A notable absence from Intel's Desktop Chipset Roadmap is the Almador chipset, which you may or may not have heard of as the i830 chipset.  Intel has decided to scrap the chipset in hopes of keeping their roadmap a bit more simple, but more realistically it seems as if Intel is preventing the Pentium III from stealing too much glory from the Pentium 4. 

The Almador (i830) chipset would have given the Pentium III a non-crippled environment to work in, offering essentially the benefits of the i815EP chipset without the 512MB SDRAM limitation.  This would make it a solid offering for workstations and even single processor servers, two areas Intel’s chipsets have been lacking in as of late.  However fears of it stealing too much thunder from the Pentium 4 were most likely contributors to the canning of that chipset. 

It looks like you’ll have to turn to VIA for a faster Pentium III solution with their Apollo Pro 266 (DDR). 

On the Pentium 4 side, you may have heard the name Tehama-E (Tehama being the codename for the i850).  The Tehama-E was supposed to be the Socket-478 variant of the i850 chipset (i850E) however in order to keep things sane on the chipset end of the roadmap Intel has gotten rid of that name.  Instead the i850 chipset will be used on both Socket-423 and Socket-478 boards, much like the BX chipset was used on both Slot-1 and Socket-370 motherboards.

The i850 chipset has another hurdle to overcome.  While the i815E and i815EP can be found in the $30 - $40 range (per unit in 1000 unit packages), the i850 is currently priced at $75.  Even the recently released AMD 760 chipset is only $39 in the same 1000 unit quantities.  It will be towards the end of the first quarter that the i850 will drop in price to close to $50, which is closer to the price of the i840 chipset.  Don’t expect to be able to find i850 boards that are much cheaper than what most i840 boards go for in today’s market (expect a minimum of $200). 

The last chipset we have to discuss from Intel is the Brookdale chipset.  Brookdale will be the first Pentium 4 chipset from Intel with native SDRAM support, unfortunately, according to Intel’s current roadmap, it will come in the third quarter of 2001 and it will only boast PC133 SDRAM support.  According to Intel’s current roadmap, it will be over a year until Brookdale gets DDR SDRAM.  If Intel sticks to this plan you shouldn’t expect DDR SDRAM support from an Intel chipset for the Pentium 4 until the first quarter of 2002.

Chipsets Final Words
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