Intel's New CC820 Motherboard Review


It's only been a couple weeks since Intel finally launched their daunted i820 chipset. Just before the last attempt to launch this product Intel was plagued with a memory data integrity issue when more than two banks of RDRAM were installed. This problem being so close to the launch caused many headaches and a lot of money for all the motherboard manufacturers who had already designed and ramped up their products for Intel's product announcement. Intel's last minute decision to stop the i820 launch was e.g. too late for ASUS Germany to stop their i820 add-campaign, so that most of the adds still made it to print even though the product had to be redesigned! Since then motherboard manufacturers have been hectically scurrying about trying to revamp their motherboard designs and layouts to accommodate only two banks of Rambus (RDRAM) memory. The i820 chipset has been launched and the availability of motherboards should start hitting the store shelves within the next few weeks, but there is still one major dilemma for this product. This setback is the extremely high cost of the RDRAM memory required for the platform. I called around to some local vendors and here are the price ranges I received.

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RDRAM PRICING (as of 12/1/1999)
Memory SizeSpeedPrice
128 MB600 MHz~$900 - $950
128 MB700 MHz~$985 - $1029
128 MB800 MHz~$1025 - 1107

Given that the price for a 128 MB of PC100 or PC133 SDRAM memory runs in the range of $150 - $250, RDRAM pricing looks quite scary. Especially since a person can go out and buy a descent, Athlon based, VIA based or Intel 440BX based, complete system for around $1000. Although the pricing of RDRAM should come down as time goes by, it sure has a long way to go.