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Intel's Other Skylake Chipsets: H170, H110 And More

The enthusiast Intel Z170 chipset has been out for a few weeks now, but the rest of the 100 series chipsets have been missing in action so far. Although there have been dozens of Z170 motherboards on the market, the lack of budget-friendly and business-oriented chipsets have limited the options of anyone wanting to buy into the Skylake platform. Although businesses will continue to wait, the consumer-oriented chipsets are now available to help expand the LGA 1151 motherboard market.

The 100 series chipsets primarily aimed to increase bandwidth across the system. The platform now supports the DDR4 memory standard, offering significantly increased bandwidth over the older DDR3 RAM. The chipsets' DMI bandwidth was effectively doubled over the previous generation, and finally the High-Speed I/O (HSIO) connections have increased in number and in bandwidth by 40 percent. These improved features paired with Intel's Skylake processors help drive performance higher than Broadwell or Haswell.

Of the six 100 series chipsets, three are developed and targeted at consumers. These are the Z170, H170 and H110 chipsets, all of which have now been released. The H170 and H110 chipset motherboards will show up over the next few days.

Intel 100 Series Consumer Chipsets
ChipsetZ170H170H110
CPU PCI-E 3.0 Config Support1 x 16 or 2 x 8 or 1 x 8 + 2 x 41 x 161 x 16
Independent Display Support332
Memory Channels/ DIMMs per Channel2/22/22/1
CPU Overclocking SupportYesNoNo
Intel Smart Sound TechnologyYesYesNo
Intel Small Business Advantage 4.0NoYesNo
Intel Small Business BasicsNoYesYes
Intel RAID Support 0/1/5/10YesYesNo
Intel Smart Response TechnologyYesYesNo
Max Intel RST for PCI-E320
I/O Port FlexibilityYesYesNo
Maximum HSIO Lanes262214
Chipset PCI-E Support20 PCI-E 3.0 Lanes16 PCI-E 3.0 Lanes6 PCI-E 2.0 Lanes
USB Support (USB 3.0)14 (10)14 (8)10 (4)
SATA 3.0 Ports664

The H170 and H110 chipsets serve two main purposes. First, although they are consumer-oriented, they also support some business features not found on the Z170 motherboard. They lack some of the more advanced features that the business-oriented chipsets have though, like vPro and SIPP. Second, they are used as budget friendly alternatives to the more expensive enthusiast Z170 chipset.

The H170 chipset lacks features that the enthusiast Z170 chipset offers, such as overclocking support and the ability to divide the CPU's PCI-E 3.0 lanes between multiple GPUs. It also loses a few USB 3.0 ports and HSIO lanes, but is otherwise feature complete. RAID, memory and SATA support is identical between the Z170 and H170 chipsets. The H170 is a more budget friendly solution, and it's expected to fill the middle of the LGA 1151 market.

At the low-end of the 100 series spectrum is the other H series chipset, the H110, which is further stripped down from the Z170. It lacks support for RST, Smart Response Technology, Smart Sound Technology, Small Business Advantage 4.0, RAID, overclocking, and multi-GPU configurations. It also loses more than half the USB 3.0 support of the Z170 chipset. The number of HSIO lanes available falls sharply, and their use is limited. Memory support is reduced as well, as only a single DIMM is permitted in each channel. Finally, the H110 is also the only chipset to lack PCI-E 3.0 support; instead it uses eight lanes of the older PCI-E 2.0 standard.

The H110 chipset doesn't offer much, but it still supports the Skylake CPU, DDR4 and a PCI-E 3.0 connection for a GPU. The H110 chipset will likely be used on the cheapest LGA 1151 motherboards, however, which will make it easier for consumers to upgrade to Skylake without needing to pay out quite as much.

