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Soltek Computer started to distribute mainboards for Intel’s next-generation processors in LGA packaging that are due to come in about two months time. In order to get the platform ready by now, Soltek decided to utilize Intel’s i865PE chipset that is originally intended for the company’s current chips in mPGA packaging.

LGA775 microprocessors from Intel are projected to emerge in the second quarter of the year and enable new speed increases along with some feature-set improvements. Previously it was unclear whether LGA775 chips are compatible with existing infrastructure or not. However, Soltek managed to create a mainboard based on slightly outdated last year’s performance-mainstream i865PE chipset compatible with future processors for Socket T – the new infrastructure for Intel’s land grid array microprocessors.

Specifications of the Soltek SL-865Pro-775 mainboard are as follows:

  • Supports Socket T Intel Pentium 4, Celeron processors with 533MHz and 800MHz Quad Pumped Bus;
  • Supports Intel Hyper-Threading technology;
  • i865PE chipset, and ICH5R I/O controller;
  • 4 DIMM slots for up to 4GB of PC2700 DDR SDRAM memory. Dual-channel memory bus support: the memory modules should be identical and installed in pairs;
  • 5 PCI slots, 1 AGP 8x slot;
  • 2-channel ATA-100/66/33 integrated controller;
  • 1-channel ATA-133/100/66/33 (Promise PDC20579);
  • 2 Serial ATA-150 ports with RAID support (ICH5R);
  • 2 Serial ATA-150 ports with RAID support (Promise PDC20579);
  • 8 USB 2.0 ports;
  • FireWire (IEEE1394) support;
  • 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet adapter;
  • 6-channel AC’97 audio solution;
  • Overclocking/tuning features;
  • ATX Form Factor.

The SL-865Pro-775 mainboard lacks next-generation capabilities like DDR2, PCI Express and other, but packs-in a quite impressive set of RAID controllers in addition to Gigabit Ethernet support.

The novelty does not cost a lot, though, we cannot call this one an inexpensive as it is priced at $155 - $163 in Tokyo, Japan, according to a report from Akiba PC Hotline. Prospects of such mainboard with current pricing and in current market conditions are unclear. Intel is only likely to release its LGA775 chips in June 2004 along with some new chipsets, such as i915P/i915G and i925X, that are not only faster compared to present offerings, but also sport PCI Express, DDR2 and other promising technologies, such as software WLAN access point. Only relatively low pricing of Soltek SL-865Pro-775 will make customers bite it.

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