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Intel's 955X Dual-Core Chipset Better For Business Users Than NVidia's nForce4

Glenwood Aka 955X

If nothing else, the 955X is a logical extension of the 925X/925XE chipset. Now, as was the case with its predecessors, the chipset's main raison d'etre is to support socket 775 CPUs. This means Pentium 4 models 520 through 570, Pentium 4 models 620 through 670, as well as Pentium 4 Extreme Edition, Pentium D 820 through 840 and Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 840 are supported.

To anyone who wants to put one of these to work, we can only recommend that they install a PSU with EPS12V rails with lots of amps (35 or more, if possible), along with a top-of-the line motherboard.

This chipset also supports 200 and 266 MHz FSB clocks (FSB800 and FSB1066) along with DDR2 modules with clock speeds up to 333 MHz (DDR2-667). However, these speeds only enable somewhat higher system performance if the memory chips in use also support fast timing.

The graphics interface remains unchanged from the previous version, comprising a PCI-Express x16 slot that accommodates the graphics card. Dual graphics setups can be enabled by using four PCIe lanes of the ICH7 Southbridge in order to implement a second x16 slot. The ICH7 currently offers six instead of four PCIe lines, and the regular PCI controller continues its support for six 32 bit slots that run at 33 MHz.

In addition, the ICH7 offers optional software support for RAID 5. This makes good sense when used in tandem with a dual-core processor, which is extraordinarily adept at handling the XOR calculations necessary to take advantage of the parity data RAID 5 uses. RAID 5 also requires at least three hard disks, but to realize any kind of performance improvements, four or more drives are required - which of course means you have to spend more .

Interestingly, Intel obviously invested a lot of time in the development of its SATA controller. This latest SATA implementation, for example, conforms to the complete AHCI (Advanced Host Configuration Interface) standard, with support for native command queuing and transfer rates of up to 300 M/s per port (SATA II). When porting a system built around 915/925 and ICH6 chipsets to a 945/955 and ICH7 system, the new SATA controller can also work with standard 150 M/s devices as well.

Source: Intel Corporation.