In January 2021, Intel introduced a new set of system logic for motherboards on the LGA1200 socket with support for Rocket Lake and Comet Lake processors.
At the same time, it became known that motherboards based on the Z490 chipset will also be able to work with Rocket Lake processors after flashing the BIOS. In this article, we’ll take a look at what to expect from the 500 series chipsets.
Intel is true to its tradition. With the release of each processor family, the company announces a new set of system logic to work with it. Rocket Lake processors are no exception.
And if the release of the 400 series was marked by the transition from the good old LGA1151 socket to the LGA1200 socket, then the necessity of introducing the 500th series is not so obvious. Let’s compare and figure out Intel 500 Vs 400 Series Chipset.
Intel 500 Vs 400 Series Chipsets
To begin with, it should be noted that the 500 series includes only four chipset options for boards of different classes: Z590, H570, B560, H510. This is three times less than the 400-series chipsets there were 12 of them in total, for different market segments and price niches.
Tablet comparison Intel 500 Vs 400 Series Chipset
|Overclocking the processor||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
|Memory channels/slots per channel||2/2||2/2||2/2||2/2||2/1|
|Rocket Lake PCI-E in 4.0 mode||Yes*||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Possible configurations of PCI-E processor lines||x16 + x4 or x8 + x8 + x4 or x8 + x4 + x4 + x4||x16 + x4 or x8 + x8 + x4 or x8 + x4 + x4 + x4||x16 + x4||x16 + x4||x16|
|Number of DMI 3.0 lines||4||eight||eight||4||4|
|Number of PCI-E Lines||24||24||twenty||12||6|
|PCI-E Chipset Version||3.0||3.0||3.0||3.0||3.0|
|Maximum USB 3.2 Ports Gen 2×2 / Gen 2×1 / Gen 1×1||0/6/10||3/10/10||2/4/8||2/4/6||0/0/4|
|Total USB Ports||fourteen||fourteen||fourteen||12||ten|
|Number of SATA 6Gb / s Ports||6||6||6||6||4|
|SATA RAID 0, 1, 5, 10||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|LAN network adapter||1 Gbps||1 Gbps||1 Gbps||1 Gbps||1 Gbps|
|Wi-Fi support||Wi-Fi 6 AX-201||Wi-Fi 6 AX-201||Wi-Fi 6 AX-201||Wi-Fi 6 AX-201||Wi-Fi 6 AX-201|
|Intel Optane memory support||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|TDP||6 W||6 W||6 W||6 W||6 W|
Let’s consider each of the new products separately.
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Intel Z590 Chipset
The flagship of the line. It can be used to build the highest level desktop systems for gamers, enthusiasts, and those who simply don’t need to compromise.
Traditionally for Intel, only top-end chipsets have a full set of features for overclocking the processor and memory, and the 500 series is no exception. Only the Z590 chipset is officially endowed with the maximum set of functions for overclocking the processor and RAM.
There are some changes in comparison with the previous series chipsets, but there are not so many of them.
First of all, we are talking about the bus connecting the processor with the chipset. If earlier versions of chipsets communicated with the processor via four DMI 3.0 lines, now there are eight lines. From this it follows that the processor can exchange data with peripherals at double the speed, about 7.86 GB / s. This can be clearly seen when working with several high-speed drives connected to the chipset PCI-E lanes. Combinations of Z490 + Rocket Lake and Z590 + Comet Lake will only work in DMI Gen 3 x4 configuration.
Among the innovations of the 500 series chipsets, it is also worth noting support for USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 at a speed of 20 Gb / s. As a result, the theoretical arsenal of high-speed USB ports looks pretty impressive:
- up to 3 USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports (20Gb / s)
- up to 10 USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 ports (10Gb / s)
- up to 10 USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 ports (5Gb / s)
But this does not mean that all these ports can be implemented at the same time. For example, if you make three USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports, then you can additionally make only four USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 ports. The number of USB 2.0 ports can reach 14 pieces, but it also depends on the configuration of USB 3.2 ports, since the total number of all USB ports should not exceed 14 pieces.
The number of high-speed lines HSIO (High Speed I / O) has been increased from 30 to 38. However, upon closer examination, it becomes clear that this is not entirely true. The fact is that DMI lines are not taken into account in the 400-series chipsets when calculating HSIO, but they are taken into account in the 500-series. If we count the same, then in both series there are 30 HSIOs excluding DMI, and taking into account DMI the score is 38:34 in favor of the Z590.
With the new line of chipsets, the PCI-E bus has officially evolved to the 4th generation, along with this, the number of PCI-E lanes of Rocket Like processors has been increased from 16 to 20. You can connect video cards and / or NVME drives, as well as all kinds of controllers with an interface to them. PCI-E. Each PCI-E 4.0 lane can transfer about 2 GB of data per second, which is twice the bandwidth of a PCI-E 3.0 lane.
List of possible configurations of PCI-E processor lines:
- x16 + x4 – already a classic scheme with connecting a video card over 16 lines and an NVME drive over 4 lines PCI-Express 4.0. It looks like Intel desktop processors have caught up with AMD processors in this parameter.
