Suppliers line up to support new Intel chipset

Several PC and workstation suppliers have released new models that take advantage of Intel's new 875P chipset to improve overall...

Several PC and workstation suppliers have released new models that take advantage of Intel's new 875P chipset to improve overall system performance with support for a faster front-side bus.

Intel's chipset, formerly known as Canterwood, increases the top speed at which data travels between the memory modules and the processor from 533MHz to 800MHz. Increased front-side bus speeds allow the processor to access data stored in the main memory more quickly and more frequently, improving overall performance.

The chipset supports Intel's hyperthreading technology, a technique used to fool an operating system into believing it is running on two processors. The operating system then sends more instructions for execution, which are absorbed by unused portions of the real processor.

Canterwood also supports a faster version of dual-channel double data rate (DDR) memory, known as DDR400. Most PCs with DDR memory currently use DDR266 or DDR333, but DDR400 is catching on among high-end users that need the quickest memory technology available.

Along with Canterwood, Intel released a 3GHz Pentium 4 processor that supports the faster front-side bus speed. The company will add the faster front-side bus to other Pentium 4 processors by May, such as the 2.6GHz and 2.8GHz Pentium 4 processors.

Hewlett-Packard updated its workstation line with the new xw4100, which replaces the xw4000 and xw5000 workstations. The base workstation does not feature the new Intel technology, but users can add the 3GHz processor and 875P chips for use with high-end graphics manipulation programs and computer-aided design applications.

The base model is only $799 (£507) with a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 processor, 128Mbytes of DDR333 error correcting code (ECC) memory, a 40Gbyte hard drive, and a CD-Rom drive. To get the new Intel processor and chipset, customers will have to spend $1,649 (£1,050) for a xw4100 with the 3GHz Pentium 4 processor, the 875P chipset, 512Mbytes of DDR400 ECC memory, a 40Gbyte hard drive, and a DVD-Rom drive.

Dell Computer's new Dimension 8300 uses the 875 chipset and the new 3GHz processor in a base configuration that costs $1,689 (£1,070). The base model comes with 128Mbytes of DDR400 memory, a 60Gbyte hard drive, a 17in monitor, and a DVD-Rom drive. However, only PCs with the 3GHz processor are available at this time.

Gateway's high-end 700XL will also benefit from the new chipset and processor. An updated configuration of the Gateway 700XL with the new Intel technology and two 200Gbyte Raid hard drives is now available for $3,499 (£2,220) , which includes 1,024Mbytes of DDR400 memory, DVD-R/-RW  and CD-RW drives, and an 18in flat-panel display.

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