Pentium 4-based PCs will get a performance boost next week when Intel begins shipping its 875 chipset, formerly known by the code name Canterwood. The new chipset revs up the highest speed of the front-side bus used with Pentium 4 chips from 533MHz to 800MHz.
Intel has scheduled a press conference in Taipei on April 15 to announce the new chipset.
Chipsets are a key component in PCs, where they are used to connect the processor to the main memory and to provide an interface with other PC components, including the graphics card and hard-disk drives.
To coincide with the launch of the 875, Intel also plans to release a version of its 3GHz Pentium 4 chip that will support the faster bus speed. Additional Pentium 4 processors that support the 800MHz front-side bus supported by the 875 are expected to be released in the near future.
Currently, the fastest front-side bus speed supported by the Pentium 4 runs at 533MHz. A 400MHz front-side bus, which was supported by the earliest Pentium 4 models, is also available. The increase in speed to 800MHz will result in increased overall system performance for PCs with the 875 chipset.
The 875 is the first of two chipsets that Intel will unveil that supports the 800MHz front-side bus. A second chipset, known by the code name Springdale, is expected to ship in May, according to motherboard makers. In addition to support for the faster front-side bus, Springdale incorporates a revamped architecture that Intel says will boost the performance of Gigabit Ethernet networking performance.
Engineering samples of 2.6GHz and 2.8GHz Pentium 4 processors that support the new 800MHz front-side bus, both yet to be announced by Intel, were displayed this week in at least one shop in Tokyo's Akihabara electronics district. Staff at the shop, Jyanpara, were unable to provide any more information on the chips, including an anticipated launch date and price.
The chips had been obtained by the shop from one of its customers, a staff member said.