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Intel names 'Bearlake' gaming PC chipset

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Intel launched its next-generation performance desktop chipsets last week, announcing version of the platform codenamed 'Bearlake' for games machines, mainstream PCs and budget systems.

The top-of-the-line X38 is designed to connect to Intel's four-core Core 2 Extreme processor. Like the other chipsets in the series, the X38 will be ready for the 'Penryn'-based 45nm Core chips due to appear late 2007/early 2008. Unlike its siblings, the X38 will contain PCI Express 2.0 technology - in the form of two PCIe x16 slots for a pair of co-operating graphics cards - and what Intel calls Performance Auto-tuning, a way of dynamically overclocking the processor and system components.

As past leaks have revealed, the X38 will support a 1333MHz frontside bus speed and connect to DDR 3 memory clocked also at 1333MHz.

The P35, G35 and G33 will target mainstream processors - the Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad - and, in the case of the G series chips, incorporate a DirectX 10-class graphics core and support for HDTV-friendly HDMI ports. The GPU will have the horsepower for HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc content decoding, Intel said.

At the bottom of the line is the G31, a cheaper chip aimed at low-cost systems based on Celeron and Pentium processors - both due for upgrades that will seen new versions based on the same underlying chip architecture as the Core series.

The P35 and G33 will arrive first, in Q2. The X38 and G35 will follow in Q3, as will the G31.

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