Articles: Mainboards

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As you know, hunt for maximum performance can never end. It is like a sport without any limits for perfection. You can constantly replace computer hardware components with new ones with higher speeds and new features. This is what keeps the business of many computer hardware companies going. New processors, graphics cards and other types of components with significant internal or superficial cosmetic improvements keep coming out regularly.

Nevertheless, small islands of stability sometimes shape up in the middle of these never stopping changes. For example, take the system chipsets for LGA775 platform following the launch of Intel P35. Although this solution was introduced more than a year ago it is still not outdated. The Intel X38 and X48 that followed P35 later on improved its functionality just a little bit, but failed to turn into a solid alternative to it from the price to functionality standpoint. And as for Nvidia’s attempt to strengthen their positions in the LGA775 chipset market, it inevitably produced a new series of specific niche products, nothing else. In other words, it is completely logical that Intel P35 remains the most widely spread platform until today. It features a universal high-performance memory controller, supports all contemporary processors, offers a sufficient number of external interfaces. Of course, it lacks the PCI Express version 2.0 support, however, this feature is not of crucial value for contemporary graphics accelerators.

However, even though the situation in the chipset market seems great, Intel still decided to refresh their top offering. Now they try to replace the successful P35 with a new P45. The first mainboards based on this chipset have already started to appear in stores. We cannot really praise the new Intel P45 chipset. It is not a revolutionary solution, has no evident advantages over the predecessors, and doesn’t promise to set new performance records. In fact, it is a second modification of the good old P35, which is actually a definite advantage of the newcomer. From the functional standpoint, the new core logic set now supports PCI Express 2.0 and has a new South Bridge that differs just a little bit from the usual ICH9.

However, Intel P45 still has a few features that will definitely be of interest to computer enthusiasts. Namely, P45 is the last chipset for LGA775 platform; Intel will not introduce anything new for the Core 2 processor family. Now they put all their engineering efforts into the upcoming Nehalem platform. However, since they will only come to the mainstream market in mid 2009 at the earliest, P45 will have a pretty long life span. In this respect, it would be correct to say hat Intel P45 accumulated all the best Intel has ever put into its chipsets for CPUs with Core micro-architecture. Moreover, Intel P45 is manufactured with a more advanced 65nm technology, unlike its predecessors. So, overclocking fans hope new chipset will help them hit new overclocking heights.

Of course, Intel P45 deserves a separate discussion. However, we didn’t dare talk about it yet, although we had quite a few mainboard samples on this new chipset sitting in our lab for quite some time now. The thing is that all the samples we have received so far were hardly close to mass production and suffered fro a number of problems that they shouldn’t have had. That is why we decided to wait until mass production mainboards appeared that could give us a complete picture of what the new Intel chipset is actually like. We finally received a mass production ASUS mainboard on Intel P45 chipset - ASUS P5Q3 Deluxe.

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