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ASUS P5E3 WS Professional

Biostar TX38D3-A7 Deluxe

DFI LANParty X38-T3R

Gigabyte GA-X38T-DQ6

Intel DX38BT "Bonetrail"

MSI X38 Diamond

Foxconn X38A
Intel's 975X Express gets the "Bearlake" upgrade

Intel will unveil the high-end version of its Bearlake-family next month, the Intel X38 Express. The new Intel X38 Express replaces the 975X Express, which launched over a year ago with Intel’s Presler Netburst processors. The new chipset introduces new features to Intel’s high-end enthusiast and workstation platform such as PCIe 2.0 and DDR3 memory.

New to the Intel X38 Express is support for dual full-speed PCIe 2.0 x16 slots. The dual PCIe 2.0 slots are compatible with AMD’s CrossFire technology for multi-GPU graphics processing. Motherboard manufacturers are also free to equip Intel X38 Express based boards with a third physical PCIe 2.0 x16 for triple-play physics. Due to chipset limitations, the third physical PCIe 2.0 x16 slot has lesser lanes, with most manufacturers opting for four lanes.

DDR3 is the only officially supported memory for the Intel X38 Express. Intel touts DDR3-1333 memory for X38 Express motherboards. The Intel X38 Express also supports DDR3 ECC memory. DDR2 memory support has been removed officially from the X38 Express, however, the memory controller can still function with DDR2, just without Intel validation. The DFI LANParty X38-T2R will pair DDR2 support with the Intel X38 Express chipset.

The Intel X38 Express also supports upcoming Intel Penryn-family dual and quad-core processors with front-side buses up to 1333 MHz. The new Penryn family is Intel’s first 45nm processor family, expected to launch in Q1’2008 for consumer desktops. Desktop Penryn-family Core models will launch in early 2008.

ASUS, Biostar, DFI, Foxconn, Gigabyte, Intel and MSI have X38 Express-based motherboards on display at Computex 2007. ASUS plans to release an X38 Express-based workstation board. The upcoming ASUS P5E3 WS Professional pairs the X38 Express with the ICH9R south bridge. The board supports dual-channel DDR3-1333 memory, with no mention of ECC support. The P5E3 WS Professional does not have a third physical PCIe 2.0 x16 slot. ASUS opted for a vanilla orange PCB with the P5E3 WS Professional.

Biostar is preparing the TX38D3-A7 Deluxe with three PCIe 2.0 x16 slots. Two of the PCIe 2.0 x16 slots operate at full speed while the third slot has four lanes. Biostar also adds one PCIe x1 and two PCI slots into the mix. The TX38D3-A7 also features onboard power and reset buttons for the tweaking-inclined.

DFI has two X38 Express-based models in the pipeline – the LANParty X38-T2R and the X38-T3R. The two models differ in the memory support department. The LANParty X38-T2R supports DDR2-800 memory while the X38-T3R supports DDR3-1333. The upcoming X38-T2R and X38-T3R feature genius BIOS and CMOS Reloaded technologies. New to the LANParty X38-T2R and X38-T3R is the DFI Bernstein 8-channel theater-level audio solution.

Foxconn has the X38A on display with three PCIe 2.0 x16 slots. There are also two PCIe x1 and two PCI slots. The Foxconn X38A supports DDR3 and DDR2 memory on the same board. There are four DDR3 and two DDR2 memory slots. Users can only install DDR2 or DDR3, not both at the same time.

Gigabyte is taking the same route as DFI, with two X38 Express based motherboards – the GA-X38T-DQ6 and GA-X38-DQ6. Both boards have similar feature sets, with the GA-X38T-DQ6 offering DDR3 support while the GA-X38-DQ6 supports DDR2. Gigabyte takes DDR3 further than other manufacturers by claiming support for DDR3-1600 memory. Gigabyte has opted to equip its GA-X38x-DQ6 motherboards with two PCIe 2.0 x16 slots. New to the Gigabyte X38 Express-based motherboards is the Realtek ALC889A high-definition audio codec, offering a 106dB signal-to-noise ratio.

