What's New and Improved

Intel Series 4 Chipset Overview
  Intel X48 Express Intel P45/P43 Express Intel G45/G43 Express
Processor Support Intel Core 2 Extreme, Core 2 Quad, and Core 2 Duo Processors
FSB Support 1600/1333/1066/800 MHz 1333/1066/800 MHz
DIMMs per Channel/
Number of Memory Channels
2 DIMMs/2 Channels
Memory Performance Optimizations Intel Fast Memory Access Technology
Memory Type/
Memory Speed
DDR3 up to 1600 (XMP)
DDR3 up to 1333
DDR2 up to 800
DDR3 up to 1066
DDR2 up to 800
Integrated Graphics n/a n/a Intel GMA X4500HD*
DirectX Support n/a n/a DirectX 10, DirectX 9
Additional Graphics Features n/a n/a Intel Clear View Technology
Discrete Graphics PCI-E 2.0 2x16 PCI-E 2.0 1x16 or 2x8** PCI-E 2.0 1x16
PCI-E (ICH Only) (6) x1
ICH Support ICH9(R) ICH10(R)
IDE/ATA Support SATA 3GB/s (6 ports), eSATA, Port Disable
Storage Technology Intel Matrix Sotrage Technology (RAID 0, 1, 5, 10)
Intel Rapid Recover Technology
NAND Technology Intel Turbo Memory
USB Ports Controllers 12 USB 2.0 Ports, 2 EHCI Controller, Post Disable
Audio Intel HD Audio
LAN Integrated Intel GbE MAC
Manageability ASF 2.0
Intel Quiet System Technology Yes


* G43 - Intel GMA X4500 variant
** P43 - 1x16 lane configuration only (PCI-E 2.0)
 

8GB of DDR3 Memory or 16GB of DDR2 Memory – Take Your Pick

As we mentioned before, the new Intel 4 Series Express chipsets support a total of 8GB of DDR3 memory at speeds of up to DDR3-1066 (667MHz). Individual motherboard manufactures are also free to develop products that feature an Intel 4 Series Express chipset and legacy DDR2 memory technology for consumers looking for low-cost alternatives to more expensive DDR3 modules. As an aside, with the exception of X48, all Intel 4 Series Express chipsets are officially able to address up to 16GB of DDR2 memory (but only 8GB of DDR3), making G43 an attractive candidate for consideration when it comes to assembling a 64-bit single-socket budget server.

PCI-E 2.0 Graphics and CrossFire(X) Support

Intel 4 Series chipsets are fully PCI-E 2.0 compliant, which increases the maximum theoretical bandwidth of any installed PCI-E 2.0-enabled component by a factor of two. However, unlike X48, P45 only provides 16 PCI-E 2.0 lanes, so AMD/ATI CrossFire setups will only receive half the bandwidth relative to an X38/X48 board. How much that actually impacts dual-GPU performance is still a topic of debate, as the PCI-E bandwidth generally does not seem to be the major limiting factor.

Unlike G45/P43/G43, P45's PCI-E 2.0 ports can be configured for either 1x16 or 2x8 operation, which is different from past mainstream/performance segment chipsets like P35 and P965 where it was impossible to directly connect more than one add-in graphics card to the Northbridge PCI-E resources. In this respect, P45 provides something new, allowing discerning gamers building on a budget the opportunity to experience multi-GPU 3D graphics acceleration without the need for an absolute top-end motherboard. Given time, P45 platforms could become quite the powerhouse when it comes to putting together an inexpensive CrossFire(X) gaming system. Systems based on either G45, P43, or G43 are left to 1x16 PCI-E lane configurations only, meaning they may not make very suitable gaming systems if you plan to install more than one PCI-E video card.

GMA X4500HD - DisplayPort and HDMI 1.3 Join the Fray

The G45 Express chipset represents the first major upgrade to Intel integrated graphics since G35 and features the updated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) X4500HD. X4500HD promises to deliver full hardware-accelerated High Definition (HD) video decode capabilities for Blu-ray discs as well as other popular HD standards such as H.264, MPEG2, MPEG4, VC-1, and WMV9. G45 also includes Intel Clear Video Technology, a combination of video processing hardware and software technologies designed to enhance the already breathtaking image quality of high-resolution HD content. Advanced Digital Display Support, which has matured since its last appearance with G35, allows a broad range of digital displays to be connected including Digital Visual Interface (DVI), High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) 1.3, and DisplayPort at 720p, 1080i, and 1080p with up to eight channels of uncompressed audio. Naturally, that also means support for High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP), as well as dual independent displays.

The HDMI 1.3 specification increases the interface's maximum single-link bandwidth speed to 340MHz (10.2 Gbps), up from the minimum 165Mpixel/second rate needed to support 1080p at 60Hz (1920x1080). Support for deeper color profiles is also new, with earlier HDMI revisions only allowing for up to 8-bit colors. HDMI 1.3 brings 10-bit, 12-bit, and even 16-bit (RGB or YPrPb) color depths to the table allowing for a color palette of billions of colors. Those that purchase HDMI 1.3-compliant products may also notice the incorporation of a new mini connector intended to reduce the already small HDMI connector form factor for more efficient placement in today's small portable device market. Consumers will be happy to learn that HDMI 1.3 incorporates a new "Lip Sync" feature permitting automatic audio-to-video synchronizing capabilities without the need for user interaction. Finally, although the latest specification includes the ability to transmit compressed digital audio (Dolby Digital and DTS) and uncompressed digital audio (LPCM), the new standard adds support for the newest lossless compressed digital audio signals such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.

