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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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RE: sata??
By Devo2007 on 8/15/2007 11:35:29 PM , Rating: 2
I was about to comment on the same thing -- where are the SATA ports?


RE: sata??
By miahallen on 8/16/2007 12:08:05 AM , Rating: 2
In the picture, you can clearly see two more SATA port spaces (not occupied by physical connectors), right between the PATA port and fan headernear the bottom. Those are good for 2 more SATA ports each, giving a total of six (which IIRC is what the X38 is supposed to support).

However, it would make absolutely no sense for MSI to build this board without the extra ports supported, so your guess is as good as mine.


RE: sata??
By larson0699 on 8/16/2007 3:20:08 AM , Rating: 2
Given that the chipset is brand new, *maybe* that motherboard is an engineering sample. Sometimes you'll see missing DIMM sockets or the pinouts to a x16...

...except here, you have two SATA and traces to six DIMM sockets (of two types, at that). Never a fan of hybrid boards. One or the other. And since you can't use both at the same time, *something* is always going to waste on that board.

DDR3 is very fresh (read: expensive, unrefined) in the market. If you're more budgeted for graphics than that extra ~50M/s unbuffered, then you know that RAM *won't* be the priciest part of your build.


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