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Intel Goes DDR - Do We Really Care?

Introduction

Anybody Need Another DDR-Chipset?

Today it finally happened. From now on Intel allows motherboard makers to couple the i845 chipset with DDR-memory. Of course this it not the way things are put officially. Intel's patronizes its customers by giving the very same product that we already know as lame budget P4-chipset with mere PC133 SDRAM support a slightly new name. Motherboards that team up i845 with DDR-SDRAM are officially equipped with Intel's 845D chipset. There's no business like show business!

The question now is, does the world need another DDR-chipset for Pentium 4? We have already got products from the Taiwanese core logic providers SiS and VIA. The SiS645 is even able to support DDR-memory clocked at 333 MHz, providing an excellent performance alternative to Intel's 850 chipset for Pentium 4 systems. Then there is VIA's semi-legal (or is it 'semi-illegal'?) P4X266 and its brand new successor P4X266A. The so-called 'i845D' is neither offering any new features, nor would it provide more performance. On top of that, it follows Intel's traditional overpricing policy.

Well, we shouldn't forget the good old brand name fetishists. I am not completely free from it either. I will never understand how anyone could even remotely consider driving or even buying a Lexus, this sorry excuse for a wannabe luxury car.

So there are also people who would never buy a system that is not equipped with an Intel processor and of course Intel chipset. You'll find those guys especially in corporate headquarters. We all may agree that i845 with PC133 support was a Pentium 4 performance killer, but it sold like crazy, because its carrying the Intel brand. The same will happen with 'i845D', as little as SiS, VIA and Ali may like that.

Finally, there's another reason why I am personally welcoming Intel's new support of DDR-memory. As much as some of you may dislike Intel, as much you should be aware of the fact that only a strong force is able to bring order into the somewhat chaotic PC-business. None of the Taiwanese chipset makers was ever able or even willing to make sure that provider of DDR-memory stuck to a reasonable conformity. Owners of motherboards with DDR-support were either lucky and the memory they bought actually worked, or it simply didn't. Intel has the will as well as the power to make sure that providers of DDR-SDRAM stick to a regime that keeps owners of i845D-platforms headache-free.

For this article, we took the fastest available motherboards for each Pentium 4 chipset and compared them with each other.

MSI's 845 Pro 2 currently is one of the fastest motherboards with Intel's ('not so fast') 845 chipset.