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Intel readies its 2008 chipset after "Bearlake"

Intel recently revealed plans of its next desktop chipset, post-Bearlake. Intel has yet to launch its Bearlake-family consisting of the G33, G35, P35, Q33, Q35 and X38 Express chipsets, but, the launch is imminent.  Intel has named its next chipset family Eaglelake and has premium and mainstream models in the pipeline. There are no planned Eaglelake-Q and Eaglelake-X variants yet.

Eaglelake features compatibility with Intel’s upcoming Wolfdale and Yorkfield 45nm duale and quad-core processors. Eaglelake also supports other 1333 MHz, 1066 MHz and 800 MHz front-side bus processors including Conroe and Kentsfield. Intel pairs Eaglelake with DDR3 and DDR2 memory compatibility. Intel officially supports DDR3 1333 MHz, 1066 MHz, 800 MHz and DDR2 800 MHz and 667 MHz with Eaglelake.

Integrated graphics-endowed Eaglelake models feature Intel’s Clear Video technology. Intel Clear Video technology previously made its debut in the Intel G965 Express chipset. It provides hardware acceleration for high-definition MPEG2 and VC-1 video formats. Intel has not revealed details on the Eaglelake integrated graphics core yet. Nevertheless, Eaglelake features integrated support for a variety of output standards. Eaglelake supports DisplayPort, HDMI and DVI natively with integrated HDCP keys for current and next-generation displays.

Intel continues to support external PCIe graphics card on its Eaglelake-family. Eaglelake chipsets introduce PCIe 2.0 support for mainstream markets. Intel’s upcoming X38 Express is the only planned PCIe 2.0 compatible chipset from the Bearlake chipset family. AMD expects to launch its line of PCIe 2.0 compatible Radeon HD 2900, 2600 and 2400 models in the upcoming weeks.

Details of Intel’s upcoming ICH10 south bridge family are scarce. However, Intel plans high-definition audio, USB 2.0, PCIe x1 and SATA support for the ICH10 family. Gone from the ICH10 family is support for standard PCI slots, leaving ICH9 as the last chipset to support PCI.

Expect Eaglelake to grace motherboard PCBs in Q2’2008.

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By Homerboy on 4/17/2007 3:15:11 PM , Rating: 2
with no PCI? not me for 1

By wrekd on 4/17/2007 3:24:50 PM , Rating: 4
And how is that 8-track player working out for you?

By Verran on 4/17/2007 3:34:57 PM , Rating: 2
While admittedly very funny, I think your point is rather exaggerated.

The transition to PCIe accessory cards has been slow, and they still make up a very small percentage of the total market. I personally haven't used PCI cards in main rigs for years, but I know a lot of people still do. Tuner cards and sound cards come to mind. Hopefully in another year PCIe will have penetrated the accessory market more fully, but currently I doubt many people are ready to ditch it completely.

By therealnickdanger on 4/17/2007 4:32:17 PM , Rating: 2
I dunno, with most motherboards now supporting high-quality audio, gigabit (single or dual) ethernet, RAID, and even Wi-Fi, there isn't much else to buy for PCI. TV tuners and video capture is about the only reason to need any additional slots nowadays. Plus, with AMD/ATI releasing HDMI audio output on their graphics cards, I have little reason to ever re-install my Audigy4Pro, let alone move to a X-Fi.

I agree it would have been wise of Intel to leave ONE PCI slot, but I can't see a need for one anymore - at least for my needs.

By sxr7171 on 4/18/2007 12:03:35 AM , Rating: 2
What if you should want a TV tuner card? Not USB that is.

By sdsdv10 on 4/18/2007 9:54:39 AM , Rating: 2
You can always start here...

Pricey I know, but as more companies enter the market things should get better.

By Mitch101 on 4/17/2007 4:49:31 PM , Rating: 3
I hate how slow the industry runs in certain circles but you cant blame them since todays standard is tommorows revision. I think the industry screws itself by coming up with so many changes in such a short amount of time.

HDMI I think there are 6 revisions now.
PCI, PCI-E, PCI-E 1X, 4x, 16x
PCI-X (I think there was only raid and NIC cards for this)
USB 1.0, 2.0, 2.0 Hi-Speed, 2.0 Powered?
20 Pin ATX, 24 Pin ATX, 6-Pin Power, 8-Pin Power.

I know most are backwards compatible but most arent really necessary to have yet another revision. (ATA Anyone)

There is evolution and there is not getting it right the first 5 times.

My complaint would be why did it take so long for games to finally start arriving on DVD media? Heck some still only come on CD's or do they think there is a market for people with 486's and a cd drive?

