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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  • Gary Key - Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - link

    quote:

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


    It is scheduled in late October now. However, we do have the NV MCP73 launching next week and it looks like a very interesting part at this time. The big issue with G35 at this time is the driver situation. Intel is just now getting the G965 operating correctly under XP and the latest Vista drivers are still a joke. We were hoping to have a G35 preview with the G33 roundup and MCP73 release next week but that has been called off until drivers are in better shape.
    Reply
  • SunAngel - Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - link

    quote:

    G965 operating correctly under XP and the latest Vista drivers are still a joke


    What are you referring too? The Hardware and Lighting. It was out last month. We have to wait until SP1 for microsoft to fix some issues. Other than that, the G965 drivers are operating flawlessly.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - link

    Actually, the beta drivers and the first 14.31 release still had issues with Vertex Shaders along with HW Lighting hiccups. 14.31.1 has corrected about 98% of the problems under XP and there should be a follow-up release shortly to correct corruption issues in BF2 terrain along with flashing in several games and hopefully Alpha Blend, Tiled Alpha, and Tiled4 Alpha blends will work correctly 100% of the time. However, under Vista with the 15.6 drivers, there are still numerous problems from HDMI not working to OpenGL failing to Hardware Lighting not working at all in many cases. Reply
  • SunAngel - Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - link

    Add another who is dying for the G35, although it doesn't add much over G965 other and DX10 and port multipliers.

    This X35 board is hot. Look at all that connectivity on the back panel. If I were not in bed with Intel Viiv at the moment, this would be the board for me. I know never to expect something like this from Intel, but it would be nice if Asus made this G35 board a Digital Home board supporting Viiv.

    I'm also going to be sorely disappointed if G35 don't come in DDR2 flavor. I refuse to blow my 4GB of DDR2 800 on a slight chipset revision. But then again, to me upgrading has lost its aura. It used to be fun witnessing speed increasing, but it seems of the late increase are getting smaller and smaller and smaller.
    Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - link

    Warcraft III can be played with the earlier IGP with 1600x1200 full. I reach frame rate limits of 60 fps with my E6600+G965 combo as it fluctuates between 59-60. G35 is supposed to be coming in October, it doesn't seem like its coming soon looking at the lack of news updates.

    Old strategy game playability is not impressive when it wasn't the most demanding one back 3-4 years ago, even on an IGP. Playbility on the later games like BF2/Supreme Commander is impressive. We'll see how much better G35 is over G965.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - link

    G35 has been pushed out several times already, just like X38. Currently it's scheduled for release in October. (Originally, it was supposed to be out a lot closer to the P35 launch.) Reply
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - link

    As of today, X38 has been moved to October 11th. G35 will probably go to November and to top it off, the DX10 capable drivers will be sometime next year. Reply
  • Nickel020 - Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - link

    Does this mean you can't publish full reviews as planned on the 24th? Reply
  • Gary Key - Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - link

    Working with Intel on that question right now..... Reply

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