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Leading makers of mainboards have reportedly started shipments of their products based on Intel Corp.’s not-yet-officially-unveiled Intel X48 core-logic. The actual motherboards may emerge in retail as early as this month. The new mainboards are primarily aimed at gamers and performance enthusiasts.

Asustek Computer and Gigabyte Technology both started shipping their platforms based on Intel X48 high-end core-logic this week, reports DigiTimes web-site. Potentially, it may mean that such products will reach retail stores already in March, whereas Japanese and Taiwanese stores may start selling Asus and Gigabyte Intel X48-based devices even earlier, either this week or sometime next week.

Intel X48 chipset will support processors with 1600MHz processor system bus (PSB), dual-channel PC3-10600 (DDR3 1333MHz) memory with Intel Fast Memory access and overclocking capabilities, PCI Express 2.0 bus with multi-GPU technology capability and some other performance improvements, such as flexible overclocking abilities and extreme memory profiles (XMP) technology.

It is interesting to note that the desktop processor with 1600MHz quad pumped processor system bus – quad-core Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770 clocked at 3.20GHz – has been delayed, which means that early adopters of Intel X48 platform will most certainly be overclockers, but hardly system integrators, for whom 1333MHz-supporting Intel X38 should be enough.

According to confidential documents seen by X-bit labs, Intel has removed support for PC3-12800 (DDR3 1600MHz) memory from the X48 platform and let mainboard makers to decide whether to support it or not. Intel itself plans to start shipments of its Intel Desktop Board DX48BT2 (Bonetrail) sometime in Q1 2008 with DDR3-12800 support from the beginning.

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