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Old Nov 28, 2007, 03:20 PM   #1
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Intel First Look: Intel's X48 Chipset

Bit-tech previews Intel's enthusiant-oriented X48 chipset.

Let's be honest here, X38 had the hype machine pumping since Pre-CeBit, promising us untold performance increases from DDR3 and super new features including things like PCI-Express 2.0. Not only was it late, but boards arrived in dribs and drabs and it's been nothing but a let down for many reasons:

* We've found overclocking to be a little better, but some manufacturers are achieving equivalent overclocks from P35 boards.

* DDR2 performance was poor and was sometimes worse than P35, which made it a more expensive motherboard for less if you didn't care about gaming.

* X38 concentrated on DDR3 - Intel and memory manufacturers are pushing this massively because it's easier to design for and everyone making DDR2 memories is seeing red right now because prices have fallen through the floor. This is fantastic for consumers as 4GB of quality DDR2 memory will now cost you under £80, but it also means DDR3 is very expensive by comparison.

* As with all the previous graphical interface transitions: AGP 4x to 8x, AGP 8x to PCI-Express 1.0 and now PCI-E Gen 1 to Gen 2, there's no real performance increase for most of us, just more bandwidth to grow into.

* Getting DDR2 boards stable has been more difficult, it seems, with the few DDR2-based X38 boards we've seen having problems at some point during our testing. In comparison, DDR3-based X38 boards have been fine.

* Rumours of X48's arrival such a short time after X38 has put people off, yet, there's still no firm date for X48's official release - it was slated for early December and now some say January, while others say February.

Taking all of this into account, it's made X38 boards we've expected to be awesome, look very much average. At the same time, X38's disappointment has also made the cheaper P35 boards look like even better value for money.

As a result, Intel has turned around a new chipset part: the X48 northbridge. It has an almost identical featureset to the X38 northbridge, including support for XMP. However, interestingly it looks like XMP is only supported with two DIMMs only, meaning if you want 4GB @ 1,600MHz using four DIMMs, you're going to be out of luck.

Source: bit-tech
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