- x8 + x8 + x4 – in this configuration, you can connect two video cards and one nvme SSD directly to the processor.
- x8 + x4 + x4 + x4 – here a lot of options are possible with a different number of video cards and drives connected directly to the PCI-Express processor lines.
* options for connecting video cards and drives are given as one of the most likely scenarios, but in fact, these can be any controllers with a PCI-E interface.
All 20 PCI-Express 4.0 lanes can be used with the 500 series chipsets, except for the budget H510. However, we know that motherboards based on the Z490 chipset can also provide this opportunity, if the motherboard manufacturer has foreseen this in advance and performed the wiring with this in mind. Fortunately, some manufacturers have already pleased with the news that all their motherboards based on the Z490 chipset have full support for all 20 PCI-E 4.0 processor lanes. Comet Lake processors can only work with the Z590 chipset in PCI-Express 3.0 x16 configuration.
The Z590 is the same as the Z490:
- There are 24 PCI-Express 3.0 lanes for connecting PCI-E x1 / x4 slots, M.2 ports and any controllers working through the PCI-Express bus. A maximum of 16 devices can be connected to PCI-E lanes.
- Up to 8 SATA 6 Gb / s ports are available, although usually no more than 6 are implemented.
- There is support for Wi-Fi 6 AX201.
- Built-in gigabit network adapter.
- There is support for Intel 2.5 Base-T.
- All proprietary technologies available with the Z490 chipset remain unchanged.
- Even the heat dissipation remained the same – within 6 W.
In fact, 8 lines of DMI 3.0 and support for USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 are almost the entire list of notable differences between the Z590 and Z490.
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Intel H570 Chipset
A representative of the middle-high class, on which it is also possible to build high-level systems.
The most significant difference from its more expensive brother is the lack of overclocking capability. However, Intel seems to have heard the prayers of users and retained the ability to overclock RAM for Mid-end chipsets.
Separation of 20 PCI-E processor lanes is possible only according to the x16 + x4 scheme.
There are eight DMI 3.0 lines, like the Z590.
Compared to the Z590, the number of PCI-Express 3.0 chipset lanes has been reduced from 24 to 20.
The total number of USB ports is still 14, as is the number of USB 2.0 ports. But the number of USB 3.2 ports has been reduced:
- USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 3 to 2
- USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 from 10 to 4
- USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 from 10 to 8
Six SATA 6 Gb/s ports are available, Wi-Fi 6 is available, a gigabit network adapter is built-in, there is support for Intel 2.5 Base-T, etc.
The H570 chipset is noticeably trimmed relative to the flagship but retains some advantages over the Z490 chipset. For example, eight DMI 3.0 lines and USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 support. On the other hand, there is no possibility of overclocking the processor, which can be a significant disadvantage for some.
Intel B560 Chipset
An even more stripped-down representative of the middle class.
Processor overclocking is also not available here, but the ability to overclock the RAM is retained.
Separation of 20 PCI-E processor lanes is possible only according to the x16 + x4 scheme.
The number of DMI 3.0 lanes has been reduced to four, and the number of PCI-Express 3.0 chipset lanes has been reduced to 12 – even less than the B460 chipset had.
The total number of USB ports has been reduced to 12, as is the number of USB 2.0 ports. And the number of USB 3.2 ports has been slightly reduced due to Gen 1×1:
- USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 up to 2
- USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 up to 4
- USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 up to 6
Six SATA 6 Gb / s ports are available, Wi-Fi 6, built-in Gigabit LAN, Intel 2.5 Base-T support, etc.
The chipset also lost support for RAID arrays.
The main advantage of the B560 chipset remains its low price and support for USB 3.2 Gen 2×2.
Intel H510 Chipset
The most budgetary representative of the new line, designed for entry-level systems.
Overclocking is not provided here either for the processor or for the memory.
Motherboards based on the H510 chipset can use only 16 PCI-E processor lanes in a single 1×16 configuration.
The number of PCI-E 3.0 chipset lanes have been cut to six, and the number of SATA 6 Gb / s ports – to four.
The chipset lacks support for USB 3.2 Gen 2, but retains support for up to four USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 ports and up to 10 USB 2.0 ports.
There is still a built-in gigabit network adapter here, there is support for Intel 2.5 Base-T and Wi-Fi 6.
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At first glance, the new line of Intel chipsets does not differ much from the previous one, but in fact there are differences and there are enough of them.
- For the first time in a long time, we have seen a noticeable increase in the speed of data exchange between the processor and the chipset.
- There is now support for USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 at speeds up to 20 Gb / s.
- Memory overclocking is now also present in the middle segment.
- The default is PCI-E 4.0 support for Rocket Lake processors.
- And of course, the entire 500 lineup supports the latest 11th Gen Intel processors.
Motherboard manufacturers will certainly delight us with interesting solutions based on new chipsets, which will make them even more attractive and the choice more obvious.
Ahead of us are reviews and comparative tests of motherboards from different manufacturers, and today we got acquainted with the key features of the new Intel chipsets.