Glossary

ITX motherboard - Chipset Intel z370

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 ITX formats Mini-ITX is motherboard with approximate dimensions of 170 mm × 170 mm, developed around 2000. They are commonly used in small-configured computer systems, like as at Figure 3.5.48b. Originally, they were a niche product, designed for fan-less cooling with a low power consumption architecture, which made them useful for home theater PC systems, where fan noise can detract from the cinema experience. Mini-ITX boards primarily appeal to the industrial and embedded PC markets, with the majority sold as bulk components or integrated into a finished system for single-purpose computing applications. This mini motherboard became possible when lithography technology enabled chips with low thermal dissipation, according to description in Chapter of Chip. Better lithography enabled small family of ITX motherboards as at introductory Figure of this paragraph (Nano-ITX : 120 mm × 120 mm, Pico-ITX : 72 mm × 100 mm, Mobile-ITX : 45 mm × 75 mm). But, small motherboard doesn't mean cheap and weak system, according to next picture it can be very powerful.

 GIBABYTE 'Z370N WIFI' motherboard
Figure* 1. GIGABYTE 'Z370N WIFI' motherboard. ( + / - )

Key Features of this motherboard is HDMI 2.0a 21:9 / HDR, PCIe bifurcation support, Intel USB 3.1 Gen1 with USB Type-C™, Dual Intel GbE LAN with 25KV protection, 2×2 11ac Wireless, Dual M.2, RGB Fusion, Smart Fan 5. Other features are:

The GIGABYTE Z370 Platform is the first enthusiast platform that supports Intel’s latest Optane technology. Optane fuels storage performance by acting as a cache drive giving users a significant boost compared to traditional mechanical drives. GIGABYTE is offering a tested and proven platform that ensures proper compatibility with profiles up to 4400 MHz and beyond. All users need to do to attain this performance boost is to ensure that their memory module is XMP capable and that the XMP function is activated and enabled on GIGABYTE motherboard. All components are newest technology achievements. Monster!

Next Figure shows back connectors of motherboard. Almost everything what have 'normal PC'.

 Back of ITX motherboard
Figure 2. Back Connectors of GIGABYTE 'Z370N WIFI'.

At the first look difference is:

As chipset is Intel z370, only 8th generation of microprocessors is supported, as next table shows.

Chipset Intel® z370 - Socket LGA 1151 v2
Intel® CPU for motherboard Model Z370N
WIFI
PCB 1.0
CPU
Model
CPU
Frequency
L3
Cache
GPU
Frequency
Core
Name
Process Step TDP BCLK Since
BIOS
Ver.
Core
i7-8700K
3.70 GHz 12 MB 350 MHz /
1200 MHz
Coffee
Lake
14 nm U0 95 W 100 F1
Core
i7-8700
3.20 GHz 12 MB 350 MHz /
1200 MHz
65 W
Core
i5-8600K
3.60 GHz 9 MB 350 MHz /
1150 MHz
95 W
Core
i5-8400
2.80 GHz 9 MB 350 MHz /
1050 MHz
65 W
Core
i3-8350K
4.00 GHz 8 MB 350 MHz /
1150 MHz
B0 91 W
Core
i3-8100
3.60 GHz 6 MB 350 MHz /
1100 MHz
65 W

Intel had several reasons for introducing the LGA 1151 v2 microprocessor socket of the 8th generation microprocessor with slightly different functions of some pins and therefore the incompatibility of the new microprocessor and chipset with the predecessors. One of them is the ability to work with more multiple cores, because AMD has been overtaken by the above. In addition, some groups of microprocessor transistors are physically increased in order to achieve better performance. The result is a better microprocessor optimization and a higher operating frequency, as well as a physically slightly larger chip (die) of microprocessor. In addition, the chipset fully supports the latest technology of peripherals. It is possible that changes were made to make it less difficulty in the transition to finer process of development that AMD is already using. This is the first time after a long time that AMD 'skipped' the competitor.

As shown in Figure 1. there is lot of connectors at the motherboard, which means must have case where to put other components (power supply, brackets with connectors ...). That case may be small (type BAREBONE), but if consider holes at motherboard it is fully compatible for ATX case. Chipset z370 has features shown at next table.

Essentials of Chipset Intel® z370
Product Collection Intel® 300 Series Chipsets
Code Name Products formerly Coffee Lake
Status Launched
Launch Date Q4'17
Bus Speed 8 GT/s DMI3
Lithography 22 nm
TDP 6 W
Supports Overclocking Yes
Supplemental Information
Embedded Options Available No
Conflict Free Yes
Memory Specifications
# of DIMMs per channel 2
Graphics Specifications
# of Displays Supported ‡ 3
Expansion Options
PCI Support No
PCI Express Revision 3.0
PCI Express Configurations ‡ x1, x2, x4
Max # of PCI Express Lanes 24
I / O Specifications
# of USB Ports 14
USB Revision 3.0 / 2.0
USB 3.0 Up to 10
USB 2.0 Up to 14
Max # of SATA 6.0 Gb/s Ports 6
RAID Configuration PCIe* 0, 1, 5 / SATA 0, 1, 5, 10
Integrated LAN Integrated MAC
Supported Processor PCI-e Port Configurations 1×16 or 2×8 or 1×8+2×4
Package Specifications
Package Size 23 mm × 24 mm
Low Halogen Options Available See MDDS
Advanced Technologies
Intel® Optane™ Memory Supported ‡ Yes
Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d) ‡ Yes
Intel® vPro™ Technology ‡ No
Intel® ME Firmware Version No
Intel® HD Audio Technology Yes
Intel® Rapid Storage Technology Yes
Intel® Rapid Storage Technology enterprise No
Intel® Standard Manageability No
Intel® Stable Image Platform Program (SIPP) No
Intel® Rapid Storage Technology for PCI Storage Yes
Intel® Smart Sound Technology Yes
Intel® Platform Trust Technology (Intel® PTT) Yes
Security & Reliability
Intel® Trusted Execution Technology ‡ No
Intel® Boot Guard Yes

The chipset block-schema is shown on the animated Figure 3.5.44a for comparison with the predecessor, and here's also here:

 Chiset Intel Z370
Figure 3. Blok-schema of Chipset Intel z370.  

Overall, most of the changes to the z370 chipset is relatively minor. Obviously the support for the new 'Coffee Lake' CPU is a very big deal, but the odd thing is that for whatever reason Intel decided not to change the physical socket from LGA 1151. This means that you can install a 'Coffee Lake' CPU into a z270 motherboard without the need of a hammer and everything will appear to be correct - only the system will never actually be able to POST (Power On Self Test) and operate correctly, the system would not actually function. The purpose of this incompatibility is not clear for the time being. As opposed to that, the seventh-generation microprocessor supports quite a number of different architectures (Celeron, Pentium ...). Is it the generation shift or is the eight generation of microprocessors and PCH just exclusive?

There are lot of movies about this chipset and motherboard format at 'YouTube', but what impress me is 'Gigabyte GB-BNi7HG6-1060 - Mini-PC Barebone (BRIX)'.

 BRIX
Figure 4. Gigabyte BRIX  

Basic features are:

Very impressive. Of course, motherboard and other elements are not of some usual ITX standard, but special design of Gigabyte. Very powerful computer (PC?). Power supply and antenna are not shown at the Figure. Those are separate devices.



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