Expected to be officially announced on May 11, the Intel Z68 Express chipset will be priced only $10 higher than its P67 counterpart, which could mean that the price differences between the current LGA 1155 motherboards and the upcoming models based on Intel next-get PCH will be kept to a minimum
The Intel Z68 is best described as a hybrid between the P67 and the H67 platform controller hubs (PCHs), and was designed in order to fill the gap left by these two solutions in Intel's chipset lineup.
As a result, the Z68 packs the best parts of the two PCH chips, including the multiplier overclocking support of the P67 and the FDI interface of the H67, which is required in order to use the Sandy Bridge on-die GPU.
Even though most enthusiasts won't be interested in running the integrated graphics core, opting for this chipset
could allow them to use the Quick Sync media accelerators packed inside Intel's second-generation Core architecture.
This will significantly speed up the transcoding process without affecting the image quality of the resulting video, and only requires a Lucidlogix Virtu driver which enables on-the-fly GPU switching.
Furthermore, the Z68 Express 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.
Considering the features that have been added to the chipset, the $10 price difference seems well justified and could steer quite a few customers away from the P67 solutions, provided that motherboard makers won't artificially inflate the prices of their products.
The Intel Z68 PCH is expected to be officially launched on May 11, and various solutions from Asus
, Gigabyte and MSI have already been spotted online. (via NordicHardware