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[TH] The Intel Z68 Express Review: A Real Enthusiast Chipset

post #1 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Intel pulled off a big coup in January of 2011. It really wasn't a surprise that the company's Sandy Bridge architecture delivered impressive performance on the processing side. Rather, Intel's big win was the hardware-accelerated encode and decode functionality rolled up into its Quick Sync engine. Dedicating valuable die space to speeding up such a specific workload was a gutsy move. However, the performance we saw from Quick Sync in Intel’s Second-Gen Core CPUs: The Sandy Bridge Review was super-impressive. From there, we went even deeper, exploring the quality of what comes out the other end of Intel's video engine in Video Transcoding Examined: AMD, Intel, And Nvidia In-Depth. For the first time, Intel was able to school AMD and Nvidia in a field that both competitors historically dominated.

At least on the surface, Intel seemed to have the perfect enthusiast-oriented value-add to go along with its Cougar Point-based chipsets, P67 and H67 Express. Somewhere along the way, though, marketing got in the way and dictated that P67 would enable processor-based overclocking and dual-GPU configurations, while H67 could facilitate access to the integrated HD Graphics core, including Quick Sync. Thus, enthusiasts were explicitly blocked from utilizing the capability. And anyone who wanted to exploit the goodness of Quick Sync had to also lean on Intel's mediocre 3D engine as well.

Talk about a bum deal.

The silver lining was that, back in January, we knew about this chipset called Z68 Express that'd effectively combine the benefits of P67 with the integrated graphics handling of H67. That sounded promising. At least there was a planned platform that'd address the primary (and very unnecessary) limitations of both existing Sandy Bridge-compatible chipsets.
Source


My 1st attempt at a news post.. hope I did it right. Personally this is the chipset I've been waiting for. Large SSD's (that can handle the space demands of all my games) are just too expensive for my new build budget at this point. SSD caching fills a nice gap in performance there for me.
Edited by lethal - 5/11/11 at 9:04am
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post #2 of 59
I dont need no indegraded graphics. =P

Quote:
Lower power consumption was Lucidlogix's original aim in virtualizing discrete graphics. When you aren't gaming, you can disable the graphics card by clicking on the "Off" button. But this doesn't translate into using any less power. Disabling Virtu doesn't shut down the discrete graphics card; it only stops you from accessing its performance. In the meantime, the graphics card still consumes power while it's idle. Virtualizing discrete graphics (and leaning on Intel's integrated solution) really matters when you're doing something like playing back video that the Quick Sync pipeline accelerates. Using HD Graphics natively, you access Intel's on-chip logic instead of Nvidia's, which requires less power than using a card like the GeForce GTX 460 just to access Nvidia's PureVideo decoder.
Wow.

Stupid. There's absolutely nothing on Z68 that I want or need. Why even bother if you cant use let's say.. Nvidia Optimus or AMD's equivalent? Why Lucid?

I'm buying a p67.
Edited by Kand - 5/11/11 at 9:05am
post #3 of 59
^^What the five? That defeats the point doesn't it?
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post #4 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kand View Post
I dont need no indegraded graphics. =P



Wow.

Stupid. There's absolutely nothing on Z68 that I want or need. Why even bother if you cant use let's say.. Nvidia Optimus or AMD's equivalent? Why Lucid?

I'm buying a p67.
I certainly think the killer applications for Z68 will be the SSD caching or those that will be using the transcoding stuff (lol can you tell that I wont be using that part?).
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post #5 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kand View Post
Why even bother if you cant use let's say.. Nvidia Optimus or AMD's equivalent? Why Lucid?
Because Intel made a design mistake and is using Virtu as a workaround.
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post #6 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by lethal View Post
I certainly think the killer applications for Z68 will be the SSD caching or those that will be using the transcoding stuff (lol can you tell that I wont be using that part?).
Hmm.

Nope. Not enough a gain from P67 to merit one from considering a Z68. Besides.

I'd still use Avidemux over what ever Quick-Sync program they'd offer, so it's a non-feature for me.
Edited by Kand - 5/11/11 at 9:16am
post #7 of 59
Turns out to be one big "meh". I'm not impressed by Quick Sync or SSD caching.
No need to replace your P67(B3) unless you're dissatisfied or want more features than your current board.
Quick Sync and SSD caching shouldn't be your reason to "side grade".
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post #8 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WorldExclusive View Post
Turns out to be one big "meh". I'm not impressed by Quick Sync or SSD caching.
No need to replace your P67(B3) unless you're dissatisfied or want more features than your current board.
Quick Sync and SSD caching shouldn't be your reason to "side grade".
Agreed for those whom already own a P67. This board is much more for those of us that have waited.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kand View Post
Hmm.

Nope. Not enough a gain from P67 to merit one from considering a Z68. Besides.

I'd still use Avidemux over what ever Quick-Sync program they'd offer, so it's a non-feature for me.
I dont know man.. seems like for gamers it's doing exactly what I want in bringing performance up at a price point less than going full size SSD. Full size SSD is still the better route but it's also still an expensive route!

Quote:
Gamers, rejoice. Level loading (one of the premiere reasons to invest in solid-state technology) sees a huge gain at the hands of Intel's caching mechanism. Of course, this makes sense: it's all read-based application data, so caching is a perfect fit. It's only a shame that it takes a second or third run to realize the benefit that you'd get immediately on a pure SSD-based implementation.
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post #9 of 59
P67 is basically dead going foward though. If you plan on an enthusiast build, Z67 is the way to go.
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post #10 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by lethal View Post
Agreed for those whom already own a P67. This board is much more for those of us that have waited.
Right. I'm sure Z68 will improve over the next few months, giving P67 owners a reason to buy one.
For the people who waited, Z68 is a good reason to upgrade to Sandy Bridge now.
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