Kaby Lake Overview & What’s New
The Z270 chipset and Kaby Lake bring with it new features. First let’s take a look at the Z270 chipset block diagram.
The big change with the chipset compared to Z170 is that you have more down-stream PCI-Express 3.0 lanes. The Z170 chipset had 20, but the Z270 chipset has 24. This means more lanes and bandwidth for PCI-Express devices like PCI-E NVMe solid state drives. There is also support for 2400 MHz memory, whereas with Z170 we only had support for 2133 MHz.
Kaby Lake processors will be the first to support Intel’s Optane technology. Optane makes use of 3D XPoint technology that was jointly created by Micron and Intel. This technology is potentially 1000x faster with 1000x the endurance levels and 10 times the capacity of DRAM within the same surface area. Intel plans for consumers to pair Intel Optane memory with a traditional hard drive for SSD-like speed, but with large HDD capacity. Motherboard manufactures will be able to mark their Z270 boards as “Optane Memory Ready”.
Kaby Lake processors also bring with them support to decode Google’s VP9 codec as well as encoding / decoding of 4K HEVC 10-bit. Kaby Lake can decode 4K-resolution content at 60 frames per second with a bit-rate up to 120 Mbps. This will allow you to stream 4K content from providers like Netflix, ULTRA, Fandango Now, and more.