Partners for Prescott: Part 2: Determining Which of Intel's New 9xx-Series Chipsets Is Right for You
Intel 925X Express Chipset
The 925X Express chipset, code-named Alderwood before its release, is the top-of-the-line 9xx-series chipset, offering the most advanced features of the series. Its major features include:
Support for 800MHz front-side-bus Pentium 4 processors, including the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition
Dual-channel DDR2 memory running at 533MHz or 400MHz
Enhanced processor cache support*
Multiple integrated DDR2 system memory clocks*
Interleaved mode memory addressing for faster real-world performance (requires equal amounts of memory in both memory channels)*
Optional ECC (error-correcting memory) support for mission-critical applications*
PCI-Express x16 video card slot
Support for Intel 64-bit extensions (Intel EMT64 Technology) used in future Intel processors*
Other features as specified by the ICH6 I/O Controller Hub used (see Part 1 of this series for details)
*Features exclusive to the 925X
The 925X's enhanced memory controller is designed to provide faster performance than that offered by other 9xx-series chipsets, or by previous Intel chipsets. Although current benchmarks don't show a big difference between the 925X and the mainstream 915P, it's likely that faster processor speeds and memory speeds in the future may demonstrate that the differences are more than theoretical.
By supporting EMT64 Technology and ECC memory, the 925X is suitable for use in both high-performance desktop and workstation applications.
Intel motherboards using this chipset include:
Intel Desktop Board D925XBC (microATX, two PCI slots, one each PCI-Express x16 and x1) http://developer.intel.com/design/motherbd/bc/index.htm
Intel Desktop Board D925XCV (ATX, four PCI slots, one PCI-Express x16 and two PCI-Express x1) http://developer.intel.com/design/motherbd/cv/index.htm
Already, 925X-based motherboards are also available from Abit http://www.abit-usa.com, ASUS http://usa.asus.com, Foxconn http://www.foxconnchannel.com, GigaByte http://www.giga-byte.com, and Micro-Star International http://www.msicomputer.com. Other vendors are likely to adopt this chipset in short order.
Some of these motherboards use various third-party chips to add features not included in the base 925X chipset configuration, such as IEEE 1394a (FireWire 400) ports and IEEE 02.11g (Wi-Fi Wireless-G) support among others. Some third-party motherboards support overclocking better than others; vendors have discovered how to beat the latest Intel anti-overclocking features.