Sneak Preview: Intel Alderwood/Grantsdale Chipsets

Intel's Vision Of Future And What The Alderwood/Grantsdale Launch Is All About

Intel's is aggressively unleashing a new crop of technologies, or at least it looks that way if you consider the large number of new products and technologies that Intel is slated to debut this year. However, Intel's product launch road is also rocky and less glamorous than Intel made it out to be in February during IDF.

There must be a lot of behind-the-scenes activity at Intel these days. Some of the indications include the delayed launch of the 90 nm notebook processor Dothan and the inadequate availability of fast Prescott versions, as well as the non-committal statements about the launch of the new Alderwood and Grantsdale chipsets.

First and foremost, at least the required components should be available in order to properly run the platforms, which have been overhauled from the ground up. Among the extensive changes are the introduction of DDR2 memory with high performance potential, serial PCI Express as a replacement for AGP (and in the mid-term also for PCI), the radical structural adaptation of systems and motherboards to BTX and, last but not least, the processor socket LGA775.

The latter shouldn't be a problem for Intel, because the process of adapting to the new package should be quick. Furthermore, the memory required could already be available in smaller amounts and correspondingly higher prices. It will be more difficult with the graphics cards because ATI and NVIDIA are still squabbling about whether the right strategy should be the "real" PCIE solution from ATI or the AGP chips with additional PCIE bridge from NVIDIA - in any case, neither are available at the moment.

What about BTX? Short for Balanced Technology Extended, this means radical change for motherboards and cases. Here, a new power supply and a special cooler for the processor are needed. However, the introduction of the BTX form factor will take place independently from the launch of new system technologies.

In the following, we'll take a closer look at these new technologies and Intel's product planning.