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Chipset boost for Pentium 4 PCs

Pentium 4-based PCs will get a performance boost next week when Intel ships its 875 chipset, which pushes the top speed of the front-side bus used with Pentium 4 chips from 533MHz to 800MHz.

Intel has scheduled a press conference to be held in Taipei on 15 April to announce the chipset, formerly known as Canterwood.

Chipsets are a key component in PCs, where they are used to connect the processor to the main memory and provide an interface with other PC components, including the graphics card and hard-disc drives.

To coincide with the launch of the 875, Intel will also release a version of its 3GHz Pentium 4 chip that will support the faster bus speed.

A 400MHz front-side bus, which was supported by the earliest Pentium 4 models, is also available. The increase in speed to 800MHz will result in increased overall system performance for PCs with the 875 chipset.

The 875 is the first of two chipsets that Intel will unveil that supports the 800MHz front-side bus. A second chipset, known as Springdale, is expected to ship next month. Springdale incorporates a revamped architecture which, Intel claimed, would boost the performance of Gigabit Ethernet networking performance.

Engineering samples of 2.6GHz and 2.8GHz Pentium 4 processors that support the new 800MHz front-side bus, both yet to be announced by Intel, were on display yesterday in at least one shop in Tokyo, although staff at the shop were unable to provide any more information on the chips, including an anticipated launch date and price.


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