With Intel's Core micro architecture pushing its way through the IT forest, Intel has created a beast which can't be fed; but one thing is certain, Intel is really trying these days! - Since the Core 2 introduction on the desktop, we have seen at least seven chipsets come from Intel alone which are allocated to different market segments. We have the P965 and G965 chipsets which started off the big rush. G33 and G31, P35 and X38 chipsets stemmed from there, along with even more coming thereafter including the G35 chipset. Intel has a huge line-up of chipsets now available, and whatever you're looking for Intel seem to have covered all bases.
X38 has been the most recent chipset introduction; Intel and quite a few of its partners have been working on putting a lot of new features into the X38 including specialised memory module support for extreme overclocking, PCI Express 2.0 support for the PCI Express lanes running off the X38 Northbridge and also Dual PCI Express x16 slots which make use of all their lanes for full throttle Crossfire, something that only AMD/ATI has done with the Crossfire 3200 chipset.
While the X38 on paper looked the goods, it has one major flaw; its overclocking is hampered by its extreme power usage and heat dissipation properties. The X48 chipset uses its own IHS or Integrated Heat Spreader just like the Core 2 CPU has on top of its die, this is used to aid the transfer of heat to the Northbridge cooler, giving it a larger surface area.
Today we have a look at the Intel X48 chipset for the first time. While it has a new name, things haven't changed; in fact, X48 is essentially an X38 chipset that has been hand picked to run higher clock speeds and to support the 1600MHz FSB CPU when Intel finally releases it sometime this year.
We have our first X48 board in hand from GIGABYTE; dubbed the X48-DQ6 it packs in some mighty features including a new heat and voltage management technology. Let's see how it all comes together.