It’s been a little over a week since Intel finally released their X99 chipset to the public. The new X99 chipset enables system builders and enthusiasts to take advantage of Intel’s new Haswell-E line of ‘extreme’ 8-core processors, 20MB of cache, and the kicker: up to 64 gigabytes of DDR4 memory! Yes, folks, DDR4 is here and it’s looking fine. Other less hyped features (but no less important) include support for up to 10 SATA ports and up to 14 USB ports. All those ports mean that you’ll be able to connect pretty much anything you want whenever you want, provided you’ve got a good PSU to accommodate all those devices.
The Haswell-E line has three models tied to it, all of which are considerably expensive. The major caveat is that only the top of the line Extreme 5960X has eight cores and supports the 20MB cache of the chipset, while the 5930k and 5820k possess ‘only’ 6 cores and a 15MB cache. Still, the new CPU line is reportedly another mere baby step for Intel in terms of performance.
The real reason to be excited for these boards is the DDR4 support. DDR4 RAM runs faster, consumes less power, and is generally a major improvement over DDR3 memory. However, don’t expect to get it cheap; even 16 gigabytes of RAM is worth nearly $300. All that power does come at a price, after all.
Motherboard manufacturers have come out of the gates swinging as well. Gigabyte, MSI, and EVGA all already have motherboards available, and Asus has also released three new motherboards based around X99. Again, watch your wallet as they are priced quite competitively and aimed at enthusiasts. So, if you’re looking to stand on the cutting edge, go ahead and grab an X99 chipset board and see the future for yourself.