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Sneak Preview: Intel Alderwood/Grantsdale Chipsets

The Competition: SiS And VIA

The two main competitors in the P4 chipset market are lying dormant, although the changes in their product portfolios are equally rigorous. Recently, SiS announced their PCI Express Southbridge called SiS965. In this respect, SiS forestalled the introduction of PCI Express.

In contrast to Intel's components, SiS965 will continue to offer two UltraATA channels, but only two x1 PCI Express slots (which actually should be enough for the time being). There is no need to change the chip interconnect yet since the proprietary interface called MuTIOL with its 1 GB/s bandwidth is still fast enough.

It is similar at VIA Technologies, where Ultra V-Link is responsible for connecting the North- and Southbridges. In the middle of this year, we will see a PT890 chipset that will succeed to PT880. The new chipset will be the direct competitor to Intel's Grantsdale and Alderwood family and will also introduce DDR2 667 at 333 MHz from the very start. Furthermore, a x4 PCI Express slot is designated to complement the x16 PCIE port for graphics. However, the chipset variant with integrated graphics (PM890) will have to live with a x2 PCIE slot.

The Athlon chipset family KT600 and KT880 will be discontinued, but the Athlon64 chipset K8T800 will be succeeded by K8T890, offering similar features to the PT890. However, it might take half a year until this device will be available.

A new Southbridge called VT8251 will assure additional connectivity by providing four Serial ATA ports with RAID support, two UltraATA channels, x1 PCI Express and Dolby Pro Logic sound support.