Intel Bearlake Motherboards spotted!
One of our first stops was at Gigabyte and Universal ABIT where they told us about their plans for their upcoming Intel Bearlake motherboards.
(Peter from Universal ABIT getting funky)
With information provided by other online sources and roadmaps seen by TweakTown, during this time we managed to learn quite a lot about Intel's plans for their Bearlake chipset program. The first chipset to be launched using the Bearlake core is the Intel P35. It will be the mainstream motherboard designed to replace the popular Intel P965 chipset and should also be similar in price. It will be sold into retail markets towards the end of May or early June. Being the mainstream chipset it has reduced PCI Express lanes (but will retain a single full-speed x16 slot for graphics cards) and as a result dual graphics technology will not be supported from either AMD Crossfire or nVidia SLI.
(Rockson from Gigabyte posses with the beautiful flower arrangement)
The big thing with the new Bearlake series is native support for 1333MHz FSB (to support Intel's upcoming range of E"50" processors) which will provide a slight boost in performance at relative CPU clock speeds. Although probably the most major point of Bearlake is the fact that it is the first chipset to be released that has support for new DDR-3 system memory as well as a faster memory controller.
Most of the major memory companies have DDR-3 memory ready and it's being validated by Intel currently since Intel are the only people who have the motherboards to test the RAM. From our talks with the Taiwanese motherboard companies, Gigabyte for one will produce a whole range of Bearlake motherboards using only DDR-2, combo DDR-2 and DDR-3 and later DDR-3 only. It will all depend on the market and the production and supply of DDR-3 modules but everything is looking on sum so far from what we have seen and heard.
So we've established that we'll see P35 Bearlake motherboards hit the retail market in the May - June timeframe and we're quite confident that will happen as we already have some Bearlake motherboards in our labs. In early August or in the Q3 timeframe you'll start to see X38 Bearlake motherboards in the market which are designed to replace the high-end Intel 975x chipset. Being the high-end motherboard, it will be more expensive packing more PCI Express lanes (dual full-speed x16 PCI Express slots for graphics) and embedded wireless as well as the new ICH9R chipset which includes more ports and some other new HDD technology (disabling SATA ports remotely over a network) which wasn't disclosed fully to us but keep in mind old PATA IDE ports will not be supported like the ICH8 series Southbridge.