Intel has been very busy over the last two years, first off trying to do some major damage control over its Netburst architecture. From the very beginning critisism was rather high due to the 1.4GHz Pentium 4 processor being slower in just about all benchmarks compared to AMD's Athlon range. Even worse, the pre-gen Pentium 3 1GHz processor was able to blow the Pentium 4 away in gaming situations, only leaving media applications as the strong point for the Netburst architecture.
Despite this, Intel kept on going with the Netburst design. Northwood was simply the best of the bad processor line. Overclocking improved, cache sizes increased and bus speeds also jumped up. Soon after, we started to see the introduction of Dual Channel DDR memory, allowing the Pentium 4 processor to get a huge memory bandwidth boost.
Dual Core and 64-bit architecture eventually came to Netburst. While Intel was first to bring Dual Core, it was well behind AMD in terms of its 64-bit architecture adoption. Despite all the problems Intel kept on the Netburst bandwagon, not only was the performance of Netburst brought into question compared to the AMD Athlon 64 processor, but the amount of energy used and wasted on Netburst also came up. With these CPUs drawing up to 130 watts of energy on the core alone (compared to around 70 watts AMD's chips were on the same 90nm process), Intel had to finally admit that Netburst was simply not going to cut it.
Core Architecture was finally brought to bare on AMD. As the next generation of CPU design, the new-generation chips were based on what was learnt from the highly successful Pentium-M processor, along with combining some of the better aspects of Netburst into the fray, Core architecture was unleashed. As such, Intel has now made a huge headway. Core architecture based CPU's run cooler, perform better and simply work faster than their Netburst counterparts. Not only this, when compared to AMD Athlon 64 based processors, Core 2 is also able to keep the power usage down whilst beating AMD's highest clocked CPUs with its better performance per clock.
To this end, new chipsets have come to the air of the Core 2 desktop platform. First there was the P965, the best chipset Intel has released in ages. It overclocked extremely well and supported DDR2-800 memory technology. Now with DDR-3 hitting the shelves, Intel has its next generation of hybrid chipsets out which are designed to bridge the DDR-2 to DDR-3 platform gap (similar to how i915 supported both DDR and DDR-2 memory on a single chip, depending on what you want to use).
We have looked at the mainstream version of the bridge chipset, the P35 has proven to be a very powerful performer. Today we are looking at the first of the value chipsets with Intel's latest integrated graphics core, the G33. ECS has provided us with their latest G33 motherboard to test.