Computex 2008 officially starts today and we will have show coverage through Saturday. We arrived a couple of days early to meet with several manufacturers privately to find out what will make this year's Computex special. As it turns out, this year's show is not going to have any blockbuster product releases. The blockbuster releases featuring the next generation of GPUs from NVIDIA and AMD will occur in the next couple of months, Intel's next gen Nehalem architecture will be released this fall, and even the 790GX from AMD is going to have to wait until July.

In fact, one could argue that the big show will just be a smorgasbord of current product releases shown in the best possible light. However, we did dig up a little information for you before we start the parade of pictures. The Intel P45 is launching tomorrow and the various board manufacturers have lined up some very interesting products for Intel's last great hurrah with the Front Side Bus architecture. A new chipset launch would normally be a large event but initial performance numbers have already been published and the P45 is more or less a generational follow up to the P35 with the new ICH10 Southbridge making its appearance finally. It seems as though the true anticipation for new Intel product centers on the release of the Nehalem processor series and the X58 chipset.

We had an early opportunity to "play" with a Bloomfield CPU and X58 board yesterday outside of Intel's control or approval.  Our first impressions are quite positive based upon a quick run through of several major benchmarks. This particular CPU sample was running at 2.93GHz and initial performance in video/audio applications was simply superb. The board design and BIOS were just finalized for qualification testing so it is too early to tell just how well this platform will eventually perform. There has been a lot of speculation about Intel limiting overclocking and we do not have a final answer yet if this is true.

On our platform that featured triple channel DDR3, the processor multiplier was locked at 22 with a QPI bus setting of 133 to generate the 2.93Ghz CPU speed. Memory was running at DDR3-1066 with ratios available for 1333, 1600, and 1866. Due to the early BIOS revision, memory was only stable at 1066 in triple channel DDR3 operation but we were told 1333 memory speeds should be available shortly. Intel will allow a Turbo mode that increases the CPU multiplier to 23 and that was all our board/BIOS combo was capable of yesterday. We could not raise the QPI bus speed past 140 without incurring stability problems.

The board manufacturers informed us they are working on ways to increase the CPU multiplier past the single Turbo speed step and that QPI bus speeds should improve greatly once BIOS tuning is completed. While we wanted to provide clarification to the overclocking question, it is just too early to tell what the enthusiast can expect in the way of overclocking at this time. We will follow up later this week with some additional information after having more time with the platform.

The significant trend we noticed in our visits yesterday is the rush to produce sub-notebook designs based on Intel's new ATOM processor series. ASUS will be officially releasing the Eee PC 901/1000 series today along with MSI rolling out their Wind series. After working with both units, I have to say these units will make a perfect second PC for families needing something inexpensive, and they'll also work for students on a limited budget. We will have further details when the units are formally launched later today. However, we expect supplies to be limited at first since the demand for the ATOM processor is just incredible and we understand why now.

More later today....

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  • Dobs - Wednesday, June 4, 2008 - link

    'The Inquirer' ? has posted a bunch of photos of the some of the x58 and Xeon Skulltrail boards.... I like the layout of the Foxconn Renaissance... How about you?

    http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2008/0...">http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2008/0...



    Reply
  • Ratinator - Tuesday, June 3, 2008 - link

    Triple Channel - Is that new news, or has that info been out for a while?

    So questions would be:
    3 total slots or 6?
    If only 2 slots are full does it revert back to Dual channel?
    Reply
  • squeezee - Tuesday, June 3, 2008 - link

    The info has been out for quite a while, nehalem processors will be available in dual or triple channel DDR3 configurations. There are pictures floating around of 6 slot boards for the triple-channel processors, although some boards will have odd numbers of slots(4 or 5).

    Each channel must be populated with a Dimm for it to function in triple Channel mode. It will work in dual/single channel modes however.
    Reply
  • androticus - Tuesday, June 3, 2008 - link

    I still don't understand how triple channel will work efficiently -- how do you allocate the memory blocks so that all 3 channels will be fully utilized? 2 or 4 I could see how you could easily interleave the allocations (say every 128 bytes or so, or on cache line multiples) but 3 I don't get Reply
  • FireTech - Tuesday, June 3, 2008 - link

    Thanks for the appetizer Gary.
    I'm very interested in your further thoughts on Nehalem, especially with regard to whether this platform is worth saving/waiting for over Intels current offerings?
    Reply
  • Griswold - Tuesday, June 3, 2008 - link

    http://tinyurl.com/56vapn">http://tinyurl.com/56vapn

    If the rumors hold true, time may be the deciding factor for whether or not you want to wait.
    Reply
  • Kobaljov - Tuesday, June 3, 2008 - link

    Smorgusborg? (It's not smorgasbord in english?) Reply
  • overzealot - Wednesday, June 4, 2008 - link

    Borg? Sounds Swedish.....
    ...Definately not Swedish!

    Actually, the funniest thing about the Swedes I've met is how offended they get when they realise we named a vegetable after them.
    Reply
  • kanalje - Tuesday, June 3, 2008 - link

    Yes, the correct spelling is smorgasbord and if you don't believe me you can always check with Merriam-Webster.

    English has only adopted a handful Swedish words in modern times while Swedish is literally swarming with English words so I'll be damned if I'm gonna sit idly by while you trample on my proud people's legacy. :)
    Reply
  • Eri Hyva - Tuesday, June 3, 2008 - link

    Why not write it the way it's supposed to:

    smörgåsbord





    Reply

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