The Solano Story
We know for quite a while that Solano is in the works. However, the question might be asked why it took Intel so long to produce this PC133 SDRAM chipset. Several answers are possible and you can pick one. Maybe it is because Intel was so focused onto Rambus chipsets, that they didn't spend any resource on developments of SDRAM chipsets for quite a while. Maybe Intel sacked all the engineers that brought us the highly successful 440BX-chipset, the last performance SDRAM chipset that came out of Satan Clara in 1998. Maybe those engineers had forgotten everything about SDRAM or suffered from internal 'RDRAM is the holy grail'-brainwash sessions, also leading to the 'MTH-disaster'. Maybe, and this seems most likely to me, Intel just wasn't sure if they should really release a SDRAM chipset, which would mark a step away from the hyped 'Rambus-blessing'. Whatever the reason was, it is very hard to understand why a company that produced the fastest and best SDRAM-chipset that ever existed in 1998 would take more than six months to create a successor. Politics are the only explanation.
Now Solano is close to its release, but the above-mentioned politics are clouding its fate already. You can hear that the i815 chipset will only be produced in 'limited quantities', it will only be shipped to OEMs and it's produced in the same technology as FLASH-memory, thus limiting production resources, because FLASH-memory is in extremely high demand and its production is already sold out for the next few years.
We have reviewed an early (A1) version of 'i815' or 'Solano', but even if you should be pleased with what we found you should not get your hopes up as to being able to buy an i815-platform anytime soon. Intel cannot risk the loss of all the money it has blown into Rambus and the RDRAM-hype by supplying the public with large quantities of Solano, for this could be the (well-deserved?) death of Rambus.