X58 Chipset With ICH10
The X58 Chipset
Alongside the Core i7 processor, Intel is also launching the matching chipset, code named "Tylersburg." It is paired with the familiar ICH10 southbridge of the X48 Core 2 chipset. Since the X58 northbridge no longer contains a memory controller, it basically serves as a "QuickPath Interconnect-to-PCI Express converter." It features two PCI Express x16 links for two graphics cards or other high-end controllers, as well as a single x4 lane that connects it to the southbridge. If you were wondering, the path to the southbridge that Intel calls "DMI" in its block diagram is just a conventional PCI Express connection.
Given the fact that Intel equips the northbridge with a small fan of its own, we surmise that the X58 must be rather power hungry, despite the limited scope of its duties.
At least for the time being, the introduction of QuickPath Interconnect will also have a downside for buyers, since the Core i7 processor will only work with new chipsets. Until Intel launches a mid-range chipset, enthusiasts interested in the inexpensive Core i7 920 will still have to pay through the nose to buy boards based on the costly X58 high-end chipset. Absurdly, these boards will cost more than the processors they will be paired with! Luckily, Intel has plans to introduce a less expensive chipset for use on more affordable motherboards.
We tested the Core i7 on an Intel DX58SO board, built around the X58 chipset.
Click on the images below to view an image gallery of other Socket 1366 boards.