Intel also plans to join in on the X38 Express festivities with the successor to the D975XBX2 BadAxe2. The new DX38BT Bonetrail features three physical PCIe 2.0 x16 slots. The DX38BT is one of the few enthusiast X38 Express motherboards currently on the Computex show floor without an elaborate heat-pipe cooling setup. Instead, Intel sticks with a simple aluminum cooler.

Lastly is MSI with the X38 Diamond. MSI manages to squeeze four physical PCIe 2.0 x16 slots into the X38 Diamond. Two of the PCIe 2.0 x16 slots are full-speed while the other two slots are half-speed. MSI also squeezes in support for DDR2-800 and DDR3-1333 memory on the same board.

Expect Intel to officially launch the X38 Express next month, coinciding with the upcoming Core 2 Duo E6x50-series.

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Nearing End for LGA775
By EndPCNoise on 6/5/2007 5:10:26 PM , Rating: 2
Is anyone here in the least concerned that Intel is going to a completely new socket in around Q1 2008?

RE: Nearing End for LGA775
By EndPCNoise on 6/5/2007 5:13:44 PM , Rating: 2


RE: Nearing End for LGA775
By Anh Huynh on 6/5/2007 5:41:43 PM , Rating: 2
Why? LGA775 has been around since 2004 or so.

RE: Nearing End for LGA775
By EndPCNoise on 6/5/2007 6:13:32 PM , Rating: 2
'cause no further CPU upgrades after Penryn.

RE: Nearing End for LGA775
By Christopher1 on 6/5/2007 9:51:25 PM , Rating: 1
I wish that they would just stick with a socket already. Intel has had a bunch of sockets since I first started with a Packard Bell comp back in 1992.

That's the main reason why I didn't buy a new computer until 2000 and my parents did want a new computer until 2003, because the things were changing so fast and they didn't want to get ripped off.

Now that I am A+ Certified however, they don't have to worry about that in the slightest, because I know how to change motherboards.

RE: Nearing End for LGA775
By Runiteshark on 6/5/2007 11:00:48 PM , Rating: 3
Your A+ Certification puts me at ease with your total and otherwise colossal amount of knowledge in replacing motherboards.

RE: Nearing End for LGA775
By ashmatash on 6/21/2007 2:10:58 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, thank heavens for his A+ certification credentials, as that qualification is, in fact, THE defacto emblem of an accomplished and accredited bench monkey! Rest assured, the emotional stresses of mainboard upgrades and the fears of being "ripped off" due to ever changing and evolving processor socket technologies will be put to ease by this procurment of the most rudimentary of technology certifications.

RE: Nearing End for LGA775
By Chaotic42 on 6/14/2007 10:29:36 AM , Rating: 2
How often do you only upgrade your CPU though? Would you really want a Penryn on a motherboard from 2003? They change sockets, memory types, and chipsets to make everything work together well. Motherboards are relatively cheap and an enthusiast wouldn't have any trouble changing everything out.

On the other hand, would you really want to run an old Pentium 4 on an X38 motherboard? If you're springing for DDR3, you're certainly going to want a modern processor. LGA775 or LGA1500, you'd want something that takes advantage of your other components.

My point is that socket backwards-compatability for more than a few years is relatively useless. People who buy Dells and HPs aren't upgrading in droves anymore like they used to. Computers are so cheap that many people can just buy a new one after four years.

die shrink?
By hellokeith on 6/5/2007 5:23:57 AM , Rating: 1
Are the Q1 '08 desktop Penryn's on 45nm ?

RE: die shrink?
By KristopherKubicki on 6/5/2007 5:36:11 AM , Rating: 2

RE: die shrink?
By crystal clear on 6/5/07, Rating: -1
RE: die shrink?
By Martimus on 6/5/2007 3:48:38 PM , Rating: 1
Are you talking about this press release from AMD?

