Intel is not expected to officially launch its Canterwood and Springdale chipsets for several weeks yet, but that isn't stopping some motherboard makers from pushing products based on the as-yet-unreleased chipsets at the CeBIT exhibition in Hanover.
Chipsets are a key component in PCs, connecting the processor to main memory and providing an interface with other PC components, such as the graphics card and hard-disk drives, among others.
Several motherboard makers are giving boards based on Canterwood and Springdale a prominent place at their booths here, advertising the chipsets' support for an 800MHz front-side bus and dual-channel DDR400 (double data rate) memory. In addition, Springdale will also include the next generation of integrated graphics from Intel, called Intel Extreme Graphics 2, and a new architecture which Intel says will boost the performance of Gigabit Ethernet networking performance.
Currently, the fastest available chipsets for the Pentium 4 offer support for a 400MHz or 533MHz front-side bus. Raising the speed of the front-side bus to 800MHz will offer an increase in overall system performance.
Among those board makers who are showing off Springdale and Canterwood boards are Micro-Star International, Gigabyte Technology, Abit Computer, Epox Computer, Soyo, QDI, and Soltek Computer.
Intel has not released a specific shipment date for the Canterwood and Springdale chipsets, which are designed to be paired with the desktop version of the Pentium 4 processor, except to say that it will ship during the first half of the year. However, board makers have been more specific when describing timing for the chipsets' release.
According to one source at a motherboard maker familiar with Intel's plans, Canterwood should be announced in mid-April with Springdale to follow in May.