Computex 2008 - Part 8


Intel Launches Series-4 Chipsets and G45 Imminent

Intel Launches Series-4 Chipsets and G45 Imminent

Intel's Series-4 Chipset Launch at Computex 2008 marks yet again another year where the start of the tradeshow marks an important onset to a new series.

Here's a slide to give you a quick rundown of what the Intel P45 brings to the table. For Intel, the strategy is to try an propagate some of the technologies on the high-end, to be made available to the mainstream segment as well, leaving the X48 for real enthusiast users only for the very best certification like 1600MHz FSB, 1600MHz DDR3, and dual PCIe x16 interfaces. Another highlight for the P45 and the new Series-4 is that they are using the 65nm process technology versus 90nm for the older chipsets.

The new Series-4 chipsets will also support Intel's initiative for performance tweaking known as Intel Extreme Tuning Utility. It's some sort of simple, user-friendly reporting and overclocking tool - which we can't help but compare against NVIDIA's more comprehensive nTune utility.

The Intel Turbo Memory Dashboard is yet another Series-4 chipsets only tool for performance optimization.

The Intel G45 chipsets uses a new graphics engine with significant enhancements to handling HD videos and a an updated unified execution core that's slated to provide two to three times the current G965/G35 chipsets. Although we've seen driver and compatibility issues to fully unleash the potential of the former chipsets, the Intel product managers we spoke to assured us that this won't be the case of the G45 and we should see boards with this chipset by next month.

This slide from Intel is the G45's graphics architecture. Note that the three most common HD video CODECs each have their own dedicated decode pipelines and all stages of decode are performed on the IGP. As such, this should be an interesting challenge with AMD's and NVIDIA's own IGP offerings.

Intel had setup a demo to showcase the visual performance/quality difference between their G45 platform versus a traditional system with a dedicated NVIDIA graphics card. On playback of a Blu-ray movie, we couldn't tell the difference, which is a good thing. Physically, the G45 platform can be made far smaller as seen here.

In fact, the system was using an ITX G45 motherboard.

The power consumption difference of both systems was impressive. Obviously, the power meter on the left belong to the Intel G45 platform. These power readings are taken while the system is running a Blu-ray disc. The traditional system with a dedicated GPU draws almost double the power.