Intel accidentally spills the beans on their many, many Alder Lake chipsets

mongeese

Posts: 523   +111
Staff member
Forward-looking: Intel is preparing a fleet of motherboard chipsets for their 12th-gen Core Alder Lake processors. Falling under the 600-series nomenclature, they span from the entry-level to the high-end desktop (HEDT) tier, something that hasn’t happened since 2017. The list of 600-series chipsets was found inside Intel’s own drivers. It includes equivalents to the 500-series, namely a Z690, an H670, a B660, and an H610, but also new prosumer and workstation lines.

The flagship chipset is the mysterious X699. Intel’s last xx99 chipset was the X299, which supported the first two generations of Core i9 processors, Skylake-X and Cascade Lake-X. In turn, then, X699 will be associated with some sort of HEDT series, but there’s no information on that yet.

Stepping down a notch, the Intel Z690 chipset is a little more familiar. It’s the flagship consumer platform for gamers and enthusiasts. Expect two channels of DDR5 memory, and at least enough PCIe 5.0 lanes for the GPU. Intel might throw in some high-speed networking, too.

The Intel H670, and its enterprise and laptop equivalents, Q670 and Q670E, will be likely to drop overclocking support and maybe DDR5, too. Intel B660 will probably have a similar feature set to H670 but lose some connectivity and PCIe 5.0 lanes. H610 and H610E will have just enough features to meet the needs of average users.

More exciting are the Intel W685 and W680 chipsets for workstations. The difference between the two might be DDR5 versus DDR4. They’ll be compatible with Xeon versions of the consumer and enthusiast Alder Lake processors. Intel’s W580 chipset had pretty much the same features as the Z590 chipset minus the option to overclock, which is what’s expected here.

The R680E chipset is a bit of an oddball. Its name implies that it’ll be used for embedded laptop scenarios, but its feature set is still a mystery.

Cool features aside, the real purpose of a chipset is to unleash the full power of the processor. Consider this a reminder, Intel: learn from the B560 disaster and ratify the power limit guidelines, or else all the effort put into these chipsets will be for naught.

Image credit: Šimom Caban

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HardReset

Posts: 1,264   +926
As expected, Intel will only offer PCIe 5.0 on top end chipset and even that gets PCIe 5.0 for useless slots "(y) (Y)"
 

Irata

Posts: 1,725   +2,893
As expected, Intel will only offer PCIe 5.0 on top end chipset and even that gets PCIe 5.0 for useless slots "(y) (Y)"
Did you perhaps mean DDR5 ? Afaik, the chipsets are still connected via PCIe 3 and the x16 PCIE 5 lanes are directly from the CPU, so the chipset should not matter.

Cool features aside, the real purpose of a chipset is to unleash the full power of the processor.

If the chipset is the limiting factor of what a CPU can do or how it performs, the manufacturer did something wrong.

 

HardReset

Posts: 1,264   +926
Did you perhaps mean DDR5 ? Afaik, the chipsets are still connected via PCIe 3 and the x16 PCIE 5 lanes are directly from the CPU, so the chipset should not matter.
No, I meant PCIe 5.0. Even if CPU supports, Intel can still limit PCIe 5.0 support. And like I said on another thread, Intel will likely do that since PCIe 5.0 support will add cost to motherboard. A lot.
 

Irata

Posts: 1,725   +2,893
No, I meant PCIe 5.0. Even if CPU supports, Intel can still limit PCIe 5.0 support. And like I said on another thread, Intel will likely do that since PCIe 5.0 support will add cost to motherboard. A lot.
Interesting thought - would make sense for lower tier boards. So like B520 boards then, which afaik also only support PCIe 3 regardless of CPU.
 

Watzupken

Posts: 331   +308
Interesting thought - would make sense for lower tier boards. So like B520 boards then, which afaik also only support PCIe 3 regardless of CPU.
This should not come as a surprise really. Intel offers so many chipsets as toll gates where if you want certain features, you pay more. I would agree that features like DDR5 and PCI-E 5.0 will be limited to chipsets like the Hx70 and Z series.

Anyway, having a lot of chipsets does not mean "spoilt for choice" here. Basically if you want to have cutting edge tech and also the ability to overclock, likely the Z series is the only chipset that will offer these features. For most people who don't overclock, the Bx60 chipset is likely the next best alternative. The lower end chipset will most likely cater to those on a budget, but I suspect most will be low quality boards which may throttle heavily with the known high power requirement with Alder Lake.
 
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ypsylon

Posts: 393   +328
You know, I think Intel is in reality run by Commandant Eric Lassard (George Gaynes).

Anyone old enough to remember Police Academy movies remembers his "...many, many, many..." and "... very, very, very...".

Intel is creating all those SKUs (be it chipset or CPU) even more straining the supply chain and logistics. Wouldn't be simpler with 5 at most. No we need many, many, many more! :p

As a side note. Hey have you seen it? Intel HEDT is not dead by all accounts. X699, could Intel make return to the market they totally abandoned with X299? (yes, yes there was also ridiculous 3175-X which 5 people in the World bought) In truth they'll need something truly amazing, because AMD has that market all to itself for past 5 years.
 

BSim500

Posts: 857   +1,950
Between this and Bethesda's re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-release of Skyrim, is it possible to add hardware manufactures and game developers to spam lists?
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,717   +1,322
Imo PCI 5 is not even born [to the market]
We will see the first Pcie5 m2 drives and before this year is finished. It seems Samsung are making sure Alder lake has Pcie5 drives.

 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,519   +4,906
Leave it to sIntel to up the confusion game as a likely way to bolster profits. :rolleyes: The more I hear, the more I refuse to trust sIntel.