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Sneak Preview: Intel Alderwood/Grantsdale Chipsets

Southbridge: ICH6, ICH6R, ICH6W

There won’t be two but three different Southbridges available. ICH6 is the simplest version, offering four Serial ATA ports and one single UltraATA/100 channel. PCI is still supported ; in addition it offers four x1 PCI Express interfaces.

The ICH6-R corresponds to the ICH5-R, but now offers RAID modes 0, 1 and 0+1 thanks to the doubled amount of Serial ATA ports.

Finally, ICH6-W additionally introduces wireless network connectivity supporting 802.11 a/b/g.

Benchmarks

We ran some benchmarks using three motherboards from well-known manufacturers. Unfortunately, we only received a single DDR2 DIMM module, which restricted dual-channel runs. Yet we would like to make unmistakably clear that the boards we used remain far from mass production (A0 chipset stepping) and do not necessarily reflect the performance the final products may offer.

Also, we only ran non-graphics benchmarks, as we were using an old GeForce4 MX440 with 32 MB memory and PCI interface. Unfortunately, it’s still difficult to find workable PCI Express cards.

We used Intel’s chipset installation utility in the latest Version 6. Though it was an alpha version, we did not encounter stability problems. The configuration of the test system corresponds to the P4 setup we used to the Prescott review ; with the difference that one 512 MB Corsair DIMM was used.