ATI's Xpress 200 chipset targets dual and single-core Pentiums

Markham (ON) - ATI today launched its Xpress 200 chipset for Pentium 4, Extreme Edition and Celeron systems. The chipset will go head to head with Intel’s upcoming 945 and 955X chipsets that will be launched with the dual-core Pentium D and Extreme Edition in the second quarter of this year.

The Radeon Xpress 200 is not really new, as it has been available for AMD K8 platform since for than four months. The Intel version is also based on the firm’s X300 chip and allows the company to reach a much wider market by supporting current Pentium 4, Celeron and Pentium 4 Extreme Editions PCs as well as the upcoming dual-core Pentium D, code-named "Smithfield", and the Pentium Extreme Edition 840 processors.

The PCI Express chipset includes basically the feature set of Intel’s 945 product for the Pentium D and most of the features Intel promises for the high-end 955X. The Xpress 200 supports socket 748 and 775 processors, FSB 800/1066, DDR1-400 and DDR2-667 memory, Hyper-Threading, xD and SpeedStep. While Intel has not talked about the DirectX features of the 945/955 yet, the Xpress 200 chipset supports full DirectX 9.0, resolutions up to 2048 x 1536 pixel in a color depth of 32 bit per pixel, according to ATI.

In contrast to the 955X, the Xpress 200 however integrates only one physical x16 PCI Express slot. Intel’s high-end chipset will bring dual x16 slots to allow system builders to integrate two graphics cards within one PC system. Also, the Intel chipset will support a maximum of 8 GByte memory, while ATI’s specifications currently list a maximum of 4 GByte.

ATI said that Acer, Samsung, Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, Tul, Sapphire, ECS, FIC, Shuttle and Jetway will use the Xpress 200 initially. Motherboards based on the chipset are now shipping from Asus, with the recently launched P5RD1-V multimedia platform.