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Intel to quash i865 PAT-like behaviour

Revised chipset on the way, apparently

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If you want an Intel i865-based motherboard that's capable of offering Intel's Performance Acceleration Technology-style performance acceleration technology, you'd better get one sharpish - Intel is planning to modify the chipset to stop mobo makers activating it.

So claim motherboard manufacturer sources cited by Xbit Labs. If the report is accurate, the move will restrict PAT support to the i875P, the only chipset that officially provides it.

The motivation for such a move may go beyond Intel's irritation that motherboard makers discovered how to switch PAT on in the i865P and i865PE chipsets. Enabling PAT in those parts eliminates one of the i875P's key selling points, leading to speculation that sales have been hit. PAT is all the distinguishes the i865PE from the i875P.

It's believed that the i875P and i865P/PE are essentially the same product, with PAT and, in the i865P, 400MHz DDR and 800MHz effective bit rate support simply turned off in the lower-end part. Intel denies this, of course, but mobo makers' ability to get PAT-like behaviour out of i865-class chipsets suggests Intel is punting one product at two price points.

Fair enough, we say - Intel has every right to maximise its profitability. Equally, however, if it adopts such practices, it can't really complain when third-parties figure out a way of leveraging it to their own advantage. It's no different than overclocking, after all, which is largely made possible because chips from the same wafer are offered at different clock speeds.

As yet it's not known when (or if) Intel will revise the i865 chipset family. However, the anticipated arrival of a single-channel DDR version of the chipset may simply provide Intel with all the excuse it needs to eliminate the i865P and i865PE altogether, solving the i875P's problems at a stroke. ®

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