Intel's 775 Launch Mixes Ambition With A Strong Aftertaste
Welcome to Intel's brave new world. While waiting for the official launch of the LGA 775 platform with its Alderwood and Grantsdale chipsets Monday, THG was given the go-ahead to present our results two days early.
Indeed, Intel's latest launch is ambitious. For starters, Intel for the first time has revamped three core components in one fell swoop: DDR memory, AGP and the Socket 478. Replacing these components are DDR2 SDRAM, PCI Express graphics and Socket LGA 775, also known as Socket T. Prescott's successor Tejas (here's the ominous T) was purged from the roadmaps, so this denotation had to disappear, too.
Intel's top processor in this launch is the Pentium 4 560 with a 3.6 GHz clockspeed. The other new Pentium 4s are distinguished by slower clock speeds that are slower by 200 MHz increments, designated as the Pentium 4 550, 540, 530 and 520. All are based on 90-nm Prescotts with an 800 MHz front-side bus, Hyper Threading and SSE3 as well as the known leakage power. In addition, three low-cost versions will be available: the Celeron D 335, 330 and 325, all running at FSB 533 (2.8 to 2.53 GHz). Also, the LGA platform inherits the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition at 3.4 GHz.
Four different chipsets are associated with this launch: 925X, 915G, 915P and 915GV. The G stands for integrated graphics, V voids the option to upgrade discrete graphics, P may represent performance and the X is pretty much the expensive option, as the performance enhancements to the memory controller do not make a huge difference.
On top of the technology replacements are several other features Intel introduces to offer window dressing for the new platform. We now get High Definition Audio, formerly known as Azalia, with impressive quality and feature levels. The Serial ATA controller serves four ports rather than two, including command queuing and ATAPI support as well as an interesting two-mode mixed RAID configuration called the Matrix.
Furthermore, Intel introduces the Wireless Connect Technology (ICH6W only), which will allow users to set up their own access point in what Intel says will be four easy steps. Unfortunately, the requisite radio modules won't be shipped before Q3.
And then there is a major annoyance for ambitious users: Intel obviously spent time on figuring out how to prevent users from overclocking their systems. That's right: no overclocking. We uncovered the anti-overclocking mechanism that is part of all 900 series MCH chips.