Intel Corp.'s next-generation high-end core-logic known as X79 may support both current enthusiast-class chips in LGA1366 form-factor as well as next-generation microprocessors in LGA2011 packaging. In fact, according to a document seen by X-bit labs, Intel itself prepares to release two mainboards based on X79 chipset for both its present and future chips.
At present Intel X58 chipset supports only microprocessors in LGA1366 form-factor and it is unlikely that the core-logic will support future Sandy Bridge E central processing units (CPUs). The yet-to-be announced X79 chipset (Waimea Bay enthusiast platform) will support both types of "extreme" chips: code-named Bloomfield in LGA1366 form-factor as well as code-named Sandy Bridge-E in LGA2011 packaging, a document seen by us claims.
Intel itself plans to release two X79-based "Extreme Board" motherboards: DX79SI (Siler) and DX79TO (Thorsby) for LGA1366 and LGA2011 microprocessors, according to documents seen by X-bit labs. The DX79SI will be aimed at no-compromise performance enthusiasts, whereas the DX79TO will be designed for those, who want high performance with certain price envelopes. Interestingly, the new Intel Extreme Boards lack PS/2 connector, which is a pretty logical move and a signal for other makers of mainboards.
The DX79SI mainboard is designed for extreme enthusiasts with no limits in mind. The mainboard will support LGA2011 microprocessors with up to eight DIMMs and up to 64GB of memory. The motherboard will feature three PCI Express 3.0 slots (which is a kind of breakthrough by itself) to support three-way multi GPU configurations, 12 Serial ATA ports (6 with Serial ATA-600 ports), 4 USB 3.0 ports, 14 USB 2.0 ports, 8-channel audio, Bluetooth/Wi-Fi module, two GbE ports and so on.
The DX79TO mainboard is aimed at more conservative users. The platform will support LGA1366 microprocessors, high-speed DDR3 memory as well as two PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots. The motherboard will feature 8 SATA connectors, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 6-channel audio, GbE and so on.
Release of two different types of mainboards for two different sockets - if the document is completely correct - would be a tremendously strange move from Intel. The company does not need to maintain any "forwards" compatibility with the LGA1366 platform since very few people would like to obtain a new motherboard while retaining the old CPU. One of the motivators to keep the old socket would be to retain eco-system-like compatibility with high-end office PCs. IT specialists would possibly like the idea of a new mainboard for older CPUs, cooling solutions, etc.
Still, given the fact that Intel currently has an overwhelming advantage in terms of performance against its main competitor AMD, it makes no sense for Intel to support two high-end platforms at the same time. Nonetheless, Asustek Computer did demonstrate a motherboard supporting both LGA1366 and LGA2011 microprocessors at Computex 2011 trade-show.
Supporting two types of chips would help Intel to lower the cost of high-end solutions in order to not let AMD's FX-series Zambezi/Bulldozer onto the market. In addition, prolonged support of LGA1366 will help Intel to ensure it can supply the market with sufficient amount of high-end chips.
Intel did not comment on the news-story.