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Print 25 comment(s) - last by Spivonious.. on Nov 2 at 3:24 PM

Intel's X38 refresh appears on its latest roadmaps

A memo forwarded to DailyTech reveals that Intel's X48 chipset has been added to the company's roadmap. The X48 is an updated version of Intel's X38 chipset, which was released by Intel a little over two weeks ago.

The Intel X48 chipset features support for Intel Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, and Core 2 Extreme processors. In additon, the chipset also supports Intel's Wolfdale and Yorkfield processors, which are yet to be released.

For those of you who have been paying attention, you'll notice that all of the features named so far are also present on Intel's X38 chipset. In fact, the only real new feature that the Intel X48 comes with is support for 1600MHz front side bus. As of right now, Intel doesn't plan for any other new features.

Intel previously launched its X38 chipset on October 10, 2007. The chipset had been delayed a number of times due to manufacturer support. As of right now, availability of Intel X38-based boards is still scarce.

Those looking to purchase Intel's 1600 MHz front-side bus 45nm Penryn processors in November will have to use a server-based platform, Skulltrail, to take full advantage of the increased bus speed.

Intel has so far not set a solid NDA-lift date for its X48 chipset other than the vague indication that the chipset will be announced in Q1 2008.

After the X48 launch, the company will also release two last LGA775 chipsets: P45 and G45, in Q2 2008.  These chipsets will feature Intel's updated southbridge (ICH10) and support for 1600 MHz front-side bus.  However, these new chips are not compatible with LGA1366 Nehalem desktop processors, which are slated for release in Q4 2008.


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Yet another advantage to intel...
By Darkskypoet on 10/26/2007 12:56:25 PM , Rating: 5
The breakneck release of chipset after chipset is actually a neat indication that intel is making the most of its platform to make up funds lost in the price war with AMD.

Not that I am insinuating they are hurting, far from it, look at their quarterly reports. However, the premium that is charged to adopt a highly over clockable intel platform, is that lovely north bridge that no intel chip will work without.

Simply put, by throwing out the north bridges to market, they are ensuring a nice steady revenue stream from a hierarchical SKU list of good, better, best, north bridges. It creates a price premium for the latest chipsets, and as more models exist at one time it is the epitome of price discrimination.

For the majority of the market, i.e No overclocking, AMD and Intel tend to be quite equivalent price to performance... However, While AMD essentially sells the north bridge as part of the cpu, Intel gets to make extra cash on top of the cpu sale with the North bridge sale. Thus by creating this plethora of choice on the north bridge side, they extract more or less monopolistic rent depending upon the chipset chosen. Platform costs then, on the intel side, have that extra variable to contend with, which quite honestly, for minimal work, can have enormous profit potential. Especially considering x38 vs x48.

However, as AMD continues to grow in market share, the OEM's know of this, and seem to be expressing it with a greater adoption rate of AMD platforms as the north bridge variable is taken out of the equation.

This is not about performance, more so it is about the reduced cost of the main board (traces for instance and the required silicon to make a functioning product. It also happens to be why mATX AMD product tends to overclock so much better then mATX Intel product. With an integrated north bridge, much of what is required to overclock is internalized in silicon, not left up to the main board manufacturer.

Long story short, Intel is milking its need for a separate north bridge, and willcontinue to do so until... (damn can't remeber the spelling) Nahealm?? lol... either way, they have a limited window with which to exercise this deficiency in a profit maximizing way. And it looks as though they are planning to do so.




RE: Yet another advantage to intel...
By Spivonious on 10/26/2007 3:54:21 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting thoughts. Just wanted to point out that the northbridge does a lot more than just handle CPU-memory communications, so saying that AMD sells the northbridge as part of the CPU is a bit wrong.


By Darkskypoet on 10/26/2007 8:08:48 PM , Rating: 2
Granted. However, the memory controller is probably the most R&D intensive part of the north bridge, and the single largest factor affecting performance (Aside from GPU). Added to this is the fact that with the AMD CPU architecture it's extremely simple to pair up a single (or multiple) chip(s) to the HT link provided. The simplified NB / SB, or Single Chip is still cheaper, and / or able to provide more functionality for a given die size. More PCI Express lanes, more transistors for GPU, UVD, etc. Either way, platforms giving x feature set, or x performance remain cheaper.

(In essence a plain NB for this platform could simply be a PCI-express implementation with PCI-Express to HT bridge; Something quite simple to toss onto a SB, or "insert name here" system silicon.)

However, in modern terms for NB functionality, you are right. (Is a Colbert-esque tip of the hat suitable?)

Have a good night.


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