RE: die shrink?
By crystal clear on 6/6/07, Rating: 0
RE: die shrink?
By sviola on 6/5/2007 10:25:52 AM , Rating: 2
I thought the Xeon 45nm were coming out on Q4 '07, not Q4 '08, as in the article.

RE: die shrink?
By therealnickdanger on 6/5/2007 2:07:35 PM , Rating: 2
I think the Xeons are 771, not 775 though... so it wouldn't apply to this board. Anyone want to verify this in place of my laziness?

RE: die shrink?
By Anh Huynh on 6/5/2007 2:25:16 PM , Rating: 2
You are correct my friend.

RE: die shrink?
By Samus on 6/5/2007 3:06:11 PM , Rating: 2
Depends on the XEON's. Intel might just rebadge (or vice versa) quad core processors like they do now with the XEON X3210/X3220, which are LGA775 and work in almost any board that supports a dual-core 775.

*Sigh* crossfire...
By shecknoscopy on 6/5/2007 11:19:26 AM , Rating: 2
Not to ignite the Nvidia vs. The-Artists-Formerly-Known-As-ATI debate, but when, oh when, will Intel chipsets officially support SLI? First with the AMD acquisition, and now with the recent expansion of Nvidia/Intel cross-licensing, I thought we'd see something about this coming down the pipelines. But alas...

RE: *Sigh* crossfire...
By SilthDraeth on 6/5/2007 12:13:45 PM , Rating: 2
Good question. Maybe Nvidia isn't licensing that tech to them? I do not know, but Intel and AMD have an open cross license agreement, anything one company develops the other has full access too. (at least I have read that in the past) So likely, since AMD owns ATI now, Intel has access to all the crossfire stuff for free and implemented it.

I may be grasping at straws here though.

RE: *Sigh* crossfire...
By cochy on 6/5/2007 1:23:06 PM , Rating: 2
Nvidia would like to reserve that function for it's own chipsets otherwise it would stand to reason that their market share on the chipset space would suffer. Makes sense to me. They obviously feel they would make less profit if they licensed SLI to Intel.

By The Boston Dangler on 6/5/2007 11:55:23 PM , Rating: 2
"It appears that SLI will not be officially supported at this point although we have seen it running on one of the early boards with drivers that were modified but not provided or supported by NVIDIA."

Not the only Al cooler....
By AMDfreak on 6/5/2007 7:18:30 AM , Rating: 2
The DX38BT is the only motherboard currently on the Computex show floor without an elaborate heat-pipe cooling setup.

Umm, did you look at the picture of the MSI X38 Diamond?

By Eurasianman on 6/5/2007 9:04:46 AM , Rating: 2
Also note that the Biostar TX38D3-A7 Deluxe and DFI LANParty X38-T3R don't even have heat sinks... then again, I think they were trying to show off the chipset.

RE: Not the only Al cooler....
By webdawg77 on 6/5/2007 11:01:35 AM , Rating: 2
The x38 chipset only has a standard heatsink. Now, both the CPU and GPU have watercooling.

DDR2, DDR3 Support
By xxeonn on 6/5/2007 2:46:54 PM , Rating: 2
MSI also squeezes in support for DDR2-800 and DDR3-1333 memory on the same board.

It looks like the manufacturers are separating the support for DDR3 and DDR2 on there boards, I wont like this as if I cant afford DDR3 now and could in the future buying a DDR2 board gives me limmited upgrade options for the future. Hope the other manufacturers follow MSI's lead as supporting both memory types on one board.

Well it could be that the manufacturers have problems integrating the two memeory types on the one board.

RE: DDR2, DDR3 Support
By Mingmong on 6/5/2007 3:27:17 PM , Rating: 2
Are there any mainstream internet retailers that are selling DDR3 memory?

RE: DDR2, DDR3 Support
By TomZ on 6/5/2007 4:50:54 PM , Rating: 2
ZipZoomFly has a number of DDR3 SKUs - I assume others do as well.

