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Intel Core i7 and Core i5 LGA 1155 Sandy Bridge
by Damien Triolet, Franck Delattre, Guillaume Louel et Marc Prieur
Published on March 21, 2011

Socket LGA 1155, P67 and H67, LGA 2011
The new Sandy Bridge CPUs are supported by the new Socket LGA 1155. In comparison with 1156, there’s one fewer point of contact and the two sockets are totally incompatible. 1156 and 1155 processors are the same size, namely 37.5x37.5mm, but the socket notches are different which means you can’t mount an LGA 1155 CPU on an LGA 1156 motherboard and vice-versa.

This is bad news, especially as the LGA 1156 was only launched in September 2009! The only consolation is that the mounting holes for the CPU cooling system are the same on the two Sockets.

Socket LGA 1155 can be paired with 4 chipsets, two for the enterprise market, the Q67 and B65, and two for the general consumer market, the H67 and P67. The P67 platform is the only one that doesn’t have the option to use the CPU’s on-board HD Graphics, but is on the other hand the only one that gives access to settings allowing you to overclock the CPU. Apart from this, H67 is identical to P67.

Both these chipsets differ to their predecessor due to SATA 6 GB/s support, coming, as it does, ten months after integration on the AMD 890GX. Note however, of a total of six SATA ports, only two are at this speed, the four others being SATA 3 Gb/s. USB 3.0 is notable in its absence on this generation of chipset and motherboard manufacturers will have to include an external controller. Intel itself does so on its P67 motherboard, the DP67BG.

Indeed, the bandwidth between the CPU and the chipset has been doubled using a DMI at 5 GT/s or 2 GB/s in each direction. The chipset’s PCI-Express’ are also up from 2.5 to 5 GT /s, which was the major drawback with the P55.

In comparison with the H67, the Q67 also supports a good old PCI bus (on some P67/H67 motherboards there are PCI ports managed by additional chips). In comparison to the Q67, the B65 has two fewer USB 2.0 ports, taking it to twelve, and only supports one SATA 6 Gb/s port and the SATA controller no longer works in IDE or AHCI mode and therefore there’s no RAID.

Although LGA 1155 replaces LGA 1156, socket LGA 1366 remains in place for the time being. No Sandy Bridge architecture processor has been planned for it and we’ll have to wait for a new high-end platform, which won’t be here before the second half of the year. Intel is reported to have two projects up its sleeve, LGA 1356 on the one hand and LGA 2011 on the other, with the second getting priority. LGA 1356 and LGA 2011 CPUs share some impressive specs according to the rumours, namely up to 8 cores and 20 MB of LLC cache and differ in terms of:

- Memory: triple channel on 1356, or quadruple channel on 2011
- PCI Express: three PCI-E 8x Gen3 on 1356, five on 2011
- QPI: 1 on 1356 (bi-Socket), 2 on 2011 (quadri-Socket)

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