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Sapphire reveals Intel Z68 plans

The first products based on Intel's upcoming Z68 chipset are worming out of the woodwork, and while manufacturer's aren't keen to discuss specifications we've been able to get our hands on one such board from Sapphire.

The as-yet unnamed board features the Z68 chipset, which is rumoured to combine the features of Intel's P-series and H-series chipsets - but little is known for sure, as the company is keeping the details tightly under wraps for now.

Sapphire, better known for its graphics card line-up, is branching out into the motherboard market with a series of impressive product announcements here at CeBIT - but it's the Z68 board that caught our eye.

Designed and built at the company's Taiwanese base, the Z68 board - a pre-production model clearly marked 'Revision 0.0' - is designed to give Sapphire a boost into the feature-rich motherboard market.

As well as Intel's latest and greatest chipset, the board includes technology brought across from the company's graphics card division - such as the Sapphire Original Chokes, custom designed ferrite chokes that have proven their worth on the company's Radeon HD series of graphics boards.

Three PCI Express slots are included - with support for AMD's CrossFireX technology for multiple graphics cards - along with a trio of legacy 32-bit PCI slots, something of a rarity in a modern motherboard.

The board also includes integrated Bluetooth and a raft of video outputs including DVI, VGA, DisplayPort, and HDMI. While these are technically designed for use with the integrated graphics in Sandy Bridge, the company revealed to thinq_ that it is working with Lucid to route dedicated graphics through the same outputs - perfect for a home theatre PC.

While release dates and pricing weren't part of the discussion, the Sapphire Z68 board is one we'll be keeping a close eye on.