Hardware Support for OpenGL 2.0 Graphics… Almost

While not the first DirectX 10 part from Intel, the X4500HD integrated graphics engine has been built from the ground up to deliver highly-optimized 2D and 3D graphics performance from applications based on Microsoft DirectX 10 and includes fully-compliant Shader Model 4.0 pixel pipelines with full support for the latest Aero desktop experience included in Windows Vista Premium or better. However, we should mention that the current platform development schedule indicates that drivers containing preliminary support for OpenGL 2.0-based graphics hardware acceleration are not slated for release until third quarter 2008, well after the June 2008 product launch date. This news is particularly concerning to us seeing as how Intel never really managed to their act together when it came to addressing a few of the more persistent driver performance issues plaguing G35.

User Pinning for Intel Turbo Memory (ICH10 Feature)

In addition to Intel Matrix Storage Technology (MST), Intel Rapid Recover Technology, and Intel Turbo Memory - features all included in Intel's ICH9(R) - when paired with an Intel G45 Express chipset, ICH10(R) now allows the user to easily control the application binary information or other data saved in the Turbo Memory cache. The technique, called User Pinning, can boost system performance by decreasing the time needed to access and load frequently referenced data or any other information the user prefers to be available in the prefetch storage space. Intel 4 Series chipsets are also rumored to support a Turbo Memory address space of up to 4GB.

Intel Extreme Tuning Utility

Originally intended for use with the X48 Express chipset launched in early 2008, Intel introduced a simple-to-use, wizard-based tool for manual or automatic PC performance tuning. Novices and power users alike can use the Extreme Tuning Utility to tweak the P45 Express chipset for the "ultimate" in overclocking performance. We have not yet had the time to test all this tool has to offer, so naturally we must pass on making any judgments at this time. However, our early exposure to overclocking with P45 was lackluster at best, as the chipset consistently required more voltage than would have normally been expected using a premium performance board based on X48.

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  • SunAngel - Saturday, June 14, 2008 - link

    So, from what I read, I can by a G45 board, throw in a Celeron 440 (2.0GHz, 800FSB, Single-core) and run 1080p 50/60 HDTV and Blu-ray with no problems what-so-ever. If true, this is great for the pocket-book. $150 for a DG45ID board, $55 for a Celeron 440, $35 for a 1GB DDR2-800, $40 for a 80GB HDD, $170 for Blu-ray/HD-DVD drive, $75 for a nice, tiny, mATX case, and $150 for two ATSC TV tuner cards. More than fair pricing for a Media Center PC. Reply
  • burfi - Thursday, June 05, 2008 - link

    I was very much interested in pairing an E7200 with the DG45FC "Fly Creek" Mini-ITX, until I learned about the 24W TDP for the G45/G43 from Intel's documents. Now I'm in doubt, as I consider that rather excessive and hard to cool in that form-factor. Price below 150$ or 100€ is attractive though.

    And yes, this article indeed reads like slightly massaged Intel marketing material.
    Reply
  • strmbkr - Thursday, June 05, 2008 - link

    I agree.

    24W? Doesn't AMD's 780G chipset consumes only 10W (or was that the 790G?)? and in idle only 0.95W?

    "AMD claims idle power consumption of the IGP is just 0.95W!"
    http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/amd_780g_overc...">http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/amd_780g_overc...

    Intel is Apple's Padawan now me thinks.
    Reply
  • Karlzbad - Thursday, June 05, 2008 - link

    So when are we going to see these babies in stores in the US? Nobody seems to know anything about them. Reply
  • ilkhan - Thursday, June 05, 2008 - link

    Could you answer, in the first or second paragraph, this simple question?
    "Whats the difference between the P45 and the P43?" Since I presume that the G43 and G45 and just the P4x version + graphics. So, whats the difference?
    Reply
  • kjboughton - Thursday, June 05, 2008 - link

    P45 does 1x16 and 2x8 PCI-E lane configurations whereas P43 only does 1x16. G45 and G43 are like P43: 1x16 only, here though they are differentiated by the integrated GPU "type" (more like G43 has had some HD features locked). G45 is GMA X4500HD and G43 is GMA X4500. According to Intel each handles hardware-accelerated Bru-ray content so to tell you the truth the differences in the capabilities of the GPUs is still somewhat unknown. Reply
  • ilkhan - Thursday, June 05, 2008 - link

    Reading through again (with P45 highlighted, all 7-8 occurances) the only difference I see is that the P45 can be set for 2x8 PCI-E lanes. Great, except the G45 cant do that, so its not the difference. Humbug. Reply
  • Visual - Thursday, June 05, 2008 - link

    I am anxious to see the integrated graphics performance in comparison to the latest AMD and nVidia chipsets.
    I hope AOpen will release a new version of their MiniPC with this new chipset soon. Will make a great gift for my dad.
    Reply
  • formulav8 - Thursday, June 05, 2008 - link

    Intel is supposely claiming near AMD Chipset video performance. They had along ways to go to get their trash up to that high of speed. So I would bet they are simply using 3DMark 06 as a indication, but in actual games its still pathetic.

    But you never know I quess. I would be somewhat shocked if it did rival AMDs.

    Last I heard Intel didn't even have DX10 drivers yet?


    Jason
    Reply
  • CSMR - Thursday, June 05, 2008 - link

    Good news article with some new information. Nehalem is 45nm? Fast progress, one chipset die shrink after another. Reply

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