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Intel accidentally spills the beans on its many, many Alder Lake chipsets

Forward-looking: Intel is preparing a fleet of motherboard chipsets for its 12th generation Core Alder Lake processors. They fall under the nomenclature of the 600 series and range from the entry level to the high-end desktop (HEDT), which has not happened since 2017. The list of chipsets in the 600 series was found inside Intel’s own drivers. It includes equivalents to the 500 series, namely a Z690, an H670, a B660 and an H610, but also new prosumer and workstation lines.

The flagship’s chipset is the mysterious X699. Intel’s latest xx99 chipset was the X299, which supported the first two generations of Core i9 processors, the Skylake-X and Cascade Lake-X. For its part, the X699 will be associated with a kind of HEDT series, but there is no information about it yet.

After going down a notch, the Intel Z690 chipset is a little more familiar. It is the flagship̵

7;s consumer platform for players and enthusiasts. Expect two channels of DDR5 memory and at least enough PCIe 5.0 lanes for the GPU. Intel may also throw in some high-speed networks.

The Intel H670, and the company’s and laptops, the Q670 and Q670E, are likely to drop overclocking support and perhaps DDR5 as well. The Intel B660 will likely have a similar feature set to the H670, but will lose some connectivity and PCIe 5.0 lanes. The H610 and H610E will have just enough features to meet the needs of average users.

More exciting are the Intel W685 and W680 chipsets for workstations. The difference between the two can be DDR5 versus DDR4. They will be compatible with Xeon versions of consumer and enthusiast Alder Lake processors. The Intel W580 chipset had pretty much the same features as the Z590 chipset minus the ability to overclock, which is expected here.

The R680E chipset is a bit of an oddball. The name suggests that it will be used for built-in portable scenarios, but the feature set remains a mystery.

Cool features aside, the real purpose of a chipset is to unleash the full power of the processor. Consider this a reminder, Intel: learn from the B560 disaster and ratify the power limit guidelines, otherwise all efforts in these chipsets will be in vain.

Photo credit: Šimom Caban

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