A new chipset from Silicon Integrated Systems (SiS) announced at CeBIT supports a 400MHz front-side bus for AMD's Athlon XP processors, which appears to clear up questions about whether AMD would include that feature in the forthcoming Athlon XP 3200+ processor.
AMD had downplayed reports a few weeks ago that it had instructed its chipset manufacturers to include support for the bus, saying it was still evaluating its product decisions.
A faster front-side bus allows data to travel between the processor and the memory at higher rates, increasing overall performance. Analysts have said AMD was evaluating the faster bus as a way to remain competitive with Intel's 800MHz front-side buses on upcoming Pentium 4 processors, before AMD launches the Athlon64 this September. The Athlon XP 3200+ is expected to be released around the middle of this year.
The SiS748 chipset also features support for DDR400 (double data rate 400MHz) memory, a very fast memory standard that is gaining acceptance among high-end users, and AGP (accelerated graphics port) 8x technology.