It's approaching the end of the year for Intel and we were able to get our hands on the latest chipset roadmap. It gives us a good idea of where Intel will be headed in 2006 and beyond. Chipsets were broken down into four main categories: value, mainstream (business/stable), mainstream (consumer) and performance. Although not all categories will be receiving an update between now and the 2nd quarter of 2006, there are quite a few new parts.

Starting at the low-end, Intel shows no changes for their value chipsets. 865GV and 910GL/915G(L/V) variants will remain consistent well into the 2nd half of 2006 with no updates between now and then. This remains typical of value products on past Intel roadmaps.

Current and late '05 generation Intel Chipsets

975X

955X

945PL

945GZ (coming Q1, 2006)

1066/800MHz FSB

1066/800MHz FSB

800/533MHz FSB

800/533MHz FSB

Dual DDR2-667/533MHz

Dual DDR2-667/533MHz

Dual DDR2-533/400MHz

Dual DDR2-533/400MHz

8GB w/ ECC support

8GB w/ ECC support

1 DIMM / Ch (2GB Max)

1 DIMM / Ch (2GB Max)

Flexible PCIe Configs

PCI Express x16

PCI Express x16

Intel Memory Pipeline Technology

Intel Memory Pipeline Technology

Includes 945P technology

Intel GMA 950 Graphics

ICH7, ICH7R

ICH7, ICH7R

ICH7, ICH7R

Intel HD Audio



Current generation business or Stable Image Platform Program (SIPP) chipsets are carried forward by Intel's 945 chipset, which also will be used in the majority of the mainstream consumer products into Q2 of 2006. Flavors will include the current 945G, 945P and 945PL (no high definition audio). For those that have been following the transition for Apple onto an Intel platform, Intel's 945G will be familiar. Rumors circulating about Intel dumping 945G are true, and by the end of this year we will see the last of these chipsets with integrated graphics until Q2 of 2006. Intel will be introducing a 945GZ chipset in Q1 of 2006 with integrated graphics, but it will not support discrete graphics add-in cards. 945GZ will contain the same Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics core as 945G.

It's somewhat interesting that Intel includes mainstream-for-business chipsets as SIPP options, but most of the other chipsets do not receive such a distinction. Intel's large corporate buyers that produce B2B systems require guaranteed stability, support, and availability from Intel. SIPP components are guaranteed not to be phased out for at least 18 months after launch. Intel has also begun referring to SIPP configurations as "Stable Image Technology."

On the top end of the scale, Intel is migrating everyone to its 975X chipset from the currently available 955X, with the transitional period lasting roughly 6 months. An important piece of information to keep in mind is that 975X is the only current performance chipset to support Extreme Edition processors and will continue to be the only chipset to do so through to the 2H of 2006 -- clearly the demand for Extreme Edition processors are not very high.

2006 generation Intel Chipsets

G965

P965

Q965

Q963

1066/800/533MHz FSB

1066/800/533MHz FSB

1066/800/533MHz FSB

1066/800/533MHz FSB

Dual DDR2-800/667/533MHz

Dual DDR2-800/667/533MHz

Dual DDR2-800/667/533MHz

Dual DDR2-667/533MHz

Intel GMA Graphics

Intel GMA Graphics with dual-head display

Intel GMA Graphics

No Discrete graphics support

Stable Image Technology

Stable Image Technology

Advanced Media Capability

ICH8DH

ICH8DH

ICH8DO

ICH8

$42 (1ku) launch price

$38 (1ku) launch price

$42 (1ku) launch price

$39 (1ku) launch price



Coming in Q2 of 2006, Intel will be introducing 4 new chipsets which depart from traditional Intel convention. The first notable change from previous chipsets is the naming convention Intel will be using beginning in Q2, 2006. Letters are now in front of numbers, and with the Q963 Intel has also departed from numbering its chipsets in multiples of 5. We've seen P and G designations with chipsets for a while now, but Q is a new variant.

All of the above chipsets fall into the mainstream market but introduce a significant memory support upgrade across the board. All future chipsets will now support at least 1066/800/533MHz FSB configurations as well as support for 800MHz DDR2 memory -- with the exception of Q963 only being able to support up to 667MHz DDR2. All of the new chipsets will be fully compatible with Intel's next generation ICH8 south bridge, which brings with it a new generation of onboard Ethernet MAC options from Intel (1Gbps).

In terms of pricing, Intel remains consistent with previous chipset launches with current generation chipsets declining in price as the year moves forward. The four new chipsets: G965, P965, Q965 and Q963 are priced at $42, $38, $42, and $39 respectively, in batches of 1000 units. Pricing for Intel's top-end 975X chipset will remain at a hefty $50 into the 2H of 2006 with no change in sight, while other products will drop by $1 to $2.

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  • coldpower27 - Wednesday, December 07, 2005 - link


    I am wondering if these will support the new Allendale/Conroe cores coming out in the latter half of 2006?
    Reply
  • shabby - Wednesday, December 07, 2005 - link

    You'll probably need a new chipset, why release a chipset thats compatible will all cpu's when you can milk the consumer with updated ones. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 07, 2005 - link

    965 isn't planned until 2Q 2006, so it ought to handle the next-gen processors (Conroe/Merom). That may be why the naming style changed as well. Reply

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