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Everything We Know About Intel's Skylake Platform

Skylake Workstation Chipsets

Starting with the introduction of its Allendale- and Conroe-based microprocessors, Intel also made single-socket Xeon processor support available on its consumer-oriented platforms. Over the years, these Xeon CPUs became popular alternatives to Intel’s more expensive Core i7s because they have similar specs but sometimes cost less or include other useful features.

To stop desktop enthusiasts from turning to Xeons rather than Core i7s, Intel doesn't facilitate Xeon support on its Skylake-based consumer- and business-oriented platforms.

Instead, the company created two workstation-oriented hubs for its LGA 1151 interface: C232 and C236. Intel hasn’t given us all of their specs, but a representative did convey the basics. What we're missing is how many HSIO lanes are available on C232 and C236, which is an important piece of information (more on that below). So, we reached out to the motherboard OEMs and were told by one product manager that C232 has the same connectivity support as B150, while C236 is identical to Z170.

Comparison Of C232 & C236 Chipsets
ChipsetC232C236
CPU SupportCeleron, Pentium, Core, XeonCeleron, Pentium, Core, Xeon
Embedded OptionsNoYes
TDP6W6W
Recommended Customer Price$34$49
Max PCIe Lanes820
CPU PCIe Configurations 1x16, 2x8, 1x8+2x41x16, 2x8, 1x8+2x4
USB 2.064
USB 3.0Up To 6Up To 10
SATA 6Gb/s68
RAID0/1/5/100/1/5/10
Intel Virtualization technologyNoYes
Intel vProNoYes
Intel RSTNoYes
Intel RST EnterpriseYesYes
Intel Node ManagerNoYes
Intel Standard ManageabilityNoYes
Intel Smart Response TechnologyNoYes
Trusted Execution TechnologyYesYes
Intel HD Audio TechnologyNoNo
Intel SIPPNoNo
Intel Small Business AdvantageNoNo
Intel HD Graphics SupportNoNo

These chipsets are supposed to last longer and boast several advanced technologies that are not available on the desktop side. Other than that, their biggest advantages are multi-GPU and Xeon support.

Limiting LGA 1151-based Xeons to the C232 and C236 chipsets makes it more difficult for enthusiasts to build PCs using a Xeon processor, of course, as there are fewer motherboards sporting either PCH. Those that do exist are often pricier due to the validation work that goes into a more professional product.

Although a Xeon-based build can still be achieved for less money than a high-end Core i7, the delta is no longer as large. Most C236-based boards cost too much to make buying a Xeon economically viable. Falling back to C232 might save you some cash, but you'll also have far fewer features to use compared to Z170.

  • Captainawzome
    17734443 said:
    Intel's Skylake architecture and corresponding platform represent a huge evolution in connectivity, overclocking and, ultimately, system performance. This resource should help answer any questions you have about the company's current desktop PC design.

    Everything We Know About Intel's Skylake Platform : Read more
    Thanks! Sadly, this page does not explain the nuances of other factors such as overclocking potential, and the probability of getting a skylake CPU that overclocks to 4.6, 4.8, etc

    Very informational though! :)
    Reply
  • logainofhades
    I suspect that if Zen is in any way successful, Intel will back off a bit, on the non z overclock stance. If they price a chip that is competitive, say at least on the same single threaded performance level as Haswell, with a locked i3 or i5, AMD will get a much needed boost in sales. I honestly hope something like this happens. This one side dominating completely, is bad for consumers.
    Reply
  • IInuyasha74
    17734455 said:
    17734443 said:
    Intel's Skylake architecture and corresponding platform represent a huge evolution in connectivity, overclocking and, ultimately, system performance. This resource should help answer any questions you have about the company's current desktop PC design.

    Everything We Know About Intel's Skylake Platform : Read more
    Thanks! Sadly, this page does not explain the nuances of other factors such as overclocking potential, and the probability of getting a skylake CPU that overclocks to 4.6, 4.8, etc

    Very informational though! :)

    Well you see, it is hard to put a number on that which would hold up reliably. Overclocking chips could land just about anywhere, and without testing dozens of samples we couldn't come up with an average overclock that Skylake seems to be able to hit that would hold up well enough.
    Reply
  • kunstderfugue
    Hopefully the competition later this year makes Intel reconsider the way they're treating their consumers.
    Reply
  • logainofhades
    Yea, I have not been very happy with Intel, since Skylake released. The Xeon chipset part, in particular, irked me. The whole launch has been a disaster of confusion. Glad this article was made to clear some things up.
    Reply
  • TJ Hooker
    ASUS, MSI, and Gigabyte all ventured into non-k overclocking on their Z170 boards as well. The BIOSs that enabled it may have been labelled as betas, and I'm not sure if they're available through official channels anymore. But if Biostar gets a mention for releasing and then retracting non-k OC, I don't know why these other manufacturers aren't brought up.

    Another drawback of non-k BCLK OC is that CPU core temperature can no longer be read.

    Lastly, another potential topic to add is the subject of DDR4 at speeds greater than 2133 MHz. I've seen many forum questions about what CPU/mobo support for running 2400+ MHz DDR4. I'm under the impression that you need a Z170 mobo (I could be wrong), I've seen people say you need an unlocked CPU (from personal experience I know this is wrong), could be handy to add a section to clear this up.
    Reply
  • Skylake Platform is in my opinion waste of money compared to x99 in about everything.
    Reply
  • josejones
    I am far more interested in articles about the soon to come Z270 motherboards

    200-Series Union Point Motherboards
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-2983311/200-series-union-point-motherboards.html
    Reply
  • Jaran Gaarder Heggen
    Interresting article, but can you please add chipset for dual cpu xeon also in the Workstation area?
    Reply
  • hixbot
    I am far more interested in articles about the soon to come Z270 motherboards

    200-Series Union Point Motherboards
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-2983311/200-series-union-point-motherboards.html
    You will be lucky to see Kaby Lake mobile before the end of 2016. It will be mid 2017 at the earliest before consumers can get their hands on desktop motherboards with Union Point.
    Very hard to expect a detailed breakdown of that platform at this time.
    Reply