By Anonymous Freak on 4/17/2007 5:14:29 PM , Rating: 2
DVI has only had one real standard. It encompasses DVI-A, DVI-I, and DVI-D. (I haven't ever seen a DVI-A-only product, though.) (DVI-A is the DVI physical plug running only an analog signal, DVI-D is the DVI physical plug running only a digital signal, and DVI-I is the physical plug capable of running both analog and digital. In general, DVI video CARDS are DVI-I, and DVI monitors are DVI-D.)

Likewise, PCI-e was defined with x1, x2, x4, x6, x8, x12, and x16 right off the bat. And if a motherboard maker makes all physical slots x16, then you can throw anything in any slot. (Although it might not perform up to full speed.)

USB 2.0 defines "Hi-Speed", and "Powered" is a non-official extension.

As for revisions, usually they add speed or features, while retaining backward compatibility. And *MOST* such upgrades are to add things that weren't even possible earlier. (When ATA/ATAPI-4 was specced, defining Ultra ATA at 33 MB/s, being able to run at 133 MB/s wasn't even thought of as a possibility.)

And games still come on CD because stubborn (idiotic) OEMs still try to save $10 in manufacturing cost by including only a CD-ROM instead of a DVD-ROM on their low-end machines, and game manufacturers don't want to limit ANYONE. (Higher end games almost always ship on DVD, because they know that in order to even RUN the game, you must have a computer that almost assuredly includes a DVD drive.)

By MDE on 4/17/2007 10:06:01 PM , Rating: 2
I've got a monitor that's DVI-A and VGA only (IBM P260).

By Mitch101 on 4/18/2007 9:24:58 AM , Rating: 2
I didnt even know about DVI-I. But I have seen many LCD monitors that are DVI-A only.

The problem there is people know they have DVI but most dont even know there were different revisions.

I didnt want to bring up the PATA specs. Ugh. Same with AGP. I still dont think we reached that limit and there are going to be more AGP video cards coming.

It might sounds a little silly but I try to avoid games that are on CD. Please Insert Disc 1 or Play Disc is annoying. It always gets seperated from the rest because its required. I also hate Black or Dark game CD's since every game requires a code that is on the paper envelope I have learned to perm marker the code onto the game CD since I tend to lose them and find them months later and wonder what game is this code to? But if the CD is black you cant read the perm marker.

By Thorburn on 4/18/2007 3:31:06 PM , Rating: 2
The problem there is people know they have DVI but most dont even know there were different revisions.

In general you don't NEED to know.

Every graphics board that I can think of supports, and has since DVI's first availability, DVI-I. This way whether the monitor is DVI-A or DVI-D it simply works, to the end user there is no difference.

The only ambiguity comes with dual-link DVI, which is only supported by newer graphics cards, and only used by the Dell 3007WFP and similar panels.

Theres no problem with multiple standards when to the end user they are transparent and backwards compatible. A more pertinent issue is multiple non-compatible standards eg. DVI vs. HDMI vs. DisplayPort.

This simply serves to confuse buyers.

By masher2 on 4/17/2007 4:54:11 PM , Rating: 3
> "I personally haven't used PCI cards in main rigs for years, but I know a lot of people still do"

This isn't shipping yet. How many people buying a new system a year from now are going to want to load it up with PCI cards? Probably not that many...and most of them won't be looking for a budget board anyway, a niche this chipset isn't currently made to fit.

By mjcutri on 4/17/2007 4:54:48 PM , Rating: 3
remember, this is the successor to bearlake, which isn't even out yet. so we are looking far down the road when pcie should be the standard. I'm more pissed off at the add-in card manufacturers that have moved slower than molasses to the pcie standard. how long has it been around now?

By Anonymous Freak on 4/17/2007 5:05:16 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, and the transition from ISA to PCI was slow, too.

You know what kicked the bucket for ISA? The abandoning of ISA from motherboards. Once Dells no longer had ISA slots, the last remaining ISA modems and sound cards disappeared.

The same will be true for PCI. As soon as PCI goes the way of the dodo, we'll see PCI-e versions of everything much more commonly.

Just as Intel's 800-series chipsets killed ISA, the 30 series chipsets will kill PCI. (Yes, there will still be VIA and other chipsets that support PCI for those who really need it, just as there was with ISA. But for 'mainstream' computers, PCI will die quickly.)

By m104 on 4/17/2007 5:07:31 PM , Rating: 3
im currently using a emu-1820M sound card... it retails at around 650$ where i live and i dont plan to replace it ever... if i buy a moterboard with no pci-ports i will buy some kind of transformer aswell to support my soundcard... In my eyes buying a tranformer is no big problem and so the dissappearing PCI port is no big problem for me either as im sure transformers will b available at some point

By spartan014 on 4/17/2007 11:11:51 PM , Rating: 2

By TomZ on 4/18/2007 12:39:46 AM , Rating: 2
Probably meant "converter."

