Scheduled to be launched in mid-May, Intel's upcoming Z68 Express chipset, that comes as a hybrid between the P67 and H67, is expected to be a lot cheaper than anyone previously thought which means that motherboards built using this chip should carry a minimal price premium over their P67 counterparts.
The price hasn't been disclosed yet by Intel
, but VR-Zone
reports that the company has adjusted it so that it much closer resembles that of the P67 PCH.
This should lead to lower prices for the boards built using this chipset as well as to better market availability, as motherboard makers will update their lineups to feature more solutions built on top of the Z68 Express.
The lower price isn't going to affect Intel's revenue as all the 6-series chipsets
use basically the same Cougar Point PCH with some functionality disabled, according to the market segment they target.
As mentioned earlier, Intel's Z68 Express chipset comes as a hybrid between the P67 and H67 as it packs both integrated graphics support (via a FDI interface) as well as CPU and memory overclocking.
When combined with the Lucidlogix Virtu driver, these features enable users to built high-performance systems with dedicated graphics that can seamlessly switch to using the on-board GPU when they want to take advantage of Intel's Quick Sync transcoding technology.
Quick Sync counts as one of the most important improvements brought by Intel to the Sandy Bridge core as its performances and video quality exceed more established GPU transcoding technologies, such as Nvidia's CUDA codepath.
In addition, the chipset, also supports an SSD caching technology, called Smart Response
by Intel, which allows users to speed up their storage system by pairing together a solid state disk with an HDD and using the former as a fast cache memory for the hard drive.
The first motherboards using the Z68 PCH are expected to make their appearance somewhere in the May 8th-14th timeframe.