Intel 100 Series Business Chipsets
ChipsetQ170Q150B150
CPU PCI-E 3.0 Config Support1 x 16 or 2 x 8 or 1 x 8 + 2 x 41 x 161 x 16
Independent Display Support333
Memory Channels/ DIMMs per Channel2/22/22/2
Intel SIPP EligibleYesYesNo
Intel vPro Technology EligibleYesNoNo
Intel Active Management TechnologyYesNoNo
Intel RAID Support 0/1/5/10YesNoNo
Intel Smart Response TechnologyYesNoNo
Max Intel RST for PCI-E300
Maximum HSIO Lanes262018
USB Support (USB 3.0)14 (10)14 (8)12 (6)
SATA 3.0 Ports666
Chipset PCI-E Lanes20 PCI-E 3.010 PCI-E 3.08 PCI-E 3.0

Although motherboards with the business chipsets -- the Q170, Q150 and B150 -- aren't being released yet, Intel has announced the specifications. Many features such as Small Business Advantage 3.0, Small Business Basics, Intel Platform Trust Technology, and Intel Smart Sound Technology are implemented across this entire line.

The Q170 chipset is the closest to the Z170 chipset than any other, supporting all of the features the Z170 has, with the exception of overclocking. It also supports several additional business features, and is the only chipset with the vPro and Active Management technologies. As it supports a wide array of PCI-E 3.0 configurations, this makes the system ideally suited for a compute-heavy business computer or a low-end server.

The Q150 is similar to the Q170, but sheds many of the more advanced business technologies, maintaining only SIPP support. It also loses support for PCI-E storage RAID solutions, and has a reduced number of HSIO lanes and USB 3.0 ports. The last business chipset, the B150, further reduces these aspects of the system, losing all but the basic business technologies and nearly half of the USB 3.0 ports.

Although the business motherboards aren't available yet, Intel's announcement suggests that they are not far off, so we will likely see motherboards using these chipsets appear in the near future. Until then, all of the consumer chipsets are now available and should offer a wide range of options to consumers.

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  • CTurbo
    +1 about time!!! Now bring on the locked i5s and e3 Xeons!!!
    Reply
  • ozicom
    One thing i know is intel or manufacturers tweak these specs. At previous chipsets intel said H81 can't overclock but produced G3258 which can be overclocked by H81 easily. Why do we have to buy Z series in order to use multi GPU? Having multi GPU looks luxury for Intel or Intel wants to earn more money from multi GPU users. I think some manufacturers will make H series multi GPU capable mainboards.
    Reply
  • synphul
    In a sense, they are charging for multi gpu because it's more complex and/or has more advanced options and multi gpu is a luxury. The more features a board has the more it costs so it stands to reason. If people can afford multi gpu setups they can probably afford the small price premium to use them.

    I'm not positive but I would think with the increased pcie lanes the h170 should support sli since it has 16 pcie lanes (x8/x8). Crossfire support is still found on sub z series motherboards, they only restrict sli compatibility (on 1150). Manufacturers do tweak specs a bit so nothing is concrete other than a board by board basis.
    Reply
  • salgado18
    One thing i know is intel or manufacturers tweak these specs. At previous chipsets intel said H81 can't overclock but produced G3258 which can be overclocked by H81 easily. Why do we have to buy Z series in order to use multi GPU? Having multi GPU looks luxury for Intel or Intel wants to earn more money from multi GPU users. I think some manufacturers will make H series multi GPU capable mainboards.
    That's competition. If people want multi GPU, they want a good CPU, and since that has to be an Intel, they get to dictate the game. Everyone should pray for AMD Zen to be a hit next year, or it will keep being like that.
    Reply
  • synphul
    How is intel dictating the game though? Ignoring the fact they already offer options that aren't available for any amd platform at the moment, what's unrealistic about increased options/performance costing more money? More sata connections, sli vs non sli, additional power phases - they're all tiered improvements. It's been this way with any product group. Back in the day of cassette tape stereos, dual cassette options were more expensive. A cd player vs one without was more expensive. Moving from a single cd to a multi disc changer was even more expensive yet. 7.1 sound systems cost more than 5.1 cost more than 2.1.

