Intel's E7205: Granite Bay Hits the Streetsby Evan Lieb on November 18, 2002 9:56 AM EST
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Intel has undoubtedly regained all that they have lost in the chipset market. There was a period in time when Intel was only able to claim sales by forcing motherboard manufacturers to produce motherboards based on their chipsets but today, most motherboard manufacturers are more than excited about virtually all of Intel's chipset lines.
One interesting chipset that has been on the radar for months is Granite Bay; the first dual channel DDR solution for the Pentium 4, Granite Bay was supposed to be an entry-level Pentium 4 workstation solution. However, its feature set combined with a very pro-DDR market made Granite Bay the perfect successor to Intel's RDRAM based 850E solution as the top performer in the Pentium 4 market.
Today, Intel has finally unveiled Granite Bay and dubbed the chipset E7205 to go along with their server/workstation class chipset nomenclature. Despite the target market for the chipset, the three motherboards we have rounded up today based on the new 7205 chipset can be used as either entry level workstations or high-end desktop motherboards. In fact, a good number of E7205 partners will have enthusiast boards as well as entry level workstation solutions available.
Before we get to the boards themselves it's important to look at a few of the key features of the E7205 chipset:
- Dual Channel DDR266 Memory Bus (4.2GB/s memory bandwidth)
- 400/533MHz FSB Support (3.2GB/s - 4.2GB/s FSB bandwidth)
- AGP 8X support
- USB 2.0 support
What's interesting to note here is that the chipset only supports dual channel DDR266 and is not validated for dual channel DDR333 operation. It won't be until Intel moves to a 667MHz FSB before we see dual channel DDR333 support for single processor Pentium 4 systems simply because of bandwidth requirements.
With that out of the way, let's start looking at the first E7205 based motherboards.