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Intel ships ATI-based mobo

Just while it has no low-end chipsets of its own?

Intel has begun offering ATI-based motherboards as anticipated. The launch is intended to protect the chip giant's mobo business while it shifts chipset production away from low end.

The D101GGC board is based on ATI's Radeon Xpress 200 chipset family. Specifically, it uses ATI's RC410 integrated North Bridge and ATI's IXP450 South Bridge part. The board supports LGA775 Celeron D and Pentium 4 processors running across frontside buses clocked to 533MHz or 800MHz.

The board sports a pair of DIMM slots to hold up to 2GB of 333MHz or 400MHz DDR SDRAM. There's a 16x PCI Express slot for an alternative graphics engine to the one built into the chipset, plus a PCI Express x1 slot and a regular PCI slot for other cards.

The D101GGC provides eight USB 2.0 ports, four Serial ATA connectors, a parallel ATA-100 interface, 10/100Mbps Ethernet and legacy ports. The Ethernet port is controlled by a discrete Realtek 8101L LAN chip, while the board's audio is managed by a Realtek ALC861 codec chip.

So far, the D101GGC is the only Intel desktop mobo based on a chipset not made by Intel itself. The chip giant has been said to have bought chipsets from SiS, so other similarly non-Intel Intel boards may appear shortly.

The board's arrival follows a shortage of entry-level Intel chipsets. Intel itself maintains it has simply and temporarily refocused its manufacturing on high-end, high-margin chipsets, but some industry figures have suggested the move actually heralds a full withdrawal from the low-end chipset arena. ®

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