Two weeks ago Intel launched the first 533MHz FSB CPUs at 2.4 and 2.53GHz; alongside the new CPUs Intel introduced the first 533MHz FSB chipset – the 850E. Today Intel is transitioning all of their Pentium 4 chipsets to 533MHz FSB platforms with the release of the 845E. Just as was the case with the 850E, the only change that is made to the 845E is the official support for the 533MHz FSB.
At the same time, Intel is finally ready to debut their first new 3D graphics core in four years. Unlike Intel’s first shot at the graphics market (the i740), you won’t find this new core on add-in graphics cards; the new graphics core will only be found in two new Pentium 4 chipsets Intel is announcing today as well – the i845G and 845GL.
Why all the fuss over a chipset with integrated graphics? Some of the largest markets in the computer industry are for systems with cheap integrated graphics. The low-end consumer and corporate sectors are almost exclusively integrated graphics markets because of their sensitivity to price and lack of need for higher performance solutions. Since those are some of the highest volume areas it’s not too surprising that Intel has pushed for development of an updated 3D core in order to tailor to those markets.
However the launch of these new chipsets is a bit unlike the launch of most Intel chipsets in that motherboards aren’t largely available. When the 845 chipset was first launched a total of 11 motherboards were ready and in our hands well before the chipset was officially announced. For our 845 DDR roundup, published on Intel’s announcement date, we had 12 boards at our disposal. This time around however the situation is significantly different. Most motherboard manufacturers weren’t ready with their samples and we were only able to get boards from DFI, Gigabyte, and MSI as well as Intel of course.
We’re not sure if this indicates a relative lack of enthusiasm for the chipset among Taiwanese motherboard manufacturers or if other issues were present. Even in spite of the lackluster launch there are still more boards available based on the new chipsets than any SiS or VIA launch which is something we’ve been pushing both of those manufacturers to improve to little avail.