Intel began supporting Rambusí RDRAM technology with the release of its i820 chipset. Unfortunately, the Pentium III wasnít able to utilize the memory bandwidth afforded by the new memory technology, resulting in mediocre performance gains. Further, RDRAM was significantly more expensive than SDRAM memory, and so the i815 chipset became the Pentium III favorite.
The Pentium 4 is able to take advantage of RDRAM, though, and as a result, the i850/i850E has enjoyed a long, successful life despite the negative stigma many hardware enthusiasts associate with RDRAM. However, the market has called out for DDR memory, and at long last Intel has been pressured to listen.
AMD, on the other hand, has used DDR memory since showcasing its 760 chipset. The Athonís front side bus, operating at 133MHz DDR functioned ideally with PC2100 DDR RAM. But considering the resources dedicated to Rambusí technology, Intel was a lot less enthusiastic about making the transition to DDR. Of course it inevitably happened with the i845 chipset, though the RDRAM-equipped i850E maintained a performance edge. Intelís own i845PE isnít even able to offer the 4.2GB per second of memory bandwidth that two channels of PC1066 memory provide.
The prospective i850E replacement comes in combining two, 64-bit channels of DDR memory. At 133MHz DDR, a dual channel solution is capable of the same theoretical 4.2GB per second that weíve already seen from i850E, matching the processorís own 533MHz bus. Intel has implemented such a design, hoping to maximize performance. Knowing full-well that the Pentium 4 shines its brightest on a platform with bandwidth to spare, weíve been anticipating Intelís E7205 Granite Bay chipset for some time. And not because weíre in a hurry to see the venerable i850E disappear, but because Granite Bay has the potential to be even faster, all the while offering AGP 8x compliance and Hyper Threading support.
ASUS P4G8X motherboard
ASUSí incarnation of Granite Bay comes in the form of the P4G8X Deluxe Ė a fully featured board that sports a hefty $260 price tag. A simpler P4G8X is also available for around $230 online.