By oTAL on 4/18/2007 6:24:19 AM , Rating: 2
I think there is "more than meets the eye" to what he said ;).
The question is... is it an Autobot or a Decepticon?

By Lazarus Dark on 4/18/2007 6:40:54 AM , Rating: 2
you have a very good point there. We have adapters for almost every older standard and even for newer standards to be backwards compatible. We have IDE to sata converters, IDE to usb and even sata to usb. We have usb everything, serial to usb, parallel to usb, flash card readers that read every kind known to man. My laptop came with usb1.1, the best available at the time (yes its that old); but, wait, I have a pcmia adapter with two usb2.0 ports that lets me use usb 2.0 devices at much higher speed than my laptops native 1.1 ports.

Are there any isa to pci adapters? hmmm, well, a quick google search shows some are available, though device drivers must be written for them, but only someone in a rare field would need one. So my guess is that a pci to pcie adapter would be possible, though to be honest, by the time this chipset ships, I would think you would be ready to replace your old pci cards, and remember those ntsc tuner cards will be worthless for over the air in two years and when the cable co's go all digital, hopefully in five years if we're lucky *crosses fingers and prays for the death of all analog*

By geddarkstorm on 4/17/2007 3:59:50 PM , Rating: 2
Low cost wireless network cards and soundcards? Or USB pannels? I just recently made a PC (in december) and PCI slots are quite necessary for many useful accessories. So, I don't know what you're talking about man.

There's too much that doesn't use PCIe yet except for graphics cards, so far as I've seen (looking and buying on places like Tigerdirect and Newegg), to make a PCIe excuslive motherboard practical or useful.

By Homerboy on 4/17/2007 4:15:54 PM , Rating: 2
there are countless PCI cards that people are currently using and aren't not just going to toss in the trash (unless there is a MUST HAVE CPU that slides into this chipset)

The migration and availability to PCIE/X is going to have to go through the roof QUICKLY to make a no-PCI board feasibly attractive to the masses.

By Homerboy on 4/17/2007 4:17:38 PM , Rating: 1
aren't not = are not (no double negative intended)

By sviola on 4/17/2007 6:03:36 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, PCI-X is different from PCI-e. PCI-X is an extension of the PCI, but with BW up to 533 MHz, instead of the 33 MHz that is used on PCI. Also, PCI-X is backwards compatible with PCI and mostly used in the industrial market (controllers, data acquisition cards, etc).

PCI-e is a totally different technology, and today, you can encounter it in Graphic Cards and NIC.

By boogle on 4/17/2007 4:40:43 PM , Rating: 4
Motherboard manufacturers can just use a different southbridge. Unless Intel only offer the new northbridges with the new southbridge, manufacturers can use the existing ICH8.

Alternatively, as has been said, a chip could be added to the motherboard supporting PCI. In essence a couple of PCI-E lanes could be converted to PCI. Similiar to how SATA can use bridges to convert to and from PATA.

By DeadPooL on 4/18/2007 7:26:19 AM , Rating: 2
And how is that 8-track player working out for you?

Hahaha !! I laugh, but I also have some PCI cards still, like my Soundcard for recording music, and it still works wonderfully.

By Alpha4 on 4/17/2007 4:17:31 PM , Rating: 2
Well when I go to vista and enjoy the option of CPU-accelerated OpenAL (with a likely untapped CPU core) you can buy my primitive PCI Sound Blaster X-Fi.

Despite having PCI cards of my own I'd have to abandon I applaud Intel for setting their sights a little further. I'm disappointed that companies like Creative and Ageia didn't produce or provide reference PCIe x1 PCB's. I understand they were trying to tailor their products to appeal to the lowest common denominator but in this case their lack of foresight might bite them in the rear.

By sviola on 4/17/2007 6:05:31 PM , Rating: 1
Actually, both Creative and Ageia did have PCI-e variants of the X-FI and PhysX available in the CeBIT.

By FITCamaro on 4/17/2007 9:20:43 PM , Rating: 3
If it ain't available in a store or online, it doesn't really matter if they show it at CeBIT.

I could show a flux capacitor at CeBIT. But you'd never see it in stores. I'd keep that technology to myself.....

By redbone75 on 4/18/2007 3:28:01 AM , Rating: 2
I agree McFly;)

By bkiserx7 on 4/17/2007 4:19:57 PM , Rating: 2
I believe they are only saying the chipset/southbridge will no longer have pci support, ich7 was the last to support ide if i am not mistaken. motherboard manufacturers will probably include a 3rd party chip to run pci slots as the way they do with ide if i am not mistaken.

