lake-X processors. Speeds as high as 2667 MHz are supported by these chips. The Kaby Lake-X PCH itself offers 24 PCI-E Gen 3.0 lanes along with 10 USB 3.0, 8 USB 2.0 ports and Intel LAN (Jacksonville PHY) chipset.

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Intel HEDT Processor Families:

Intel HEDT FamilyGulftownSandy Bridge-EIvy Bridge-EHaswell-EBroadwell-ESkylake-XKaby Lake-XCoffee Lake-X
Process Node32nm32nm22nm22nm14nm14nm14nm14nm
Flagship SKUCore i7-980XCore i7-3960XCore i7-4960XCore i7-5960XCore i7-6950XCore i7-7000 XCore i7-7000 SeriesCore i7-8000 series
Max Cores/Threads6/126/126/128/1610/2010/204/86/12
Clock Speeds3.33/3,60 GHz3.30/3.90 GHz3.60/4.00 GHz3.00/3.50 GHz3.00/3.50 GHzTBDTBDTBD
Max Cache12 MB L315 MB L315 MB L320 MB L325 MB L313.75 MB L38 MB L3TBD
Max PCI-Express Lanes32 Gen240 Gen240 Gen340 Gen340 Gen344 Gen316 Gen3TBD
Chipset CompatiblityX58 ChipsetX79 ChipsetX79 ChipsetX99 ChipsetX99 ChipsetKaby Lake PCHKaby Lake PCHKaby Lake PCH?
Socket CompatiblityLGA 1366LGA 2011LGA 2011LGA 2011-3LGA 2011-3LGA 2066LGA 2066LGA 2066?
Memory CompatiblityDDR3-1066DDR3-1600DDR3-1866DDR4-2133DDR4-2400DDR4-2667DDR4-2667DDR4-2667?
Max TDP130W130W130W140W140W140W112WTBD
LaunchQ1 2010Q4 2011Q3 2013Q3 2014Q2 20162H 20172H 20172H2018
Launch Price$999 US$999 US$999 US$1059 US$1700 US~$1500 US$350+?TBD

Expect more information on Kaby Lake-X and Skylake-X chips when launch approaches. For now, we are close to the launch of Kaby Lake-S family of processors which will be launching on 5th January at CES 2017.

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