In a launch that should come as surprise to no one, Intel has taken the veil off of its Z68 Express chipset. Though it might seem a bit odd to release a follow-up to P67 so soon (not even counting the two months that no boards were even available), Z68 is to become the higher-tier chipset; one that’s a bit more expensive than P67, and offers a couple of niche features for those who want them.
Identical to a feature seen in H55 and H57 chipsets, Z68 opens up the ability for the enthusiast to take advantage of Intel’s QuickSync transcoding technology. This means that users can take advantage of their discrete graphics card (GeForce or Radeon) while at the same time encode a video using Intel’s integrated graphics chip.
This tech requires Lucid’s software to take advantage of, which all Z68 motherboards that ship with video output ports will include. It has been reported that both AMD and NVIDIA have been working on their own versions of this Hybrid GPU software, so we’ll see how these will compare to Lucid’s solution when either hit the market.
The other major feature that Z68 includes is called Intel Smart Response Technology. Similar to Seagate’s Momentus XT hybrid hard drives, SRT allows users to put a modest-sized SSD in their machine, and then have it act as a mega-cache to speed up their system performance overall.
Unlike Seagate’s solution, which includes just 4GB of NAND flash, Intel’s tech supports SSDs weighing in between 20 and 64GB. In essence, when an SSD, such as Intel’s 20GB 311 is used, the overall performance is to be improved, even if the hard drive being used alongside it is a little on the slow side. We’re working on an article to go over the tech and also our real-world results, and will be publishing it soon.
What do you guys think about Z68 so far? It’s not a far stretch from P67 to be sure, but do the additional features found here sway you at all towards a purchase?