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Intel 815 and 815E Chipset

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Intel 815 and 815E Chipset

Introduced in June of 2000, the 815 and 815E chipsets are a mainstream PC chipset with integral video that is also upgradeable via an AGP 4x slot. The 815 chipsets are designed for Slot-1 or Socket-370 processors such as the Celeron or Pentium III. These are the first chipsets from Intel designed to directly support PC133 SDRAM memory, allowing for a more affordable solution than other chipsets using RDRAM memory. Like the other 8xx series chipsets from Intel, the 815 uses hub architecture which provides a 266MB/sec connection between the main chipset components, that does not share the PCI bus like the prior north/south bridge designs.

Although there are two 815 chipsets including the regular 815 and the 815E, the only difference between them is in which I/O Controller Hub is used. When the 82815 Graphic/Memory Controller Hub (GMCH) is combined with the 82801AA I/O Controller Hub (ICH), the result is called the 815 chipset. When the same GMCH is combined with the 82801BA I/O Controller Hub (ICH2), then the result is called the 815E. The ICH2 provides an additional Universal Serial Bus (USB) controller, dual Ultra ATA/100 controllers and support for a LAN/Modem/Sound card via the integrated CNR (Communications and Networking Riser) interface.

Along with the 820E, the ICH2 is most notable for providing ATA/100 support, allowing 100MB/sec drive performance. Of course there are few drives that can really take advantage of this much throughput, but in any case, the chipset won't have a bottleneck here. The other notable feature is having two USB controllers and 4 ports on board. This allows double the USB performance by splitting devices up over the two ports, and can allow up to 4 connections before a hub is required.

Another important feature of the 815 is the integration of a fast Ethernet controller directly into the chipset. The integrated LAN controller works with one of three new physical layer components from Intel and enables three distinct solutions for computer manufacturers. These include:

  • Enhanced 10/100Mbps Ethernet with Alert on LAN technology
  • Basic 10/100Mbps Ethernet
  • 1 Mbps home networking

These physical layer components can be placed directly on the PC motherboard (additional chips) or installed via an adapter that plugs into the Communications and Networking Riser (CNR) slot. The CNR slot and cards allow PC assemblers to build network-ready systems for several different markets.

Although the 815 features essentially the same built-in AGP 2x 3D video that comes with the 810 chipset, the difference is upgradeability. With the 815, the video can be easily upgraded by adding a Graphics Performance Accelerator (GPA) card, or an AGP4X card for maximum 3D graphics and video performance. The GPA card is essentially a high performance video memory card that works in the AGP 4x slot, and which improves the performance of the integrated video by up to 30%. For even more performance, one can install a full 4x AGP card in the AGP 4x slot, which will disable the integrated video. By having the video integrated, very low cost systems with reasonable video performance can be assembled. By later installing either the GPA or a full 4x AGP card, one can improve video performance up to 100% or more.

Another important feature of the 815 chipset is the support of PC133 memory. The 815 will also use PC100 memory if the higher performance type is not available. With the PC133 support, Intel has also officially set a standard for PC133 memory that is higher than most other PC133 memory currently on the market. This will no doubt create some confusion. To meet the Intel PC133 specification, the memory must support what is called 2-2-2 timing. These numbers refer to the number of clock cycles for the following functions to complete:

  • Precharge command to Active command
  • Read command to Data Out
  • Active command to Read Command

Most PC133 memory on the market takes 3 cycles for each of these functions, and would therefore be termed PC133 3-3-3 memory. Note that the faster PC133 2-2-2 can be used in place of the slower 3-3-3 variety, but not the other way around.

As a result of the tighter cycling timing, PC133 2-2-2 offers a lead-off latency of only 30ns (nanoseconds), instead of the 45ns required by PC133 3-3-3. This results in a 34% improvement in initial access.

With the improvements in the 815 chipset, it will likely be a popular chipset for the mainstream PC market that doesn't wish to pay the higher prices for RDRAM memory. The 815 is designed to essentially replace the venerable 440BX chipset.

Tables 1 and 2 provide specific details on each of Intel's chipsets, including the 815 chipset.


Note - Most Intel chipsets are designed as a two-part system, using a North Bridge and a South Bridge component. Often the same South Bridge component can be used with several different North Bridge chipsets.


Table 1.1 Celeron and Pentium II/III Motherboard Chipsets (North/South Bridge architecture)

Chipset

440FX

440LX

440EX

Codename

Natoma

none

none

Date Introduced

May 1996

Aug. 1997

April 1998

Part Numbers

82441FX 82442FX

82443LX

82443EX

Bus Speed

66 MHz

66 MHz

66 MHz

Supported Processors

Pentium II

Pentium II

Celeron

SMP (dual CPUs)

Yes

Yes

No

Memory Types

FPM/EDO/BEDO

FPM/EDO/SDRAM

EDO/SDRAM

Parity

Both

Both

Neither

Maximum Memory

1 GB

1 GB EDO/512 MB SDRAM

256 MB

Memory Banks

4

4

2

PCI Support

2.1

2.1

2.1

AGP Support

No

AGP-2x

AGP-2x

South Bridge

82371SB (PIIX3)

82371AB (PIIX4)

82371EB (PIIX4E)

Table 1.2 Celeron and Pentium II/III Motherboard Chipsets (North/South Bridge architecture) continued...

