Z87 Chipset Changes, New Socket, Core i7-4770K Sample

As with most new processor releases, Intel has prepared a new chipset to support Haswell and its desktop debut.  The flagship part will be the Z87 and every motherboard vendor you can think of has like a dozen of them waiting to sell you.

Realistically, there isn't much that changes with the move from the Z77 to Z87 platform, as you might expect for a processor that isn't changed dramatically from Ivy Bridge to Haswell.  You still have 16 lanes of PCI Express 3.0 coming from the processor and the chipset is connected via a DMI 2.0 legacy bus.  The chipset now supports six full SATA 6G connections and has six USB 3.0 ports as well. 

This table provided by Intel shows off the changes to the Z87 chipset, and it isn't much.  No more PCI!  That will either be a total mind-melt for you or you won't even notice, either way, it had to happen sooner or later.  (Oh, but don't worry, boards can still include third party PCI controllers.)

The Z87 chipset does use a new socket, LGA1150, so don't plan on trying to smash a Haswell processor into your Z77 platform or use an Ivy Bridge part in the new Z87 options.  Other than the pin count though the socket works in the exact same fashion.

For our testing we got in a TON of motherboards (of which our very own Morry Teitelman is inundated in) but I decided to use the Intel DZ87KLT-75K for our initial testing.  Not only was it just for convenience but it also turned out to be a rock solid and fun motherboard to use – too bad it will be the last from the desktop board team at Intel…

There she is, the 1.4 billion transistor baby that is the Core i7-4770K Haswell processor.  Housed in the LGA1150 socket and clamped down, it really looks no different than the Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge parts we have lying around here – which is why a Sharpie is always on hand for identification purposes. 

As listed on the previous page, the specifications are very familiar to enthusiasts:

  • 3.5 GHz base clock
  • 3.9 GHz Max Turbo
  • 8MB L3 Cache
  • Dual channel DDR3-1333/1600 support
  • Intel HD Graphics 4600 – up to 1250 MHz
  • Full unlocked multipliers
  • $339

Speaking of those multipliers…

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