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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Looking Ahead: Future Chipsets & Mobos

The next year will bring new chipsets, sockets, and motherboards

The last year has been fairly static in the chipsets and mobos category; this is about to change—big-time.

The first big release of the year belongs to Intel, and should be available by the time you're reading this. Code-named Grantsdale, Intel's upcoming new chipset is a big move for the PC industry with its support for PCI Express, DDR2, and PCI Express for Graphics, the upcoming replacement for AGP.

Figure 3.17Figure 3.17 BTX is Intel's new specification for motherboard and case design. The goal: increased cooling.

Grantsdale supports both PCI Express—a serial bus that promises much higher data transfer rates—and PCI devices. It also dumps AGP in favor of PCI Express for Graphics. Grantsdale is paired with Intel's new south bridge, the ICH6, which adds a crap-load more USB and Serial ATA ports. The chipset should also support both DDR and DDR2 RAM types.

The biggest shift for Grantsdale, however, is that it features the debut of Intel's High Definition Audio, which integrates high-quality, 7.1, 24-bit sound capabilities onto the motherboard. While you'll still want to use a soundcard in order to avoid the CPU performance hit onboard audio creates, this development means that you won't have to spend megabucks on an add-in card to get rich, vibrant sound.

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