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Athlon 64 PCI-E chipset here by end of year 'for sure'

And it's integrated

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The first PCI Express chipset supporting AMD's Athlon 64 processor line will have surfaced by the end of the year, an industry source situated not a million miles away from the integrated chipset business told us today.

"There'll be an AMD [Athlon 64] PCI Express product this year for sure," our knowledgeable source said. "At least in the integrated graphics space," he added.

The contrasts with what AMD itself is apparently saying. The CPU maker reckons PCI Express parts won't arrive until Q1 2005, though it's not clear whether it's referring to integrated or discrete chipsets.

Current speculation on the first integrated PCI Express chipset for Athlon 64 centres on Nvidia, which has been offering Athlon 64 chipsets for some time now, and ATI, whose RS480 chipset is said to support the AMD processor family.

Nvidia has already said "next-generation PCI Express [chipsets] are scheduled to be available later this year in time for AMD Sempron market availability", an admission made when AMD launched Sempron last July. Nvidia said its chipset is a Socket 939 part, and AMD's Socket 939 Sempron, the 3000+, is due to ship in Q4, according to AMD.

It's likely that our source was referring to the Nvidia part, but it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that he had an ATI chipset in mind. According to a Hexus report, citing sources familiar with ATI's plans, testing work on RS480 is "developing well, and a solid Q4 launch date is imminent".

VIA is also said to be working on an Athlon 64 PCI Express chipset, the K8T890, but it's release schedule isn't known. ®

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