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H67, P67, and Z68 - Which one is right for you?

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H67, P67, and Z68 - Which one is right for you?

Posted on June 9, 2011 by William George

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Intel’s Sandy Bridge processor architecture is turning 6 months old in July, and has been a major seller in the PC market in these few short months. There was a slight hiccup a month after it was released, when it was found that there was a defect in the SATA controller of the chipsets designed to work with these processors, but that has long since been resolved and no further problems have arisen.

In fact, this past month of May saw the introduction of a new chipset that can work with these processors - resulting in several choices now available when selecting a motherboard. Because of those myriad of choices I wanted to clarify what the differences are between the three leading chipsets for socket 1155 CPUs, and comment a little on each:


H67

To understand the H67 chipset it helps to first realize that all socket 1155 Core i3, i5 and i7 processors have built-in graphics capabilities. To enable use of that functionality, though, the motherboard must have video output connections - and this is H67’s specialty. Most motherboards using this chipset will have a variety of output options (VGA, DVI, HDMI, and sometimes DisplayPort as well), with up to two connections being usable at the same time. A dedicated video card can also be used, and the onboard video can be used *alongside* such a card in order to provide support for several monitors for a fairly low price.

The downside is the H67 supports only very limited overclocking, keeping it from being a platform for gamers (who wouldn’t want to use the onboard graphics anyways) and some enthusiasts. It is more marketed toward home and business use, and particularly the home-theater crowd. The onboard graphics is very well suited to playing back videos, even in high definition, and being able to do that without a higher-end video card cuts down on cost, heat and noise.

P67

This chipset variant, which was available alongside H67 at the launch of the Sandy Bridge platform, does not support the use of integrated graphics - but in trade supports the ability to run two dedicated video cards (for Crossfire or SLI, if motherboard manufacturers license those technologies). It also is capable of being overclocked, and that combination of features have made it popular for gamers and other demanding users.

Z68

The Z68 chipset is a late arrival, but combines the performance-oriented features of P67 with the onboard graphics options of H67. This opens up the option for enthusiasts who want to have a powerful video card while also being able to access features of the on-chip Intel HD graphics, like Quick Sync, without needing multiple monitors. However, using both of those together requires third-party software from LucidLogix - which isn’t ideal, as it means depending on yet another layer of complication in order to access all the features of the hardware. Quick Sync in particular is also only supported by a few video transcoding programs, so unless you use software that is designed to work with it then there would be no need for Z68 over P67.
 

Z68 includes the main features of both H67 and P67, but at a higher cost

The fact that overclocking is available alongside the option to use Intel graphics is also potentially interesting, but the range of users who would want to overclock but don’t need a dedicated video card is likely limited.

Lastly, Z68 supports a new feature called SSD Caching. It allows use of a solid-state drive as a cache for a larger hard drive - which can be of limited use for folks who want faster drive performance but can’t afford a full-sized SSD. If you are already planning to get a sizable SSD then this feature is useless, though, and even if you were not I think there would be more cost-effective options. For example, you could go for a less expensive chipset / motherboard (like H67) and then spend the money saved on a larger solid-state drive: then you have control over what data is stored on the fast drive, rather than depending on software to determine what data should be cached.

Hopefully that information helps explain the differences between the current generation of Intel chipsets, but if you have any questions or need help in configuring a Puget system for your specific needs please feel free to call or email our sales consultants.


Tags: Intel, chipset, Sandy Bridge, H67, P67, Z68, motherboard


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One of the great new features of the Sandy Bridge is proper multitasking with no noticable performance lag.

Posted on 2011-07-30 03:11:53
Previously confused.

Thanks, I'm working on my first build, and this info helped considerably. I wanted the features of the Z68, but the i7 chip I was looking at recommended the H67. Glad to know I can get the best of both worlds. 

Posted on 2011-09-20 20:07:23
Baytekin_99

well i have been reading many articles regarding to those chipets h67 p67 z68 but it seems like it is not too clear enough for me. I can afford big ssd but need integrated graphics, also i sometimes need cpu boosting. So far i found "Asus Maximus IV GENE-Z" But after reading this what are the benefits of Zotac ITX H67 vs this That ASUS? in terms of SSD and the CPU performance?

baytekin_99@msn:disqus .com

thx.

Posted on 2011-09-22 17:47:47
Oczmaster

Working on my new build. Very helpful article. Thank you!

Posted on 2011-09-29 12:48:50
danish

so which is better h67 or z68 . 

Posted on 2011-10-23 04:02:53
danish

what do you say if we put a high memory 3d card in h67 chip that would out perform z68

Posted on 2011-10-23 04:04:24
Ss1011

Good stuff. Many thanks.

