In addition to discussions concerning the long-term future products, numerous actual devices were on display at Intel Developer Forum show this week. Some mainboard makers, namely ASUS, DFI and Intel, demonstrated their products based on Alderwood and Grantsdale chipsets due in the second quarter of the year, UK-based and China-based press reports.
All mainboards are equipped with Socket T for LGA775 microprocessors and also boast with very high quality CPU voltage regulator circuitry and power supply to feed extremely high speed and power hungry Intel Pentium 4 E processors coming out towards the end of the year.
As usually, chipset components – Memory Controller Hub and I/O Controller Hub – also seem to become hotter than previously. Both i925X/i915P and ICH6 chips now have heatsinks on. The industry is pretty accustomed to active cooling of the MCH, so, large coolers on next-generation North Bridges are certainly not a surprise. Looks like the heatsinks will also be required on South Bridges too, probably because of integrated high speed PCI Express bus controllers.
All three mainboards have PCI Express x16 (PCI Express for Graphics x16, PEG x16) connectors along with PCI Express x1 slots. To allow working of legacy devices, all mainboard makers install PCI slots, Parallel ATA ports and even FDD connectors on their forthcoming products.
Mainboards from ASUSTeK Computer and DFI already seem to be more or less finalized – all capacitors and connectors look like in place and some add-on components like DDR-II memory and CPU coolers are installed implying mainboards’ ability to work out now. In contrast, Intel’s platform product seems to be an engineering sample – there are onboard diagnostic LEDs, Molex connector and some other indicators of the fact that this mainboard is not a device ready to ship.
Commercial mainboards based on i925X, i915P, i915G and other chipsets with LGA775, PCI Express, DDR-II, 7.1 channel high-definition audio, Wi-Fi and dozens of other features are expected to hit the market in the second quarter.
It is interesting to note that ASUS demonstrated a mainboard based on i915P, whereas Intel and DFI brought their i925X products. You can see the pictures of the mentioned mainboards over GZeasy.com and Hexus.net web-sites.