By MDE on 6/5/2007 6:08:47 AM , Rating: 2
The new Penryn family is Intel’s first 45nm processor family, expected to launch in Q4’2008

Should that be Q4 2007?

RE: Typo?
By crystal clear on 6/5/2007 10:43:54 AM , Rating: 1
Intel's general manager, Sales and Marketing Group, and chief sales and marketing officer, said the chipsets are also designed to be used with the company's upcoming
Intel 45 nanometer (nm) "Penryn family" processors expected later this year.
More than 100 motherboard designs are underway, and he expects the new chipset family to be the fastest growing in Intel's history.

Intel Press Release

RE: Typo?
By Anh Huynh on 6/5/2007 2:27:07 PM , Rating: 2
Penryn will start out with the Xeon LGA771 processor in Q4'07 and the desktop LGA775 models will arrive in Q1'08.

X38 next month???
By nrb on 6/5/2007 11:39:15 AM , Rating: 2
Expect Intel to officially launch the X38 Express next month
Doesn't the official press release say "within 90 days"? That would put it well into September, not July. If it actually were July, that would be excellent!

RE: X38 next month???
By Anh Huynh on 6/5/2007 2:28:55 PM , Rating: 2
We were told the launch would coincide with the new 1333 MHz front-side bus processors.

By techfuzz on 6/5/2007 1:03:01 PM , Rating: 2
Intel's 975X Expess gets the "Bearlake" upgrade

Exp r ess

By Heidfirst on 6/5/2007 4:25:10 PM , Rating: 2
abit is also showing 2 X38 mobos:
IX38 QuadGT using DDR2

By Gepidae on 6/5/2007 10:26:07 PM , Rating: 2
These boards look attractive. Anyone have a general idea where the price range will fall around?

49 PCIe lanes?!?
By miahallen on 6/5/2007 11:39:30 PM , Rating: 2
...X38 Diamond. Two of the PCIe 2.0 x16 slots are full-speed while the other two slots are half-speed.

(plus - see picture for the x1 slot)

16 + 16 + 8 + 8 + 1 = 49!!!

How many lanes does this chipset support??? I was under the impression the X38 would have reasonable power consumption & decent TDP...but not with support for 49 lanes!

Intel discusses Bearlake
By crystal clear on 6/9/2007 12:12:46 AM , Rating: 2
Intel discusses Bearlake: Q&A with Richard Malinowski, vice president, chipset group,

With the launch of its 3 series chipset (Bearlake) at Computex Taipei 2007, Intel expects to see the chipset ramp to become the mainstream standard in 2007, while introducing new features such as Turbo Memory (Robson) into the desktop PC market.

By crystal clear on 6/5/2007 5:53:49 AM , Rating: 1
Intel Introduces '3-Series' Chipsets at Computex

TAIPEI, Taiwan, June 5, 2007 -- In his opening keynote at the Computex computer trade show, Intel Corporation Executive Vice President Sean Maloney unveiled the new Intel® 3 Series Chipset family along with several other technology plans that surround the company's popular Intel® Core™ 2 Duo and Quad processors for home and business PC users.

From the press release-

The Intel® G33 and P35 Express Chipsets have been shipping

since April, while the Intel® Q33 and Q35 Express Chipsets

are shipping now ahead of their Q3'07 introduction.

The Intel® G35 Express Chipset and the advanced Intel® X38

enthusiast chipset with dual graphics support will ship

within 90 days.

By GlassHouse69 on 6/5/07, Rating: -1
RE: yuck
By pauldovi on 6/5/2007 6:06:56 PM , Rating: 1
Considering the cause for almost all overclocking failures with Core 2 Duo lies in the instability of the P965 / 975X / 680i Northbridge, I completely welcome a NB that can handle C2D in all its greatness.

Why don't you go enjoy you never to be released K10, horrible 2900XT, and lackluster performance. :)

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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