Intel’s Z270 and H270 motherboards will go on sale from Jan 5, 2017. The new 200 series chips from Intel will support 14nm Kaby Lake-S and Skylake-S processor lineup. It was earlier speculated that Intel’s 100 series would not support the new line of Kaby Lake-S and Skylake-S processor. But now, a recent report from BenchLife indicates that both 100 and 200 series will support Kaby Lake-S and Skylake-S powered devices.
Intel’s Kaby Lake microarchitecture has so far been a worthy successor to its predecessor – Skylake. Developed by the Israeli team and announced in August 2016, Kaby Lake – like its predecessor – is based on power-efficient advanced 14nm FinFET technology node. Kaby Lake began shipping to manufacturers and OEMs in Q2 2016 . Cannonlake, the planned successor of Skylake is not likely to happen until 2017 Q2.
As far as the 100 and 200 series motherboards are concerned, they vary mainly in three aspects – Intel Optane Technology, Intel Rapid Storage Technology and Maximum High-Speed I / O (HSIO) Lanes.
As seen from the image above, Z270 and H270 support Intel Optane Technology while the 100 series – Z170 and H170 don’t. Also, both Z270 and H270 support Intel Rapid Storage Technology version 15 while Z170 and H170 both support version 14. When it comes to maximum high speed I/O lanes, the 200 series have 30 as compared to 26 for Z170 and 22 for H170. Both 100 and 200 series support a total of 14 USB ports. But Z270 and Z170 both support 10 USB 3.0 ports while the H-series support only 8. H270 and H170 are also intended for corporate segment, while the Z series are mainly for consumer segments.
PCIe Express 3.0 lanes on Z270 is highest among the four SKUs – at 24. Z170 and H270 both come with 20 PCIe Express 3.0 lanes while H170 with 16 PCIe lanes sports the least PCIe lanes among the four. In addition to the Z and H series, Intel also plans to release Q270, Q250 and B250 series chips. These will continue until the introduction of 300 series.
One question remains – whether Z270 or H270 are worth buying now. It’s good to wait at least until Kaby Lake-X and Skylake-X platforms or the early 2018 Coffee Lake-S Series. Intel’s 8th generation processors – codenamed Coffee Lake – will make their arrival in early 2018. Coffee Lake is also based on power-efficient advanced 14nm technology node and is expected to come in 4 variants – Coffee Lake-U, Coffee Lake-X, Coffee Lake-S, Coffee Lake-H. Coffee Lake lineup of CPUs will remain in 14nm process, and not 10nm process, as speculated earlier.