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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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DDR3 isn't primetime and SLI is dead
By FXi on 8/15/2007 11:20:34 PM , Rating: 2
DDR3 is so not ready for primetime, price to perf is worse than any memory since RDRAM.

SLI? It's dead as a Dodo, people just don't see it yet. It's hell to support, and keeping it alive is just life support for a failing chipset business. Neither SLI nor Nvidia chipsets are really of any market significance, and Nvidia knows it.

By larson0699 on 8/16/2007 3:39:21 AM , Rating: 2
Neither SLI nor Nvidia chipsets are really of any market significance, and Nvidia knows it.
What's that supposed to mean?

I've long stuck with ATI, but even I can attest that Nvidia's products are solid (and released on time). Some gamers are all over SLI, and 'nuff said about their place in chipsets. Forget that ATI is AMD; Nvidia owns that too.

SLI memory, mad OC headroom (no matter the CPU), and a slew of Nvidia-specific features... All favor them. Maybe they won't reinvent the wheel for a while, but they're certainly nowhere near insignificant. Hell, when MS gave them up, they just showed up in every PS3 since.

It might be farfetched, but considering who they're up against, Nvidia's next market is in CPUs, where they can be competitive with all of Intel, all of (new) AMD. I wish.

By therealnickdanger on 8/16/2007 12:58:19 PM , Rating: 3
What? DDR3 is awesome! Sure it's expensive now, but it won't stay that way for long. DDR2 was questionable compared to DDR when it was first introduced and now it's the cat's meow, the bees knees, the cream of the crop. All DDR3 has to do is drop in price - it already 8% faster on average than DDR2, which some people will find worth the price. DDR3 will probably make a faster penetration into the mainstream than DDR2 did if they continue pushing the 2GHz barrier and lowering timings even further.

SLI dead? I know a couple people that run SLI rigs and would argue with you. NVIDIA chipsets aren't significant? Seriously, I want to know where you get your tech news now... NVIDIA chipsets are class-leading in most cases - depending on your use. They were the only choice back before Intel dropped their Core line on the world.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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