SOLANO Preview - Once Intel Makes Sense ...

Performance Expectations

My regular readers know that I've already said a lot about this, but I hope they won't mind that I will repeat myself. All of us performance-hungry PC-users that loved Intel's BX-chipset for all of its qualities felt very deserted when Intel left the 'right path' and started to shove RDRAM-platforms up our tail end. Besides the fact that RDRAM-platforms never lived up to the claims of Intel and Rambus, besides the fact that i820/i840 have a history of failures and disappointments, and besides the fact that the educated PC enthusiast feels at least annoyed if not disgusted by all the hype that Rambus is trying to spread, so besides all of that, Rambus memory is even super expensive, blowing up your system costs significantly. It feels as if you're being 'pre-punished' for making the wrong choice. Maybe it could be seen as a warning as well, saying "Well, we made RDRAM unreasonably expensive, so be aware that you will have been had if you should be crazy enough to buy it! "

The educated performance user had two choices so far. Either he would go for VIA's Apollo Pro 133A chipset, which offers good performance for a very good price, or he would take the path of a real 'outlaw', and run his 133 MHz FSB Coppermine on an overclocked BX platform. The latter includes the risk that the 3D-card might not like the out-of-spec 89 MHz AGP-clock, but once it runs there's nothing faster than 'BX133', as you can read in my article 'Showdown at 133 MHz FSB - Part 2 '.

'Solano' or 'i815' is supposed to end this dilemma. It should offer at least the same performance of 'BX133' without the overclocked AGP. Therefore we should expect results close to BX133 and better results than platforms with VIA's Apollo Pro 133A. I almost forgot to mention our anti-favorites i820 and i840. Of course we should expect that i815 outperforms them too, since BX is able to do this already.