SOLANO Preview - Once Intel Makes Sense ...


There's no doubt, our early i815-sample shows that this chipset will most likely be what i820 should have been. Although the early stage of the Solano-platform could not quite fulfill all of our expectations, it is showing that Intel is on the right track. We expected BX133-performance and that's what Solano should give us at least. Nevertheless, even our beta-Solano was already able to beat i820 in most of the consumer benchmarks. This should be proof enough that i820 and its RDRAM-support are absolutely obsolete in the consumer performance segment. Even i840 will have a hard time against Solano and that should finally raise the question for the basic justification of RDRAM altogether.

Solano will be released on the first day of Computex2000, which will be June 5, 2000. Once the i815 chipset is official we will have to see if the consumer out there will be able to purchase i815 motherboards. Intel is not planning to supply any reasonable quantities to motherboard makers that sell via retail, even for OEM customers there shall be only 'limited quantities'. Intel's Solano may turn out to be a great product. It could threaten VIA's Apollo Pro 133A sales, but we might never see that happen. Intel has decided to choke us with Rambus and i815 could destroy all of Intel's plans. That is not supposed to happen. Therefore most of you might only have the chance of dreaming of a Solano motherboard.

The good performance of our early i815 motherboard sample should raise one question. Why didn't Intel release a chipset like this with Coppermine in Fall 1999? Was it really necessary that all those Rambus/i820 disasters had to happen? Is Intel not interested into what their customers want? What kind of policy is it to patronize the customer and force him to buy a product that he doesn't want? The world would do just fine without Rambus. In fact the world might do a lot better even. Today there are hundreds of thousands of disgruntled i820 customers who wasted their money for RDRAM and a platform that doesn't cut it. Those people will never get their money back, and Rambus is using it to finance one questionable marketing campaign after the other. Right now SDRAM is offering the best performance and the best price. The future will probably also have better solutions than a product that has to be shoved down a customer's throat while milking him really badly at the same time!

Finally I've got a little quiz for you once you've digested this article. How do you think the performance would be if Solano would support DDR SDRAM instead of PC133? I hear that DDR SDRAM is 'just' able to compete with RDRAM ... is that supposed to be comedy or the product of someone who simply doesn't want to see the truth right before his eyes?

Follow-up by reading the article 'Tom's Blurb: Intel's 'Almador' Chipset, Solano News and the MTH-Debacle '.