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Intel readies successor to unlaunched gaming chipset

X38 to launch next week, X48 by year's end

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Gamers have been waiting for Intel's X38 high-end desktop chipset to show up for some time, and it finally looks like the part will begin shipping any day now. But it had better be quick - there's apparently an updated version coming by year's end.

That, it turn, should allow those companies to get boards out of the door by the end of the month, insiders claim.

The timing's good. Intel opens the door on its regular Intel Developer Forum next week - Register Hardware will in San Francisco to cover the event - and the show will provide the perfect place to launch the chipset and, indeed, 'Skulltrail', the chip giant's gaming PC platform introduced in April.

Indeed, Intel's IDF website already describes the chipset as the "soon to be launched X38".

Intel announced the X38 back in March, and acknowledged the part again when it formally launched other 'Bearlake' chipsets in June, including the P35 and G33. Heck, it's already been validating DDR 3 memory from a variety of vendors for compatibility with the X38 chipset, which supports unbuffered, non-ECC DDR 3 DIMMs clocked at 800, 1066 and 1333MHz.

X38 can also manage two PCI Express x16 slots for twin graphics cards - it is a gaming rig, after all - using PCIe 2.0 technology. It also features what Intel calls Performance Auto-tuning, a way of dynamically overclocking the processor and system components.

However, X38's leadership may prove short lived. Moles also claim by way of a DigiTimes report that Intel is preparing X48, due to ship at the end of the year before appearing on mobos in retail during Q1 2008.

X48 is said to support a 1600MHz frontside bus clock and 1600MHz DDR 3 - aka PC3-12800 - to go with it.

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