If you believe the chatter around the water cooler, Intel's upcoming Alder Lake lineup of processors is coming our way as soon as October. And, of course, a processor needs to find a home in a motherboard. Intel's Z690 will be the top-end chipset for 12th Generation Core processors codenamed Alder Lake, and according to a report by Performance Computing Inquisitor, the new boards will come with cutting-edge memory and PCIe connectivity. As with all leaked information, even though these details do line up with what's generally known about the Alder lake processors, do take these new bits with a grain of salt.
For starters, the leaked information claims the Z690 chipset supports both DDR4 and DDR5 DRAM. That means that it is up to the motherboard maker to choose which memory it decides to support on the motherboard, and it will ultimately result in mixed motherboard offerings from board partners like Asus, MSI, and Gigabyte, among others. In addition to the mixed memory support, the Z690 chipset has Gear 2 or Gear 4 modes for DDR5. This allows the memory controller to run at half or quarter speed, respectively, depending on the data rate, to boost overall throughput.
The CPU outputs 16 Gen5 PCIe lanes, while the chipset provides up to 12 PCIe Gen4 lanes and up to 16 PCIe Gen3 lanes. This setup purportedly allows for higher-end SSDs to be attached, while also keeping GPUs on the newer PCIe bus standards.
Intel has decided to upgrade its Direct Media Interface (DMI) connection, which now uses 8 PCIe Gen4 lanes for communication between the processor and chipset, as pictured in the diagram above. It is worth pointing out that the chipset supports solid USB connectivity with up to four USB 3.2 2×2 (20Gb/s) ports. And for WiFi, there are CNVio modules that support Intel Wi-Fi 6E, and possibly even Wi-Fi 7. However, the latter is less likely in the near term.
As a general reminder, all of the aforementioned information should be taken with a grain of salt. Until Intel discloses further details, the specifications are uncertain and will remain that way until the launch later this year.