Intel has now started it transition from 478 to 775. This is going to be a lengthy process. With the transition of 423 to 478, the graphics and memory systems were able to remain the same - now it's a totally different ball game.
If you are thinking of the new I9xx series as your next upgrade, you are simply going to have to trash the main components in your current system such as CPU, and graphics card, as your DDR memory won't work on the I925X (some I915 based motherboards will give you the option to use DDR) and the AGP graphics port is simply not supported.
I915 is going to be the mainstream chipset of choice for the transition phase, why? I915 not only has its own graphics onboard for the mainstream market, it also supports DDR-2 and DDR memory standards. This will make the price of a 775 system somewhat cheaper as you will only need a new CPU and PCI Express graphics card. Already nVidia has its PCX series of the NV35 GPU available and the new GeForce 6800GT will soon make its debut on the market, while ATI already is shipping its X800 GPU with PCI Express support.
We were expecting a much higher performance gap with the I925, as it is supposed to be the new I875P chipset with performance advantages over the I915. However, at this stage, it is only equal to the I915, making the need for I925X a mute argument, at least for the moment.
On the whole, we have only seen but a glimpse of the future and what is capable with Intel's latest platform changes. We have already seen manufacturers releasing their press documents of their upcoming motherboards based on the new chipsets supporting multiple features and with Celeron D soon to debut on the 775 platform, we will soon have more than a choice of platforms for our Pentium 4's.
In summary, if you're looking at upgrading from Canterwood or Springdale systems to receive major performance increases, you will be wasting your time at this stage. DDR-2 and PCI Express graphics will not be taken advantage of properly for a little while yet. On the other hand, Intel has introduced some brilliant new features to its newest platform, such as HD Audio, which might make the big upgrade change path more feasible to some consumers.
The choice is yours.
Editor's Note: Stay tuned as we will be publishing a bunch of articles regarding Intel's new platform over the next month or two.