Intel's X99 Chipset
Intel's X99 chipset has been out for a few years now, but it is still the most powerful and feature rich consumer oriented platform on the market. Intel continues to release new processors for the chipset based on its latest CPU architectures that rejuvenate the platform and keep it at the top of the market.
Most of the advantages of the X99 platform are inherent inside of the CPU and not in the chipset itself. LGA2011-3 processors support an aggregate number of PCI-E 3.0 lanes and quad-channel memory configurations. The X99 chipset itself is not particularly robust. Intel's more modern Z170 uses newer technologies compared to the X99 chipset, and Z170 also supports a greater number of HSIO lanes and USB 3.0 ports.
The different features supported by the X99 and Z170 chipsets will likely create a dilemma for consumers. On the one hand, the X99 platform will give you the best overall performance. A Z170 build, however, will give you more connections and allow you to use faster storage devices due to the improved 20 PCI-E 3.0 lanes embedded in the chipset.
Intel Consumer Chipsets
|CPU PCI-E 3.0 Config Support||1 x 16 or 2 x 16 or 2 x 16 + 1 x 8 or 5 x 8||1 x 16 or 2 x 8 or 1 x 8 + 2 x 4||1 x 16||1 x 16||1 x 16|
|Independent Display Support||N/A||3||3||3||2|
|Memory Channels/ DIMMs per Channel||4/2||2/2||2/2||2/2||2/1|
|CPU Overclocking Support||✓||✓||✗||✗||✗|
|RAID Support 0/1/5/10||✓||✓||✓||✗||✗|
|I/O Port Flexibility||✓||✓||✓||✓||✗|
|Maximum HSIO Lanes||18||26||22||18||14|
|Chipset PCI-E Support||8 PCI-E 2.0||20 PCI-E 3.0||16 PCI-E 3.0||8 PCI-E 3.0||6 PCI-E 2.0|
|USB Support (USB 3.0)||14 (6)||14 (10)||14 (8)||12 (6)||10 (4)|
|SATA 3.0 Ports||10||6||6||6||4|
MORE: Best PC Builds
MORE: How To Build A PC
MORE: All PC Builds Content