These new chipsets provide the companion logic to the 2nd Generation Intel Core processors today (Sandy Bridge) and will support the 3rd Generation Intel Core processor family (codenamed Ivy Bridge) later in Q2. They also integrate USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt, enable technologies like Intel Smart Response, Intel Smart Connect, and Intel Rapid Start in desktop and mobile platforms.
For PC platform, the 7-series Chipset family includes the Z77 and Z75 Express chipsets.
The combination of the Intel Z77 and Z75 Express Chipsets and 3rd generation Intel Core processors offer smart features like Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 and Intel Hyper-Threading Technology. Intel Smart Connect Technology enables instant access to data by allowing content to be refreshed in the standby power state - all while minimizing power consumption. In addition to faster boot and resume times, Intel Rapid Start Technology provides energy effciency. The Intel Z77 Express Chipset also features Intel Smart Response Technology that delivers faster application loading.
The Intel Z77 and Z75 Express Chipsets enable the performance tuning features of unlocked Intel Core processors, allowing the user to change the core multiplier to increase frequencies without having to run any other part of the system above specifcations.
Ivy Bridge processors pack smart performance and built-in 3D visual and graphics support. Intel Quick Sync Video technology, Intel's built-in hardware acceleration technology in all 3rd generation Intel Core processors, promises to deliver high video transcoding performance. In addition, the InTru 3D Technology delivers smooth 3D movie playback. The Intel Z77 and Z75 Express Chipsets and 3rd generation Intel Core processors also come with built-in Intel Wireless Display (Intel WiDi), allowing users to view content from their desktop PC to an Intel WiDi-enabled TV screen. The Intel Z77 and Z75 Express Chipsets also support up to three displays.
The Intel Z77 and Z75 Express Chipsets integrate several capabilities to provide fexibility for connecting I/O devices, including integrated USB 3.0 support and the latest Intel Rapid Storage Technology, which enables the full Serial ATA (SATA) interface speed of up to 6 Gb/s to support next-generation Solid State Drives (SSDs) and traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDDs). In addition, the new chipsets drive lower power through enhanced link power management of the Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI), enable easier expandability with support for native hot plug, and enhance boot and multitasking performance with Native Command Queuing (NCQ). Intel Rapid Recover Technology (part of the Intel Rapid Storage Technology suite) provides a fast method for the end user to recover their data and return their system to an operational status.
The Intel 7-series chipsets will be backwards compatible with the Sandy Bridge (Intel 2nd Generation Core Microarchitecture) processors. All motherboard vendors should have this functionality built into their BIOSes. In addition, specific Intel 6-series chipsets (P67, Z68) should be forwards compatible with the Ivy Bridge processors, pending a BIOS update.
Currently at the second generation based on the Ivy Bridge platform, Intel's "baseline" requirements for 2012's Ultrabooks include devices that will be security-ready (Intel Anto-theft and Identify Protection technologies through BIOS update), will have more than 5 hours battery life and will start up in less than 7 seconds. Limitatons also apply to the physical dimensions of 2012's ultrabooks, with a 21mm max thickness for systems with displays bigger than 14 inches and a 18mm max thickness for systems with displays smaller that 14 inches. Intel's recommended specs are even stricter, with mandatory security features built in and more than 8 hours battery life required.
Intel is also introducing several desktop motherboards that feature the new Intel 7-series Express Chipset, including the media series, Mini-ITX DH77DF, the microATX DH77EB, the DZ77SL and the DZ77BH models. Intel also released the Intel Desktop Board DZ77GA-70, part of its "Extreme" series of motherboards, along with the Intel Desktop Board DB75EN model (Board Executive Series )