Intel Confirms DDR SDRAM i845 Schedule
Posted By Van Smith
Date: August 24, 2001
An Intel spokesman dispelled rumors that the launch of the DDR SDRAM version of the chipmaker's Brookdale core logic controller would be accelerated into 2001.
Intel representative George Alfs has informed VHJ that the DDR SDRAM version of the i845 chipset commonly known as "Brookdale" remains on schedule to ship in the first quarter of next year. Brookdale is a crucial product for the chip giant since it helps cost reduce the Pentium 4 platform. To date, the Santa Clara company has seen limited success in transitioning its product focus from the Pentium III to the Pentium 4. Increased costs caused by Rambus RDRAM and the controversial nature of this platform are frequently cited by analysts as reasons for the market's slow acceptance of Intel's new flagship.
The Brookdale core logic controller will come in two varieties. One supports SDRAM only and motherboards based on this version are already appearing on Price Watch. However, with SDRAM's limited bandwidth many expect a lukewarm reception for this solution since performance is decidedly underwhelming.
The second flavor of the i845 will host DDR SDRAM. With twice the memory throughput capacity of SDRAM, the bandwidth hungry Pentium 4 is expected to reach performance levels comparable to the much more expensive i850/RDRAM combination. Although Intel has positioned for some time that the DDR SDRAM enabled i845 would not ship until next year, the appearance of archrival VIA's renegade P4X266 DDR SDRAM Pentium 4 chipset has caused much speculation that Intel would accelerate its launch schedule for the comparable iteration of the i845.
Preliminary testing of VIA's P4X266 has shown performance that rivals or even exceeds much more expensive Intel i850 dual channel RDRAM systems. Additionally, the Taiwanese VIA is shipping this product without Intel's blessing. In fact, the Santa Clara chip titan is widely expected to sue VIA in an attempt to halt the upstart chipset.
In a related note, Alfs told VHJ that "Northwood," the 0.13 micron version of the Pentium 4, is scheduled to begin ramping in Q4 of this year, although the launch date has still not been set. Alfs would neither confirm nor deny speculation that Northwood's Level 2 cache would be boosted to 512 kB, or rumors that the rest of the chip was essentially identical to the existing "Willamette" core.