Chipset

440BX

440GX

450NX

440ZX

Codename

none

none

none

none

Date Introduced

April 1998

June 1998

June '98

November '98

Part Numbers

82443BX

82443GX

82451NX 82452NX 82453NX 82454NX

82443ZX

Bus Speed

66/100 MHz

100 MHz

100 MHz

66/100 MHz1

Supported Processors

Pentium II/III, Celeron

Pentium II/III Xeon

Pentium II/III Xeon

Celeron, Pentium II/III

SMP (dual CPUs)

Yes

Yes

Yes, up to 4

No

Memory Types

SDRAM

SDRAM

FPM/EDO

SDRAM

Parity

Both

Both

Both

Neither

Maximum Memory

1 GB

2 GB

8 GB

256 MB

Memory Banks

4

4

4

2

PCI Support

2.1

2.1

2.1

2.1

AGP Support

AGP-2x

AGP-2x

No

AGP-2x

South Bridge

82371EB (PIIX4E)

82371EB (PIIX4E)

82371EB (PIIX4E)

82371EB (PIIX4E)

Table 2.1 Celeron and Pentium II/III Motherboard Chipsets (Hub architecture)

Chipset

810

810E

8154

815E4

Codename

Whitney

Whitney

Solano

Solano

Date Introduced

April '99

Sept. '99

June '00

June '00

Part Number

82810

82810E

82815

82815

Bus Speed

66/100 MHz

66/100/133 MHz

66/100/133 MHz

66/100/133 MHz

Supported Processors

Celeron, Pentium II/III

Celeron, Pentium II/III

Celeron, Pentium II/III

Celeron, Pentium II/III

SMP (dual CPUs)

No

No

No

No

Memory Types

SDRAM (PC100)

SDRAM (PC100)

SDRAM (PC133)

SDRAM (PC133)

Parity

Neither

Neither

Neither

Neither

Maximum Memory

512 MB

512 MB

512 MB

512 MB

Memory Banks

2

2

3

3

PCI Support

2.2

2.2

2.2

2.2

PCI Speed/Width

33MHz/32-bit

33MHz/32-bit

33MHz/32-bit

33MHz/32-bit

AGP Support

Direct AGP

Direct AGP

AGP 4x

AGP 4x

Integrated Video

AGP 2x2

AGP 2x2

AGP 2x3

AGP 2x3

South Bridge

82801AA/AB (ICH/ICH0)

82801AA(ICH)

82801AA(ICH)

82801BA(ICH2)

Table 2.2 Celeron and Pentium II/III Motherboard Chipsets (Hub architecture) continued...

Chipset

820

820E

840

Codename

Camino

Camino

Carmel

Date Introduced

Nov. '99

June '00

Oct. '99

Part Number

82820

82820

82840

Bus Speed

66/100/133 MHz

66/100/133 MHz

66/100/133 MHz

Supported Processors

Pentium II/III, Celeron

Pentium II/III, Celeron

Pentium II/III Xeon

SMP (dual CPUs)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Memory Types

RDRAM (PC800)

RDRAM (PC800)

RDRAM (PC800)

Parity

Both

Both

Both

Maximum Memory

1 GB

1 GB

4 GB

Memory Banks

2

2

3x2

PCI Support

2.2

2.2

2.2

PCI Speed/Width

33MHz/32-bit

33MHz/32-bit

66MHz/64-bit

AGP Support

AGP 4x

AGP 4x

AGP 4x

Integrated Video

No

No

No

South Bridge

82801AA (ICH)

82801BA(ICH2)

82801AA(ICH)

  1. Note the 440ZX is available in a cheaper 440ZX-66 version, which will only run 66MHz
  2. Note the 810 chipsets have integral AGP 2x 3D video which is NOT upgradeable via an external AGP adapter
  3. Note the 815 chipsets have integral AGP 2x 3D video which IS upgradeable via an APG 4x slot
  4. Note the only difference between the 815 and 815E are in which I/O controller hub (south bridge) is used

SMP = Symmetric Multiprocessing (Dual Processors)
FPM = Fast Page Mode
EDO = Extended Data Out
BEDO = Burst EDO
SDRAM = Synchronous Dynamic RAM
Pburst = Pipeline Burst (Synchronous)
PCI = Peripheral Component Interconnect
AGP = Accelerated Graphics Port
SIO = System I/O
PIIX = PCI ISA IDE Xcelerator
ICH = I/ ICH = I/O Controller Hub


Note - Pentium Pro, Celeron, and Pentium II/III CPUs have their secondary cache integrated into the CPU package. Therefore, cache characteristics for these machines are not dependent on the chipset but are quite dependent on the processor instead.


© Copyright 2002 Pearson Technology Group. All rights reserved.

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