On October 17, 2022, Intel introduced the 13th generation Core processors and the first chipset for them, the Z790. In early 2023, the 700 series chipset lineup expanded with the new H770 and B760 models. The processor socket has remained unchanged – the same LGA 1700. What changes has the new version of this platform undergone, and what are the differences between the new products and the predecessor chipsets of the Intel 600 series?
Following its unchanging traditions, Intel has been releasing two generations of processors and chipsets for a single socket for many years. The company also has another tradition – the youngest chipset for a socket is released only once. It also happened this time. The H610 continues to be the current budget solution for the 13th generation Intel Core processors, but the older and mid-range chipsets received updated replacements: the Z690 replaced the Z790, the H770 will continue the game instead of the H670, and the B660 will replace the new B760. Despite the fact that BIOS updates have been released for the “oldies” of the 600th series to work with the 13th generation of processors, the new 700th series look preferable due to some improvements.
The 13th generation Core processors themselves have not changed their own peripheral capabilities. Like the 12th generation models, they have 16 PCI-E 5.0 lanes for the graphics card slot and four PCI-E 4.0 lanes for the NVMe storage slot. There is still no support for PCI-E 5.0 for the latter. The only change at this level is support for DDR5-5600 memory by default. For predecessors, DDR5-4800 was considered the limit mode without overclocking.
The flagship chipset of the new generation, as expected, has the maximum peripheral capabilities for the platform. In addition, the chipset is endowed with the most complete functionality: as in the case of its predecessors, of the entire 700th line, only models with the Z prefix are able to overclock the processor and RAM.
The Z790 communicates with the processor, like the Z690, using eight DMI 4.0 bus lines. The bandwidth of such a connection is 15.72 GB / s, which is more than enough for many peripheral devices and expansion cards. By the way, the communication channel of competing Ryzen 7000 with AMD 600 series chipsets is twice as slow.
The most significant changes took place in the configuration of the PCI-Express lines of the chipset itself. Their total number is still 28, but the balance has been changed. If the Z690 had 16 PCI-E 3.0 lines and only 12 PCI-E 4.0 lines, then in the Z790 the number of lines of the fourth version of the interface was increased to 20, while reducing the number of slower PCI-E 3.0 lines to eight. This approach allows you to expand the board up to six simultaneously working slots for NVMe drives without additional PCI-E switch chips, while the predecessor chipset in a similar case was limited to four slots.
Other changes are not so significant. The Z790 now has the ability to expand one ultra-fast USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 port more: the predecessor could have up to four of them, the new chipset could have up to five. At the same time, the number of slower USB 3.2 Gen 2 and Gen 1 remains the same: each type can be up to 10 pieces. The number of SATA ports in the Z690 has increased from six to eight; they have migrated to the Z790 unchanged.
In the 700th series of chipsets, Intel has dropped support for Optane Memory. Introduced back in the 200th series of chipsets, the technology remained unclaimed due to the practical absence of appropriate memory on the consumer market. Despite this, Optane Memory has been supported by as many as five generations of chipsets, and it has only recently been abandoned.
The older chipset without the possibility of overclocking the processor also has a full-fledged communication channel with the DMI 4.0 x8 processor. In addition to the possibility of overclocking only RAM, the differences lie in a smaller number of PCI-E lanes of the chipset itself.
Like the predecessor H670, there are 24 in total. However, similar to the flagship solution, the H770 has more PCI-E 4.0 lanes while reducing the number of PCI-E 3.0 lanes. Now there are 16 and 8 of them, respectively, while the H670 had equal lines of each interface version – 12 each. As in the case with the flagship chipset, an increase in the number of lines allows you to connect more fast drives in full-speed 4.0 x4 mode – up to five versus four for the H670.
Otherwise, there are no changes. The number of all ports remains the same as the previous H670. This list includes two ultra-fast USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, four fast USB 3.2 Gen 2 and eight standard USB 3.2 Gen 1. Complementing the picture, the ability to expand up to 8 SATA ports is the only point where the H770 is not inferior to the flagship Z790 in peripheral capabilities.
The average B760 chipset differs from the two older ones primarily by a twice narrower channel for interaction with the central processor. The DMI bus here operates in 4.0 x4 mode with a maximum bandwidth of 7.86 Gb / s. However, there are no changes from the previous generation here: for the B660 predecessor, this connection worked in a similar mode. Support for overclocking RAM was also inherited.
But among the positive changes, as in the case of the two older chipsets, is an increase in the number of PCI-E 4.0 lines, and this while maintaining their unchanged total number of 14. If in the case of the B660, you could count on six lines of the new interface, coupled with eight lines older PCI-E, the novelty boasts ten lines of PCI-E 4.0 and only four lines of the third version.
In the case of more expensive chipsets, an increase in the number of lines can only be useful in systems with a very large number of NVMe drives. But with the B-chipset, the practical benefits of such an improvement look much more real. Thanks to the improvements, it is now possible to use three fast SSDs in 4.0 x4 mode versus two for the predecessor B660.
However, this is where the improvements end. The new B760 supports up to two ultra-fast USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports, four fast USB 3.2 Gen 2 and six standard USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports. The predecessor had exactly the same “gentleman’s kit”. The same goes for SATA ports: there are still four of them, like in the B660, which may impose some restrictions on systems with a large number of drives that have the appropriate interface. Here, both the new and the old B-chipset for the LGA1700 are a small step back compared to their predecessors for the LGA1200 platform – up to six SATA were supported there.
Let’s use the pivot table to compare the capabilities of new and old chipsets for the LGA1700 platform.
Chipset Z790 Z690 H770 H670 B760 B660 H610
CPU overclocking Yes Yes No No No No No
Overclocking RAM Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
RAM type DDR4 / DDR5 DDR4 / DDR5 DDR4 / DDR5 DDR4 / DDR5 DDR4 / DDR5 DDR4 / DDR5 DDR4 / DDR5
Memory channels/slots per channel 2 / 2 2 / 2 2 / 2 2 / 2 2 / 2 2 / 2 2 / 1
Communication channel with DMI chipset 4.0×8 4.0×8 4.0×8 4.0×8 4.0×4 4.0×4 4.0×4
Number of PCI-E 4.0 lanes 20 12 16 12 10 6 0
Number of PCI-E 3.0 lanes 8 16 8 12 4 8 8
Maximum USB 3.2 ports: Gen 2×2/Gen 2/Gen 1 5/10/10 4/10/10 2/4/8 2/4/8 2/4/6 2/4/6 0/2/4
Maximum number of USB 2.0 ports 14 14 14 14 12 12 10
Maximum number of SATA ports 8 8 8 8 4 4 4
Changes in this generation of Intel chipsets are small and can be classified as cosmetic. All models have increased the number of PCI-E 4.0 lanes, which opens up more options for devices that require high bandwidth – primarily NVMe drives.
The flagship model now has the ability to upgrade to one more ultra-fast USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, but the rest of the chipsets have not received any changes in terms of USB ports. Support for Intel Optane memory was removed in this generation. In truth, this decision has long been suggested due to the lack of such modules on the market. The rest is unchanged. Which is not surprising, because the platform has remained the same: all major changes in Intel’s chipsets, according to tradition, will come only with a new socket.