Intel's Grantsdale chipset goes mainstream

Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Gateway will incorporate Intel's latest 915G/P and 925X Express chipsets into upcoming PCs for...

Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Gateway will incorporate Intel's latest 915G/P and 925X Express chipsets into upcoming PCs for both consumers and corporate customers.

The 915P and 915G chipsets, formerly codenamed Grantsdale, are expected to be the backbone of a mainstream PCs released over the next 12 months.

The 925X is targeted at high-performance gaming and content creation PCs.

All three chipsets take advantage of the PCI Express interconnect technology, which speeds up the rate that data can travel around a system. They also support faster DDR2 (double data rate) memory and improved audio and video performance.

Most of the PCs will also feature the 90-nanometer Pentium 4 processors coupled with the new chipsets.

Dell has unveiled two new Dimension PCs and one XPS PC with the chipset technology. The Dimension 4700 utilises the improved integrated graphics of the 915G chipset, while the other two models feature the 925X chipset.

The Dimension 8400 and XPS PCs are available immediately.

A base configuration of the 8400 costs $1,369 (£753) with Intel's Pentium 4 550 processor at 3.4GHz, 512Mbytes of DDR2 memory running at 400MHz, an 80Gbyte hard drive, a Radeon X300 SE graphics card from ATI Technologies with 128Mbytes of video memory, a DVD-ROM drive, and a 17in CRT (cathode ray tube) monitor.

Dell updated the base configuration of its third-generation XPS desktop with the Pentium 4 560 processor at 3.6GHz, 512Mbytes of DDR2 memory at 533MHz, a 80Gbyte hard drive, the Radeon X800 XT graphics card from ATI with 256Mbytes of video memory, a DVD-ROM drive, and a 17in flat CRT monitor. That configuration costs $2,599.

Users can add multiple hard drives as large as 400Gbytes, double-layer DVD+RW drives, and Intel's 3.4GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition to the Dimension 8400 and XPS for an additional charge.

Dell's Dimension 4700 PC will be available in July for $919 with the Pentium 4 520 processor at 2.8GHz, the 915G chipset, 512Mbytes of DDR2 memory at 400MHz, a 40Gbyte hard drive, a DVD-Rom drive, and a 17in CRT monitor.

HP unveiled a Media Center PC with the HP Personal Media Drive, a removable hard drive that can be connected to any other PC through a USB port. The Personal Media Drive slides into a bay located on the front of a HP Media Center m1000 series Photosmart PC, and comes with 160Gbytes of capacity.

The Personal Media Drive costs $219.99 as an external hard drive for PCs that does not feature the integrated media bay used in the m1000.

The Personal Media Drive allows users to share digital photos and movies with other PCs, and comes with HP Image Zone software that lets users access photos with a remote control included with Media Center PCs.

Customers will be able to order customised versions of the m1000 at HP's website. A base configuration costs $899 after a $50 mail-in rebate, and comes with the Pentium 4 520 processor, 512Mbytes of DDR memory running at 400MHz, an 80Gbyte hard drive, a DVD-Rom/CD-RW drive, the Personal Media Drive, a GeForceFX 5200XT graphics card from Nvidia, and the Windows XP Media Center Edition operating system from Microsoft.

Three retail versions of the m1000 series PC will be available on 18 July in various configurations with the Pentium 4 processors and various optical drives, memory, and hard drive specifications.

Business customers will also see benefits from PCI Express technology and DDR2 memory. Dell and HP will release business PCs that take advantage of the technology.

The Dell OptiPlex SX280 PC comes in a redesigned small form factor chassis that can be mounted under a counter or behind an optional flat-panel monitor to save space on a user's desk.

The GX280 is available in three sizes, such as a smaller-than-usual minitower or desktop design, or the small form factor chassis used by the SX280.

The SX280 starts at $768 with a Pentium 4 520 processor, 256Mbytes of DDR2 memory, and a 40Gbyte hard drive. The GX280 starts at $798 with the same configuration. Both systems are available immediately.

HP plans to release more details about its new commercial desktops, also available in small form factor designs, later this week.

IBM  unveiled ThinkCentre A51p, its first model with the 915G chipset. A base configuration of that PC is available immediately from the company's website for $829 with the 520 processor, 512Mbytes of DDR2 memory, a 40Gbyte hard drive, and a CD-Rom drive.

Gateway will also release PCs based on the chipsets later in the third quarter. Both Gateway and eMachines-branded systems will be launched with the new chipset and processors.

  Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service

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