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An Overview of Intel Chipsets

USB 2.0666444
USB 3.0/3.1466101010
Number of PCI Express lanes6 (+16 in CPU)8 (+16 in CPU)12 (+16 in CPU)20 (+16 in CPU)24 (+16 in CPU)24 × (+16 to 44 in CPU)
SATA Express (2x SATA III or 2x PCIe 3.0)--1333
Multiple graphics cardsNoYesYesYesYesYes
Processor overclockingNoNoNoYesYesYes

* If you are purchasing a Kaby Lake processor, a motherboard with an older chipset may require a BIOS upgrade with the latest Kaby Skylake processor support, otherwise your Kaby Lake processor will not work at all. B250/H270/Z270 chipsets offer Kaby Lake support straight out of the box. If you want to avoid updates and compatibility checking, choose our Alza Individual PC building service.

* This is a chipset specification; the connector equipment of a particular motherboard may vary. (CPU is an acronym for processor).

What Chipset Should You Choose?

  • Office and multimedia (H110) - these are usually used in systems where the graphics card is integrated in the processor, though there are some motherboards of this type that also feature one PCI Express x16 slot for a graphics card.
  • Games, amateur video and 3D graphics creation and editing (B150/B250 and H170/H270) -  the B250 chipset offers the best price/performance ratio, but if you find a B150 motherboard that you like, feel free to choose that instead (the diffrences between the B150/B250 chipsets are rather minor). The H170/H270 chipsets are not very interesting, as for a comparable price you can get motherboards with more powerful Z170/Z270 chipsets.
  • Games, amateur video and 3D graphics creation and editing, VR + overclocking (Z170/Z270) - motherboards for hardcore gamers and PC tuning enthusiasts. These allow you to install several graphics cards as well as the most powerful Kaby Lake processors, which you can also overclock (if the particular processor supports it); the Z270 chipset is newer and slightly better overall.
  • Professional 3D graphics, modeling, servers, and VR (X299) - for computers used primarily on computational tasks, typically rendering, or server duty. It can also be used for gaming machines, especially if you plan to explore virtual reality (VR). This chipset allows you to perform overclocking as well (if the particular processor supports it).
  • Professional servers (C612) - a two-processor chipset for very powerful systems designed to handle a range of challenging tasks.

* In order for the H110/B150/H170/Z170 motherboards (originally released for Skylake) to work with Kaby Lake processors, they need to have an up to date BIOS. If you want to skip the hassle and have your setup running smoothly out of the box, choose our Alza Individual service.


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