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Everything We Know About Intel's Skylake Platform

Skylake Consumer And Business Chipsets

Since the release of Intel's Skylake-based processors, we have been working tirelessly to learn everything there is to know about the architecture and its associated platform. The information we have accumulated over a number of months, but it seems to be constantly changing, creating confusion among tech enthusiasts. And so we're aiming to clear up conflicting information and condense everything we know about the Skylake platform down into a single resource.

Intel released a total of six chipsets targeting its consumer
and business customers. These platform controller hubs follow the same structure used for years to cover Intel's relevant markets. Three are consumer-oriented SKUs and three are designed for business.

Skylake Consumer Chipsets

Intel 100 Series Consumer Chipsets
CPU PCIe 3.0 Config Support1x16, 2x8 or 1x8 + 2x41x161x16
Embedded OptionsNoNoYes
Recommended Customer Price$47$32$26
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 PCIe320
I/O Port FlexibilityYesYesNo
Maximum HSIO Lanes262214
Chipset PCIe Support20 PCIe 3.0 Lanes16 PCIe 3.0 Lanes6 PCIe 2.0 Lanes
USB Support (USB 3.0)14 (10)14 (8)10 (4)
SATA 6Gb/s Ports664

At the high end, we have the enthusiast Z170 chipset. In addition to featuring RAID 0/1/5/10, multi-GPU support and offering a wide selection of connection options, it is also the only PCH officially able to overclock Skylake-based processors. Z170 is followed up by the mid-range H170, which also offers a lot of I/O connectivity and RAID 0/1/5/10 functionality, but lacks overclocking and multi-GPU support via the CPU.

H170 is often advertised as supporting multiple graphics cards, but motherboards based on it can only run a multi-GPU setup in a x16/x4 configuration. This is because the PCH doesn't allow the CPU to divide its PCIe lanes between multiple devices. A second GPU can be connected over a four-lane PCIe 3.0 link through the PCH, which may be sufficient for some GPUs, but Nvidia doesn't let you enable SLI over a x4 connection.

At the bottom of the consumer chipset stack is H110, by far the most limited PCH. Instead of using a DMI 3.0 connection between the CPU and core logic, it employs the older DMI 2.0 technology. It's basically a budget-oriented approach to supporting Skylake-based processors.

Skylake Business Chipsets

Intel 100 Series Business Chipsets
CPU PCIe 3.0 Config Support1x16, 2x8 or 1x8 + 2x41x161x16
Embedded OptionsYesNoNo
Recommended Customer Price$47$43$28
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 PCIe300
Maximum HSIO Lanes262018
USB Support (USB 3.0)14 (10)14 (8)12 (6)
SATA 6Gb/s Ports666
Chipset PCIe Lanes20 PCIe 3.010 PCIe 3.08 PCIe 3.0

The business-oriented chipsets are similar to the consumer offerings, though they include a few extra features that consumers don't necessarily need.

Q170 is nearly identical to Z170, but of course lacks overclocking support. Moreover, it features Intel SIPP, vPro Technology and Active Management Technology. Q150 is nearly the same as H170 as well, except it has fewer HSIO and PCIe lanes. Plus it lacks RAID and Intel’s Small Business Basics software package. It is eligible for Intel’s SIPP technology, though.

The low-end B150 business chipset, however, does not match up well with H110. It offers more connectivity, DMI 3.0 and PCIe 3.0. Because of its budget price and specs, B150 is often used by consumers as a more feature-rich alternative to H110.

MORE: Intel & AMD Processor Hierarchy
MORE: All CPU Content

Michael Justin Allen Sexton is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers hardware component news, specializing in CPUs and motherboards.