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MSI X38 Diamond  (Source: MSI)
Expect Intel's high-end chipset to show up next month

Intel officially set its performance embargo on its upcoming X38 Express chipset for September 23. Motherboards based on the X38 Express chipset should show up in retail in early September, according to motherboard vendors. The September 23 non-disclosure lift date only applies to reviews and performance numbers for the X38 Express chipset. The situation will be similar to the P35 Express chipset launch, where motherboards were available before its Computex 2007 launch announcement and NDA lift date.

The new chipset is a member of the Bearlake family, which saw its initial debut with the G33 and P35 Express variants last June. Intel’s X38 Express succeeds the 975X Express that made its debut with Intel’s Pentium D Presler processors. Although the Intel 975X Express launched in late 2005, the chipset shared basics with Intel’s 945 and 955X Express chipset families. Intel decided not to refresh the 975X Express with a Broadwater variant and held out for Bearlake.

Intel’s X38 Express introduces PCIe 2.0 support to the LGA775 platform. PCIe 2.0 offers greater bandwidth over the existing PCIe standard – up to four gigatransfers per second, or GT/s, with the 20% encoding overhead accounted for. The chipset also supports dual full-speed PCIe x16 slots for ATI CrossFire multi-GPU technology. Intel guidance does not show any indication of support for NVIDIA's SLI Technology.

Officially, the Intel X38 Express chipset only supports DDR3 memory. However, motherboard vendors disagree and intend to release X38 Express based motherboards with DDR2 memory support. Motherboard manufacturers such as DFI, Foxconn, Gigabyte, MSI and others had DDR2-compatible X38 Express motherboards on display at Computex 2007. The DDR2-compatible solutions were either DDR3 and DDR2 or dedicated DDR2 supporting motherboards.

Expect motherboards based on the Intel X38 Express to pop up in retail next month. DailyTech estimates the cost of entry around $200 for a no-frills board and around $300 for boards that include a kitchen sink in the package. 

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X38 will be special
By pauldovi on 8/15/2007 10:08:06 PM , Rating: 2
X38 is suppose to contain latency tweaks and other BIOS features never before seen. It should easily be the best overclocking chipset. It has a IHS!!!! I hear it uses a lot more power than the P35... that is a good thing. :)

RE: X38 will be special
By Alpha4 on 8/16/2007 2:56:54 AM , Rating: 2
Whats an IHS?

RE: X38 will be special
By larson0699 on 8/16/2007 3:10:15 AM , Rating: 2
Integrated heat spreader, the metal plate covering a chip's core and the surrounding area. In processors, it was first seen on the Tualatin-core Pentium IIIs and Celerons, and then Pentium 4. Nowadays, the only processors lacking an IHS are mobiles--there were a few S754 (AMD) boards that supported the use of the mobile Turion line, and I recall heatsink mounting issues due to the absence of an IHS on those chips.

The fact that a northbridge now needs one of these is ridiculous, but if it alleviates the problems with overheating NB's... who knows...

RE: X38 will be special
By qdemn7 on 8/16/2007 6:57:11 AM , Rating: 2
Definitely looking forward to these boards. Simply because of the IHS on the NB. Makes it a lot easier to watercool the NB without having to worry about crushing the core.

RE: X38 will be special
By Alpha4 on 8/20/2007 1:04:10 PM , Rating: 2
Goddam! I appreciate the clarification. I was of the impression most current mobiles used heat pipes to draw heat away from CPU & MXM graphics accelerators. Does that not fall under the same classification?

RE: X38 will be special
By larson0699 on 8/16/2007 2:59:58 AM , Rating: 2
Well, I certainly don't doubt that an audience is already lined up for this thing...

Maybe it's just my tastes, but I prefer my computer to be one of the LEAST power-hungry appliances in my home; no sense in sucking 100W+ at idle. I understand that this is an all-out platform by Intel--which will be heartily received by those who pride the maximum OC--but it kind of negates the energy efficiency of the CPUs they bin. I read that X38 is bound to set records with the juice it needs. I just wonder where it ends.

But definitely guys, there's a whole story to be had of northbridges and their evolution over the years. This is proof that the processor is only as good as the chip feeding it I/O's. *pointing at VIA, SiS*

Little relief (watt-wise) with 680i, but SLI and way better SSD throughput (and finally competition from Intel)... My money's on that Shuttle ITX with G33--hey, at least there's hardware T&L out of the box and an x16 there for later (and yet quite the OC for such a size). (They also make a NV 7025/AM2 ITX barebones, no T&L but CnQ, price...)

RE: X38 will be special
By IntelUser2000 on 8/16/2007 11:11:46 PM , Rating: 2
My money's on that Shuttle ITX with G33--hey, at least there's hardware T&L out of the box and an x16 there for later (and yet quite the OC for such a size). (They also make a NV 7025/AM2 ITX barebones, no T&L but CnQ, price...)

G33 doesn't have hardware T&L, only the G965 and G35 chipset does. And think all the Nvidia IGP does.

RE: X38 will be special
By larson0699 on 8/17/2007 1:46:16 AM , Rating: 2

I was so about to give you the Wikipedia link, but thanks for calling me out there. The naming had me all confused. First, I thought G33 used GMA X3100, but in fact that's a mobile IGP--G33 actually has GMA 3100, which as you said does NOT have T&L.

(The G965 = GMA X3000 graphics = T&L.)

It's interesting how long this has been implemented in IGPs without my knowing. I had a Gateway with GeForce 6100 last year, and I remember that it wouldn't render lights or bumpmaps or anything fancy. I don't know if it was an issue with not having shaders.. but after a quick perusal of various IGP specs, it's obvious that all are terrible in games due to having one or two pipelines.

At least I'm still clear for my emulators!

@IntelUser2000 Thanks for clueing me in; I did more research.


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