Posted on 2011-11-13 18:37:36
darinpeterson

Thank you for the information.  After reading this article twice, I have decided to go with the Z68 chipset.  I don't care about having an additional dedicated graphics card.  There are two things that I want.

1. Good integrated graphics (options H67 or Z68)
2. The ability to over clock the CPU and memory (options P67 or Z68)

I was confused by the article the first time I read it, and I had to read it again.

The intersection of 1 and 2 above say that I should buy the Z68...  I'm marking the SSD comments as a don't care, because the article doesn't provide enough information for me to make an educated decision either way regarding SSD technology.

Posted on 2011-11-26 18:01:02

So which would be best for a grahpics workstation where two dedicated dual-head cards will be used? Thanks

Posted on 2011-12-03 04:19:37

HelpSpa - Probably P67, though Z68 would also work.  Both have the option for dual PCI-Express x16 size slots, which would let you have two video cards going at the same time; please note, however, that the slots will only run at x8 speed when two are used.  That should not noticably impact performance, but I like to mention it when people ask specifically about dual cards.I would also note that a new generation of processors has been released: Intel's Sandy Bridge E.  It is taking the technology from the mainstream Sandy Bridge chips and applying it to the more enthusiast level: six-core processors, double the RAM capacity, etc.  The chipset for that is X79, and it too can support multiple video cards... and at full x16 speeds!  For high-end workstations it might be more appropriate than the other options mentioned before. 

To check out a system based on X79, look at our Genesis I workstation: http://www.pugetsystems.com/na...

Posted on 2011-12-05 06:15:51
HelpSpa

Thanks for your reply.  I'm really only looking to go with 8-16GB of RAM with a quad-core at the most.  So I don't need the advantage of 6 cores (it'd be nice but I won't take advantage of that power).  Thanks again.

Posted on 2011-12-06 03:22:06
Mmost

Hi! Very nice article!
I have some questions though,
1. If I decide to go with p67, will I need a graphics card compulsory? If yes, which one would be good for gaming

2. In H67, can I use both processor's graphics and graphics card? Simultaneously?

Posted on 2011-12-11 06:57:05

1) Yes - P67 has not onboard graphics capability, so you would need a dedicated card.  For gaming, I'd suggest a GeForce GTX 560 or higher; the exact model depends on your games, what resolution you run, and your budget.

2) Yes - with H67 you can have screens plugged into both the onboard graphics and a dedicated card.  This makes it a great & affordable platform for using lots of monitors at the same time.

Posted on 2011-12-11 07:16:04
Mmost

Thanks for that blazing fast reply.
I will be running games like gta4 and crysis. on a 22 inch monitor.

Also, the my question regarding the H67 was concerned about one monitor only.

Posted on 2011-12-11 07:38:03
Form7john-mail2

Very easy reading but detailed. Thanks!

Posted on 2011-12-19 07:11:10
Bluedevil2448

If I go with the h67 and decide to add my own video  card(s) later, will I be able to run 2 cards in the SLI/Crossfire setup?

Posted on 2011-12-26 00:13:08

Bluedevil - No, H67 can only accomodate a single video card.  If you want to have onboard video and the option to add two video cards, then Z68 should fit the bill :)

Posted on 2011-12-26 19:37:53
Bluedevil2448

Thanks, William!

Posted on 2011-12-27 00:07:45
Hassan2k9

if i were to want a laptop for general use and also want to use for general gaming would a laptop would these requirments allow me to play modern games

second gen intel core i5-2430-2.4ghz
Ram-6gb
hard drive:500gb
graphics-intel 3000.

im hearing lots of people saying that the intel graphics sucks and i would like some ideas before i buy 1 thanks!

Posted on 2011-12-29 17:49:25

Thanks for the well-written info

Posted on 2012-01-04 16:34:56
Max2

Hello, I need your help...
I want to upgrade my P4 to i3 2100 series, but I'm little bit confused about motherboard.
I want to buy a Gigabyte mobo ($100) but unable to choose right model.  As, all other components already become very old, so my budget is very limited. Please help me...

Additional info...

Monitor with VGA+DVI support [OLD]
RAM 4GB 1333/1600 Mhz [DDR-III] - NEW
I want to add additional graphics card, because I love to play PC games, but NOT hard core games.
No needs of Overclocking,
HDD Seagate 500 GB [OLD]

Posted on 2012-02-12 13:38:44
Roberto

Hey thanks for the tip. Its not easy to learn all config specs for building a pc. You have just make my life far easier in the MB department.

Posted on 2012-03-08 21:44:18

hmmm nice stuff... very impressive

Posted on 2012-03-26 13:47:41
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