Hannover (Germany) - While Intel has remained quiet in public about a possible introduction of a refreshed Core 2 Duo platform, first motherboards that support the faster front side bus FSB1333, the upcoming 45 nm processor Penryn and provide the technology foundation for DDR3 memory have surfaced at the Cebit tradeshow.
Cebit is scheduled to open tomorrow, March 15, and vendors are still in the midst of building their show booths in a total 28 exhibition halls. However, on a first stroll around the show floor, we noticed virtually all Taiwanese motherboard manufacturers setting up motherboards with Intel's new "Bearlake" chipset.
Bearlake, the core of Intel's "Salt Creek" platform, will be named the Intel 3 series of chipsets. The first chipset out is the G33, which has been showcased first on the MSI board G33M2 at Cebit. This chipset is aimed at the lower end of the mainstream market and will be accompanied by the mainstream P35, which is also expected to debut at Cebit. In Q3, Intel will introduce the G35, which will support Clear Video technology, DirectX10 and native HDCP integration to deal with high definition DRM.
All new 3-series chipsets are based on the new ICH-9 southbridge and support DDR3 memory. While the G33, P35 and G35 are limited to DDR3-1066 and DDR3-800 memory devices, the upcoming enthusiast chipset X38 will be compatible with DDR3-1333 modules. Industry sources told TG Daily that these FSB1333 chipsets have been running in Intel's test labs for a while with the new FSB1333 generation of Core 2Duo processors and apparently are capable of providing a "significant" speed boost. We are hearing news about systems that are able to boot a complete system in 30 seconds or less.
The fact that Intel will be showing Bearlake chipsets indicates that the company will be launching the FSB1333 processors at Cebit as well. We are expecting three versions of these CPUs: The Core 2 Duo 6650 (2.33 GHz), the 6750 (2.66 GHz) as well as the 6850 (3.0 GHz).
ICH9, introduced with the 3-series of chipsets, will also serve as the initial southbridge for Intel's 45 nm Penryn processor, which is expected to be launched in Q4 of this year or early in Q1 2008. ICH9 will continue the legacy removal that has begun with the current ICH8 version: PATA support will be disappearing from the mobile version; there will be added USB support (12 ports) and a reduced power consumption of less than 3.5 watt.