The launch of the Intel X38 chipset is just a few days away (after several delays, 9/19 update - Launch is moved to October 11th) and we have a feeling the product managers and press relations personnel in and around Santa Clara are a bit nervous at this point. While the P35 launch was a bit convoluted as product was available on the street before the launch date, the X38 launch is heading down a slightly different path.

Everyone we spoke to just over a month ago expected the same launch situation that we had with the P35. Boards would be hitting certain distribution channels before the press launch date and everyone would be scrambling to figure out which board best met their needs. Well, it's not going to happen that way now. In fact, most manufacturers are scrambling at this point to get boards ready for the press activities on Monday. At this point, they are wondering if there will even be sufficient quantities of product in the distribution channel for a smooth launch. So, what happened?

It seems the X38 was not exactly ready for a grand debut on the 24th after all. We thought it was ready based on what was supposed to be final board designs a couple of weeks ago, but it turns out a few technical issues arose during final QA testing and Intel had to respin the X38 chipset. The chipset has passed the final quality hurdles and is now in full production with quantities being delivered to the major manufacturers. That's the good news, but many manufacturers are still scrambling to get boards ready.

Click to enlarge

After discussions this evening, it does appear that retail boards should arrive from a few motherboard manufacturers by early next week, but we do not expect the channel to be full until sometime in October now. This includes additional designs from the launch partners and competing solutions from other suppliers. While that is disappointing to us, we understand the situation and applaud Intel for making sure the chipset is actually ready for the market before releasing it. It appears they have learned their lessons after the rough P965 debut last year, at least.

In the meantime, we have been testing one of the first X38 boards with DDR3 capabilities for the past couple of weeks. ASUS sent us their new P5E3 Deluxe for an early look at the board design, performance, and new features that will be included when this board is released shortly. Although it turns out this board is not based on final silicon, the performance and stability have been excellent in testing to date, and it comes with a very nice feature set.

With that in mind, we are going to provide a very early look at the feature set and a few benchmarks that show its potential. The BIOS is still maturing and based upon the improvements we have seen over the last five releases, this chipset is looking more and more like a winner, especially in a DDR3 configuration. We just hope retail boards make it in time for the launch date; if not, we will have a lot of nice graphics to look at and will then move on to a very interesting product launch from the guys in green on the 25th.

Let's take a look at the feature set of the ASUS P5E3 Deluxe and check out preliminary performance in a handful of benchmarks.

ASUS P5E3 Deluxe: Board Layout and Features
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  • strikeback03 - Thursday, September 20, 2007 - link

    My question about the heatpipe cooling is related to this:

    quote:

    However, based upon our preliminary overclocking tests, if a vertical mounted fan in an air cooling unit such as the Tuniq 120 or water cooling is utilized then additional cooling will be required on the MCH and PWM areas.


    So why are these companies creating cooling solutions that work best with inferior CPU cooling? The heatpipe towers and water certainly seem to be the best CPU cooling, but the board cooling system looks like it was designed to work with the stock Intel cooler.
    Reply
  • mostlyprudent - Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - link

    I couldn't be happier to see the passive heatpipe cooling. After reading the reports of the X38 being a "hot" chipset, I was worried that I would be back to screaming/failing little chipset fans...whew...thank goodness. Reply
  • n0nsense - Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - link

    there always water cooling option. which i'm thinking about.
    One circuit for CPU, GPU, NB and SB (like Nautilus 500) + Termalright for mofsets should be perfect for sane overclocking and quiet PC.
    Reply
  • Etern205 - Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - link

    I guess what they mean by "upside down" is do not install into a
    BTX case?
    Reply
  • n0nsense - Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - link

    No, they meant that the only (the best) way to install this boards is when CPU socket located on the upper side.
    look at the picture of CS-718. in this case CPU socket is in the lowest part. This mean that hotest part of heatpipe system is higher then coolest. Heatpipe working the best when coolant vaporized at hotest part, then liquefied at coolest (radiators). Liquefied coolant should return somehow to the hotest part (chipset), and when motherboard "normally" this done by gravity. When the board installed in "upside-down" or horizontally, this SHOULD be done by capillaries, which are way less effective according to Asus support and wiki.
    Reply
  • Etern205 - Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - link

    I was right about this "do not install into a BTX case"

    The Enermax CS-718 supports ATX motherboards, but the design is based on the BTX specs.
    On a correct ATX case, if the back of the case if facing you, then you will open the panel on the right. And when the opening is facing you the front will face to the right.
    http://img221.imageshack.us/img221/2901/1015uh6.jp...">Image


    As for BTX if it's place into the same position, then you will open the panel on the left, which is what the Enermax CS-718 is designed to be and when the opening is facing you the front will face to the left. http://img175.imageshack.us/img175/6379/1007xq2.jp...">Image
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - link

    FYI, I deleted your (numerous) multiple posts. A little bit of patience goes a long way. Once or twice I can understand, but three sets of multiple posts? Hopefully that was just a weird error on the part of your system. Reply
  • n0nsense - Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - link

    it is a problem with my computer @ work.
    I guess it's caused by Synergy.
    Anyway, thank you for clearing my extra messages. It's sad that i can't remove or edit my own messages.
    Reply
  • n0nsense - Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - link

    it is a problem with my computer @ work.
    I guess it's caused by Synergy.
    Anyway, thank you for clearing my extra messages. It's sad that i can't remove or edit my own messages.
    Reply
  • 8steve8 - Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - link

    is the intel g35 chipset launching with the x38? if not, when will it launch?


    while the x38 doesnt offer much tangable to the users of p35 or 965p, especially those of us that are sane (ddr2 users), the g35 appears to offer a vastly improved 3d engine, and native hdmi support. "vastly improved" over the g965 and g33, which, for example, i can play warcraft3 at 1600x1200 w/full settings... this is onboard video... very impressive.
    Reply

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