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Intel samples Brookdale

Mobo makers get first taste of P4 SDRAM chipset

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At least five Taiwanese mobo makers have received samples of Intel's upcoming Brookdale chipset.

Brookdale is designed to hook up Chipzilla's Pentium 4 to regular SDRAM. The current P4-supporting chipset, the 850, only works with Rambus' pricey RDRAM. The new chipset is due in the third quarter.

However, Asustek, Gigabyte, Microstar and others have begun testing an early version of Brookdale, a Chipzilla spokeswoman said, according to EBN, which reckons it's all a sign that Intel is "aiming to introduce" DDR SDRAM.

The question is, will it do so sooner rather than later? The implication behind EBN's statement is that DDR SDRAM will be supported by a P4 chipset earlier than Q1 2002, the timeframe pegged by Intel's own roadmap. Intel wants to encourage as many people as possible the chance to buy into RDRAM before it supports DDR. We expect it to reduce the cost of implementing the P4 with RDRAM considerably before the anticipated Q3 release of Brookdale.

SDRAM support will allow PC OEMs to push P4 down into the mid to low end, having spent the intervening six months establishing P4 plus RDRAM as the de facto standard for the high-end. That'll generate the volume sales required to bring the P4 down in price, which will also help cut to the cost of RDRAM-equipped systems. Come 2002, no one's going to want DDR because RDRAM is so well established, or so Intel appears to be hoping. ®

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