Z270 vs Z170 Intel Chipset: The Difference
17 January 2017
Intel has recently released a new chipset Z270 series to work with the latest Kaby Lake CPU and the counterpart motherboards. This new chipset shares the same socket 1151 with its Z170 predecessor, which is a good news for many Skylake owners. With that being said, Z170 can also support Kaby Lake CPU as well after upgrading to the latest motherboard BIOS revision. However, for those who wish to upgrade from other chipset series, you will probably be confused which one to invest, as these two are kind of similar. So, let's walk through some specs and spot out the difference to make your life easier.
Z270 vs Z170 Comparison
|Specs1||Intel Z270 Chipset||Intel Z170 Chipset|
|Code name||Kaby Lake||Skylake|
|Socket||LGA 1151||LGA 1151|
|Number of DIMMs per channel||2||2|
|PCI Express revision||3.0||3.0|
|Max number of PCI Express lanes||24||20|
1x16 or 2x8 or 1x8+2x4
1x16, 2x8, 1x8+2x4
|Number of USB ports||14||14|
|USB 3.0||Up to 10||Up to 10|
|USB 2.0||Up to 14||Up to 14|
|Max number of SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports||6||6|
|Intel Optane Technology||Yes||No|
Based on the comparison above, it can easily tell that there are not many exciting changes between Z270 and Z170. Both of them support overclocking, using the same socket LGA 1151 and the same number of USB and SATA ports.
The main difference between the two is mostly about their number of PCI Express ports and the Optane Technology:
- 4 more PCI-E lanes
Z270 has up to 24 PCI-E 3.0 lanes, which is 4 more lanes compared with Z170. These extra 4 lanes probably do not sound so great, but it will give motherboard manufacturers a chance to improve its current product lines. Specifically, it will help the motherboard makers integrate the higher bandwidth connections like M.2 without having to split the bandwidth between devices2.
- Optane Technology3
Z2170 chipset is "Optane ready" which is a non-volatile memory generating higher performance than normal SSDs. This Intel's Optane Technology can easily pair up with any M.2 slot on the board, which can be used as a traditional storage or as a method to accelerate system performance. When combined with a large storage drive, the Intel® Optane™ memory M.2 module accelerates computer performance, while maintaining capacity. You’ll be amazed at how fast applications launch or new games install.
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Check out some best-selling motherboards compatible with Z270 and Z170
- Intel ARK Menu, "Compare Intel Product"
- Ung, G.M, 2017, Jan 3, "Official Intel 7th-gen Kaby Lake Review: One big change makes up for smaller ones"
- Intel Optane Technology