Intel's DX48BT2  (Source: Silicon Madness)
Intel updates its flagship high-end motherboard with the X48 chipset

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Intel will update its flagship high-end desktop motherboard, known as the DX38BT, or BoneTrail, with its X48 chipset. Intel guidance points to a Q2'08 release, possibly as early as April.

Planned to enter the market at the same time as the other competing X48 solutions, the DX48BT2 will feature the  ICH9R southbridge in place of the newer ICH10R, which hasn't been released yet. The ICH10 series will be reserved for motherboards like the DFI LanParty UT X48-T3R. This is an interesting move by Intel, since it allows Intel to offer its board partners a feature to differentiate themselves from standard Intel motherboards.

The X48 chipset is a carefully selected X38 variant that allows for a higher FSB. Since the X48 is pin-to-pin compatible with the X38, BoneTrail 2 wasn't redesigned and uses the same PCB as the DX38BT.

BoneTrail 2 features support for dual x16 PCI-Express 2.0 slots and possibly also allows to split one of the x16 slots in half to provide 8 lanes to the third PCI-Express slot, making available a 16-8-8 lane configuration. This feature, however, has not been officially confirmed by Intel.

Other known features are support for 8 SATA ports, a FSB 1600MHz and official support for DDR3-1600.

Intel has built some interesting high-end boards lately that although don't meet the needs of enthusiasts as well as the boards of companies like Asus and DFI, have proven to be more successful than previous in-house designs. For example, Intel's BadAxe 2 was a moderate success among overclockers - something not usual with Intel branded boards - due to its good build quality and refined BIOS options for overclocking. Intel's BoneTrail 2 may prove to be a success if Intel manages to follow its newly founded philosophy of catering to enthusiasts. 

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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