By The Sword 88 on 4/19/2007 9:34:26 PM , Rating: 2
getting rid of PCI slots and with Dell and other big companies using these chipsets then PCI will phase out and therefore it will aid in the shift to PCI-e

By Russell on 4/17/2007 4:23:27 PM , Rating: 3
Fantastic. While I don't see anything wrong with PCI, it's good to know that this will force hardware developers to make PCI-E versions of their various products. 'Tis about time.

RE: woo
By Maluno on 4/17/2007 8:16:49 PM , Rating: 2
I completely agree. At first, I was put off by the lack of legacy support, but TBH, the only reason most people still use PCI slots is because they have old sound cards. You don't normally upgrade your soundcard every year. Or even every two years. The point being, many people still want to utilize their aging hardware, but I believe it may be time to promote the new standard forcibly.

RE: woo
By plewis00 on 4/17/2007 8:50:01 PM , Rating: 2
Well, dropping IDE channels from recent mainboards doesn't appear to have caused a massive influx of SATA DVD-RW drives, even the latest Blu-Ray drives are still IDE. I see the point but it's going to be a slow transition regardless and another headache when doing a part-by-part upgrade.

Also, there was a reason Creative hadn't made any PCIe sound cards - it was something to do with latency being worse than PCI, I can't remember exactly where I read that though.

RE: woo
By TomZ on 4/17/2007 10:19:53 PM , Rating: 3
When Creative talks about latency problems with PCIe with respect to sound cards, they are clearly full of crap. After all, latency on a gigabit PCIe link is very, very small compared to audio band frequencies.

RE: woo
By moocow2 on 4/17/2007 11:51:27 PM , Rating: 2
One problem is that the cost of making a PCIe card can be significantly higher than a PCI one, even though most applications have no use for the increased bandwidth that PCIe offers. This is because the protocol is more complex and requires more buffering; the PCIe portion of a chip will use around 4 times as many gates as the old PCI version. Also on an electrical level PCIe requires a new type of voltage signaling, which requires new additional hardware components.

It's difficult for hardware developers to justify developing a PCIe version of their products when:
1) It offers no new functionality or performance benefits for their purposes
2) Increases the cost of components for making the device
3) Requires a significant amount of engineering effort, what can amount to starting over on both the chip design and circuit board level
4) Development tools for PCIe are still buggy and of poor quality
5) It can create stability problems, because hardware components currently available for adding PCIe support are still quirky and immature

RE: woo
By TomZ on 4/18/2007 12:36:13 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with some of your points, but I don't think they're all valid. But I also have little sympathy, since most PCIe devices would be manufactured in the hundreds of thousands, millions, or higher quantity. In these applications, sufficient resources should exist to overcome these engineering challenges.

That only leaves behind low-volume, niche products like lab instrumentation cards. But in the case of these types of products, they have higher selling costs to compensate.

By yacoub on 4/17/2007 5:37:20 PM , Rating: 2
So if Eaglelake has all that stuff, what's the point of Bearlake again? What new CPUs and features does Bearlake support in comparison?

RE: wait...
By coldpower27 on 4/17/2007 6:21:37 PM , Rating: 2
Bearlake will introduce DDR3 memory and bring initial support for 45nm based Core 2's as well as PCI-E 2.0 on the high end.

Eaglelake is very far into the future, this motherboard will likely also come in versions that support Nehalem. Though the initial introduction will be with 45nm based Core 2's.

Bearlake will likely be the last generation of Intel motherboards that support NetBurst based technology as well as 45nm based Core 2's.

RE: wait...
By Max G on 4/18/2007 2:14:16 AM , Rating: 2
You forgot that Nehalem has integrated memory controller so it does not need a northbridge like Eaglelake anymore.

Eaglelake will probably be the target chipset for a Penryn refresh before Nehalem's debut (just like Bearlake targeting the 1333FSB conroe refresh before Penryn's debut).

The obvious improvement from Bearlake will probably be its integrated graphics core (DX10??) since practically nothing has been said about it yet.

RE: wait...
By coldpower27 on 5/3/2007 2:37:22 PM , Rating: 2
Current indications are that that Nehalem will have a IMC on server products, but it is unknown if that will be brought to desktops where I/O bandwidth isn't anywhere near as critical.

It looks like Intel is developing a separate server and desktop line for Nehalem, some products will have IMC some won't.

Please Intel!
By Hoser McMoose on 4/17/2007 3:24:39 PM , Rating: 2
PLEASE tell me that the next follow-up to Bearlake and Eaglelake is going to be called Platypuslake! That'd be SWEET!

RE: Please Intel!
By IcY18 on 4/17/2007 3:40:24 PM , Rating: 3
No, the next one is PlacidLake

Wow. No PCI
By 16nm on 4/17/2007 3:11:56 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like I'll be replacing a lot of my PCI cards in the future. I guess this is the perfect time for the industry to force us to buy DRM infected hardware.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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