    That's sort of like asking why I have to buy a car with the premium package to get all power options, the upgraded alloy wheels, power roof and larger engine. Should it be the only option? Just one motherboard that has all features at one price and a single board for 1151 from each manufacturer. No choice to opt for a lesser expensive board if someone doesn't need to overclock or doesn't need sli. Having to buy a $200-300 board just to run an i3 with integrated graphics and a single ssd.

    If anything they give a huge amount of options to suit a wide variety of people's needs. Nothing is dictated. It's almost as if people are upset if they don't get the super omg ftw motherboard for the price of a budget board.

    Amd is currently in a crunch as far as profits. They have one of two options having a product struggling to compete in the current market. Try and sell it for more money and make the cost/performance ratio so poor that nothing sells, or sell at least something and live with it. If zen does in fact compete, it won't be at the heavily discounted prices of fx hardware. It will correlate with the pricing of competing products and they'll (wisely) gather as much profit as they can to offset their current situation. They're not going to do that making pennies.

    Being realistic, yes the z170 performance boards are a bit pricey. They're brand new and all new tech costs a premium. Amd is missing out on this since by the time they incorporate these features intel will have made them available for well over a year. Ddr4 is only available on intel boards. For awhile now on their enthusiast boards and now expanding to the mainstream platform. Intel is making ddr4 more obtainable despite being the only company of the two to have ddr4 at all. If people want m.2 or multiple m.2 drives, again intel is their only choice.

    M.2 is also new and not widely in use, much less multiple m.2 drives. Ddr4 isn't as widely used at the moment and doesn't offer a huge performance gain being limited to dual channel in lga1151. Many of the premium features aren't common daily drivers for a lot of people so if they don't need these features they can save money either going am3+ or going lga1150. The cutting edge enthusiasts who would use all this new tech are going to pay for the option to be on the cutting edge like they always have. Just like the first 4k monitors were a premium, the first led lcd monitors and so on.

    Did people trash Asus when they came out with one of the first 4k monitors at 60hz? It was priced at $3500, while acer has 4k monitors at $800 right now. That's a serious premium. So big of a difference that now people could pick up the acer and with the price difference afford an sli pc to play the games at 4k to go with it. For some reason when the first to come out with features is intel and it's selling at a premium because it's still brand new, people hate on them while having an understanding that any other newly released cutting edge tech is going to put a significant dent in the wallet.
    Reply
  • red77star
    Only real upgrade is LGA 2011-V3 platform, everything else waste of money and time.
    Reply
  • frankpc
    Which boards comply with HDMI 2.0(a?) and HDCP 2.2?
    For the HTPC, that spec is very important.

    Why was it ignored?
    Reply
  • IInuyasha74
    16578247 said:
    Which boards comply with HDMI 2.0(a?) and HDCP 2.2?
    For the HTPC, that spec is very important.

    Why was it ignored?

    It was ignored here, because the graphics processor is inside of the Intel CPU. The chipset doesn't really have much to do with it.
    Reply
  • frankpc
    16578274 said:
    16578247 said:
    Which boards comply with HDMI 2.0(a?) and HDCP 2.2?
    For the HTPC, that spec is very important.

    Why was it ignored?

    It was ignored here, because the graphics processor is inside of the Intel CPU. The chipset doesn't really have much to do with it.

    Excellent point! Thank you for that.

    I do wonder whether all of the Skylake chips support the Display Port 1.2 so that output can be used for conversion to HDMI 2.0a. I believe the HDCP code is handled external to the processor.

    Further, when building an HTPC with a Skylake processor to support 4K over HDMI 2.0a with HDCP (I am assuming that is the most processor intensive) if it matters which of the '48' Skylake processors is used.
    Reply
  • MattCookR11
    Hi just a question, i plan to get a MSI B150M chipset board and will want to run a GPU and a m2 SSD using a PCIe x4 adapter on one of its x4 ports. With this chipset having only with 8 pcie lanes, would it reduce or cause performance issues if both are running together, the GPU and the PCIe card. Like both devices running at 4x?
    Reply