AT News Update: Grantsdale's Memory Strategiesby Kristopher Kubicki on February 27, 2004 1:10 AM EST
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With all of the recent roadmaps and news concerning 925X (Alderwood), subtle 915P (Grantsdale) details have been overlooked. As mentioned in the Intel roadmaps, i925X shall remain DDR2 exclusive. Unfortunately, initial performance on DDR2 will probably be just par with our DDR1 today, and upgrading directly to the premium chipset will not produce big performance gains.
Several weeks ago we hinted that even though 915P supports both JEDEC DDR1 and DDR2, vendors would probably implement DDR1 on most of their solutions. Not only would this allow some differentiation between 925X and 915P, but it would also allow a slightly milder upgrade track for system builders.
However, in the past week we began to get different data from vendors concerning the Grantsdale platform. Here is what we will probably see as Grantsdale evolves:
This means 915P could prove to become a very prudent upgrade path. If, for some reason, PCI-Express solutions from ATI or NVIDIA become more viable options over their AGP counterparts, you will need to purchase a new motherboard. Keeping the existing memory and CPU on a 915P motherboard would allow more users to upgrade at time of release. Then, several months later these same users could upgrade the CPU and memory to DDR2 on the same motherboard platform. Upgrading incrementally give us the best of both worlds.
Lest we forget VIA and SIS core logics also pronounce dual compatibility (although that does not translate to dual implementation). With VIA's stronger focus being cost rather than performance, we may actually see more 2+2 designs for PT890 than SiS's 656 or Intel's P15P.
Will a 2+2 implementation of DDR1 and DDR2 be more beneficial to end users? Undoubtedly yes. Easier upgrade paths allow users to buy on their own budget and time. Serious memory users that need the full four banks of memory will probably not benefit as much from the 915P chipset anyway. Feel free to discuss your thoughts in our comments section.