815 & 815E to the rescue

While we didn't see many 820/820E based motherboards, we did see quite a few 815 and 815E based motherboards on the show floor. The 815 and 815E chipset (the difference between the two being that the 815E uses the new ICH2) was announced at Computex on the 5th alongside the 820E but you won't see an official launch until June 19th. We will have a review of the chipset on the 19th in addition to a roundup of motherboards based on the 815 and the 815E that week.

As far as features are concerned, the 815 chipset basically has all of the features of 810E chipset (133MHz FSB, SDRAM support, etc...) with a couple of exceptions. In addition to featuring an integrated video core the 815/815E does boast support for an external AGP 4X connector meaning that you can use an AGP video card and disable the integrated video which was one of the major downsides to the i810E. The 815E, with its ICH2, becomes even more feature filled as it adds ATA 100 support, an additional USB controller and one of the best features, an integrated Intel 82559 10/100 LAN controller.

The integrated LAN controller will make adding onboard Ethernet very easy for a motherboard manufacturer, basically all they have to do is provide an external chip which consumes very little PCB space and the proper connector. The integrated LAN also supports HomePNA (1Mbps) so some manufacturers may choose to put an RJ11 (telephone jack) connector on their motherboards instead of the regular RJ45 LAN connector. If a motherboard manufacturer does not wish to take advantage of the integrated LAN controller they can simply outfit the board with a CNR slot (also supported by ICH2) which will allow for a relatively inexpensive riser card outfitted with either an RJ11 or RJ45 connector to be used for much less than the cost of a regular PCI 10/100 Ethernet card.

Just about every motherboard manufacturer we talked to stated that they were hoping the i815 and 815E would succeed. Otherwise Intel would be quite angry that pretty much their entire line of motherboards would shift over to VIA's stronghold.

820E where were you? VIA owned the show

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