Skip to main content

Intel Roadmap News 10/2000: Part One, Desktop Processors And Chipsets

The Intel 'Brookdale' Pentium 4 Chipset

While i850 doesn't seem to be very exciting at all, the 'Brookdale' chipset seems to me as one of the very highlights of this roadmap. It's another Socket 423 / Pentium 4 chipset, but it doesn't have much in common with i850 at all. In fact, this chipset may be the one thing to make Intel's Pentium 4 a successful product at last.

In the roadmap that I've got in front of me it looks as if Intel wants to release this chipset in September 2001. This seems very late and I will tell you why. 'Brookdale' does NOT support RDRAM !!! Again we have a situation similar to the 'Almador' chipset. Intel's roadmap is speaking of 'PC133'-support, which comes across extremely pathetic, since PC133 SDRAM will have been replaced almost entirely by DDR-SDRAM by September next year and thus PC133 is not a sufficient memory solution for a high-end Pentium 4 system. 'Brookdale' is supposed to be a high-end platform however, as it supports up to 3 GB of RAM and thus more memory than i850. It also comes with ECC-support and ICH3 . Thus 'Brookdale' gives the impression as if it is an advancement over i850 and so I think it's 100% justified to expect Intel equipping 'Brookdale' with DDR-SDRAM support. Bye-bye Rambus!

These are 'Brookdale's' preliminary specs:

Intel 850 Pentium 4 Chipset
ProcessorPentium 4, Socket 423
FSB400 MHz (quad-pumped 100 MHz bus)
Memory Support3 DIMMs, PC133 SDRAM, probably DDR-SDRAM, up to 3 GB
ECCYes
AGP-SpecAGP4X 1.5 V
USB6 USB Ports, USB 2.0 Spec
ATAUDMA100
NorthbridgeNo name, xxx mBGA
SouthbridgeICH3, 421 mBGA
ReleaseSeptember 2001 ????

My 2 cents about 'Brookdale' are that I expect Intel to move up this product and include DDR-SDRAM support. A release of a DDR-enabled 'Brookdale' by Q1/Q2 2001 would ensure the success of Pentium 4 and could threaten AMD quite nastily. If Intel fails to see this chance then they really don't deserve to be the top microprocessor maker anymore.

Summary

Intel's new roadmap has given me hope that the Santa Clara based company will finally get back to where it used to be. The high clock speeds of Pentium 4 that we can expect in the first half of next year should be accompanied by a chipset that has the backing of the industry and the consumers. The i850 RDRAM-chipset will not achieve that and Intel's managers can't be so blind that they wouldn't see how Rambus Inc. is endangering Intel's already damaged image. Let's hope that 'Brookdale' plus DDR-SDRAM memory will be available for Pentium 4 as early as possible next year.

After Intel's unfortunate retraction of the Pentium III 1.13 GHz it had become obvious that 'Coppermine' isn't good for clock speeds in excess of 1 GHz. However, Pentium III is still having a bright future ahead, particularly if Intel should not offer 'Brookdale' as alternative Pentium 4 platform. Therefore I hope that Intel will release 'Tualatin' and i830 'Almador' soon next year as well.

If you look at it closely, the decision between success and failure of Intel's future in the x86-market lies in the question if Intel will continue forcing customers into using RDRAM as well as continue to ignore DDR-SDRAM . There is no doubt that Pentium 4 will have a good chance of success if Intel can supply the high clock speeds and if it will offer a DDR-SDRAM platform to go with it. The same is valid for 'Tualatin'. Let's be honest, the first stumble stone that lead to Intel's long list of recent failures was the Rambus-issue with 'Camino' in fall of last year. If I'd be superstitious I'd say that Rambus has brought Intel nothing but bad luck. I suggest it's more than time to cancel this unlucky union.

Stay tuned for the next part of the roadmap, which will present you Intel's highly interesting plans in the mobile area and its strange policy in the workstation and server segment .

Please follow-up by reading HOT! Update Of Intel Roadmap News! .