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

Nov 1, 2016

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.

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.

Intel HEDT Processor Families:

Intel HEDT Family Gulftown Sandy Bridge-E Ivy Bridge-E Haswell-E Broadwell-E Skylake-X Skylake-X Skylake-X Cascade Lake-X
Process Node 32nm 32nm 22nm 22nm 14nm 14nm+ 14nm+ 14nm+ 14nm++
Flagship SKU Core i7-980X Core i7-3960X Core i7-4960X Core i7-5960X Core i7-6950X Core i9-7980XE Core i9-9980XE Xeon W-3175X TBD
Max Cores/Threads 6/12 6/12 6/12 8/16 10/20 18/36 18/36 28/56 18/36?
Clock Speeds 3.33/3,60 GHz 3.30/3.90 GHz 3.60/4.00 GHz 3.00/3.50 GHz 3.00/3.50 GHz 2.60/4.20 GHz 3.00/4.50 GHz 3.10/4.30 GHz TBD
Max Cache 12 MB L3 15 MB L3 15 MB L3 20 MB L3 25 MB L3 24.75 MB L3 24.75 MB L3 38.5 MB L3 24.75 MB L3?
Max PCI-Express Lanes (CPU) 32 Gen2 40 Gen2 40 Gen3 40 Gen3 40 Gen3 44 Gen3 44 Gen3 44 Gen3 44 Gen3?
Chipset Compatiblity X58 Chipset X79 Chipset X79 Chipset X99 Chipset X99 Chipset X299 X299 C612E X399?
Socket Compatiblity LGA 1366 LGA 2011 LGA 2011 LGA 2011-3 LGA 2011-3 LGA 2066 LGA 2066 LGA 3647 LGA 2066?
Memory Compatiblity DDR3-1066 DDR3-1600 DDR3-1866 DDR4-2133 DDR4-2400 DDR4-2666 DDR4-2800 DDR4-2666 DDR4-2933
Max TDP 130W 130W 130W 140W 140W 165W 165W 255W 165W?
Launch Q1 2010 Q4 2011 Q3 2013 Q3 2014 Q2 2016 Q3 2017 Q4 2018 Q4 2018 2H 2019
Launch Price $999 US $999 US $999 US $1059 US $1700 US $1999 US $1979 US ~$4000 US 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.