Fresh on the heels of the Cougar Point gaffe, Intel is rolling out new product with the Z68 chipset. Rumors of what the the Z68 would bring have been swirling around the interwebs for some time now and thanks to various leaks, a fair bit of accurate information has been out in the wild so it’s doubtful we’re going to break out much new information here today. Even so, we can permissibly spill the beans on what Intel has been working on so diligently. We’ll hit the highlights today but the real focus is on the nifty Smart Response Technology (SRT) feature. The final hardware, drivers, etc hit our desks scant days earlier so the full, in-depth review of overall performance and features will coming in short order but since there is really nothing groundbreaking, SRT will probably capture the fancy of most anyway.
Just the same, here’s a peek at the ASUS P8Z68-V PRO board that we used on our test bench with the Z68 chipset and is expected to retail for $209 while the non-pro version closer to the $189 mark. Does it look familiar? Yeah it looks very much like the P67 boards although the eagle-eyed readers may have spotted the VGA port peeking out the back of the board which is currently a feature found on the H67 boards.
Looking at the block diagram and the subsequent graphic, you can see the Z68 is a bit of a hybrid between the P67 and H67 chipsets as it supports the Intel HD graphics with HDMI and DP audio while also supporting three PCIE slots with 16 lanes – one at 16x or two at 8x. Overclocking options are in full effect as well so you get the best of both worlds in a complete package solution.
Dynamic switching between built-in processor graphics and an add-in card of your choosing is a powerful feature – especially for the ‘green’ crowd that’s energy conscious. Tuning offerings for overclocking, etc. are strong as well and we’ll explore these when Dan does his in-depth motherboard review but for now, the most exciting feature in our eyes in the Smart Response Technology.
The basics of what the SRT does is allow a user to do drop in an SSD and dynamically RAID it to the OS hard drive on the fly which will speed things up by caching frequently used files on the SSD. Intrigued? Let’s have a closer look!