Z68 express chipset Intel Z68 gets official, own brand motherboard too

In case you haven't been paying attention to what's going on in the motherboard market for the past week or so, today is the official launch of Intel's Z68 chipset (note. This entirely depends on what time zone you live in). We've already covered many of the motherboards announced today, but Intel does of course still have a line of its own motherboards and alongside the new chipset announcement, the company also launched the DZ68DB motherboard.

In case you haven't been paying attention to what's going on in the motherboard market for the past week or so, today is the official launch of Intel's Z68 chipset (note. This entirely depends on what time zone you live in). We've already covered many of the motherboards announced today, but Intel does of course still have a line of its own motherboards and alongside the new chipset announcement, the company also launched the DZ68DB motherboard.

The Z68 chipset doesn't really hold any secrets by now and Intel didn't really seem to make much of a fuss about the whole launch. The interesting thing will be to see how many people will consider spending US$100 (S$124) for the Intel 311 series SSD designed for Intel's Smart Response technology. You could of course use any SSD, but the faster the better really. It's somewhat surprising that Intel only launched on motherboard today though and it's not even their high-end models.

Z68 express chipset Intel Z68 gets official, own brand motherboard too

The DZ68DB is part of Intel's media series of motherboards rather than the extreme series. Intel should be launching the DZ68BC at a later stage though and this is part of the extreme series and should end up taking the top LGA-1155 board position ahead of the DP67BG. We're somewhat mystified by the DZ68DB as we can't really see this board having much appeal unless you fall in the category of users that needs the power of a graphics card once in a while. However, in this case it would be wiser to spend your money on an H67 board.

So what we have here is a board that has a pretty good rear I/O layout with six USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports (via a Renesas host controller), a FireWire port, Intel Gigabit Ethernet (of course), an eSATA port (from the chipset), 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PIDF out and last, but not least, a DisplayPort, HDMI and DVI port. Intel has obviously decided to drop all types of legacy connectors here with no PS/2 or D-sub connectors in sight.

DZ68DB Intel Z68 gets official, own brand motherboard too

However, the board itself doesn't impress much and as a matter of fact, this might as well have been a mATX board as the lower half of the PCB is almost void of components. It's also interesting that on what should be a high-end board for a company that has removed PCI support from its chipset; we have a board with no less than three PCI slots. The board also has a single x16 PCI Express slot and two x1 PCI Express slots. There are three SATA 3Gbps and two SATA 6Gbps ports on the board and not very much else apart from a set of four headers for an additional eight USB 2.0 ports spread around the board. The VRM design is also very basic and by the looks of it we're looking at a 4+1 phase design.

Price wise the board is listed with one retailer in the US for about US$135 (S$167) which is pretty decent, but considering the uninspiring board layout, we'd pick something else to be honest. That said, as with so many other Z68 boards, Intel does supply a copy of Lucid Logix Virtu software with the board which is at least something.

In related news, Digitimes reports that top tier Taiwanese motherboard makers are expecting to ship 350,000-400,000 Z68 motherboards before the end of May. Gigabyte is expected to be shipping the bears share of this and it might turn out that the company's claim of an 80 percent market share will come true, as Asus in only expecting to ship 30,000 boards and MSI and ASRock will only managed 15,000 together, if we're to believe Digitimes numbers.

Source: Intel