This year's CeBIT trade show gave us plenty of new toys and gadgets to drool about, and we managed to get the first glimpse of Intel's latest and greatest core logic chipset, codenamed Bearlake or the '3 Series' as some like to call it. As usual, most manufacturers managed to wriggle their way around the NDA that is still in effect regarding the chipset to display their range of upcoming Bearlake motherboards at the show. Most of the boards we saw were none more than very early engineering samples at the time, but nonetheless complete with specifications and details.
So what are the information that is already known about Bearlake (without going into any NDA specifics that is)? The chipset will be Intel's proper attempt at renewing its entire core logic line up to replace the current mix of 965 and 975 series. From what we can discern, there will be an X38 chipset to replace the Intel 975X Express in the extreme performance segment, the P35 and G35 which will replace the 965 series and at the lower end segment, there will be the G33 to replace the remaining 945 series.
There will not be any socket revisions this time around, so the Bearlake family will still be based on the existing LGA775 socket and will probably support the entire range of current LGA 775 processors as well as the upcoming 45nm Yorkfield and Wolfdale (as long as the boards follow Intel's new power specs which are not quite concrete yet at the moment). Intel will be launching the P35 series first as it will encompass the largest market segment for core logic chipsets, which is where the P965 is currently sitting.
Since the chipset is under NDA, nothing substantial can be disclosed about its proper specifications, but the major changes to the P35 that will be of interest is native 1333MHz Front Side Bus and DDR3 memory support. Thankfully, Intel is unwilling for force a transition at this time and the P35 will include both a DDR2 and DDR3 memory controller. From the motherboard samples we've seen at CeBIT last month, consumers will be able to chose between pure DDR2, pure DDR3 and a mix of DDR2/DDR3. The P35 will also come paired with the the successor to the ICH8 Southbridge - the aptly named ICH9.
NOTE: The motherboards previewed in this article are based on early engineering samples and demo units. Although their features are mostly finalized at this point, specifications and components may change in the final retail versions.
So, while we cannot really write much about the P35, we can give you a closer look at the P35 motherboards that have already made their appearance in CeBIT. In this very special preview, we take a close look at two of their up and coming P35 motherboards. First up, the successor to the popular over-engineered DQ6 series, the P35-DQ6.