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Intel P35 "Bearlake" Chipset Performance Preview

By: Cameron Johnson | Intel Chipsets in CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Posted: Mar 13, 2007 4:00 am

Bearlake Chipset Details


Unfortunately due to the nature of NDA's we haven't been able to get any direct answers or info on the chipsets from Intel themselves but rather info we have accumulated from Intel roadmaps and media briefings that we had in the past, such as the following.



Additionally we are not allowed to publish any photos of our testing P35 Bearlake motherboard but we do have some photos of a P35 motherboard for your reference.



Memory Controller Hubs (MCH)


Intel's Bearlake chipset family consists of six different versions using 65nm manufacturing process technology (compared to 110nm of 975x and 90nm of P965), all containing a "3" in the name. Each is capable of supporting all existing Intel processors as well as upcoming Socket 775 Yorkfield - Quad Core and Wolfdale - Dual Core (for sale Q4 and Q1 2008) processors using 45nm manufacturing technology and total L2 cache up to 12MB. With the exception of G35, they all support new DDR-3 memory technology and officially support 1333MHz FSB.


Bearlake-X will be known as the X38 chipset and it will be Intel's premium high-end chipset designed to replace the 975X chipset. The main advantage of this chipset is that it features two full-speed PCI Express x16 slots for Dual Graphics and they will be new version 2.0 slots supporting up to 5Gbps bandwidth. It's not clear if Crossfire and/or SLI will be supported yet, however, ATI/AMD have already stated they plan to open Crossfire up to any platform - it is more than likely if it doesn't get SLI support, Crossfire should work just fine. DDR3-1333 memory is also supported however it does not support DDR-2 memory modules at this stage. While this may seem rather hasty to remove DDR-2 support, this chip will not see the market until late in Q3 of 2007 and DDR-3 will be on the market then in good quantities.


Coming down the list we now hit the Bearlake-P which will be the desktop mainstream chipset known as the P35 and it is what we are testing here today. It officially features just a single full-speed PCI Express x16 slot but you may see motherboard companies adding in a second PCI Express x 16 slot depending on their configuration but they'll likely only operate electronically at x2 or x4 (such as the ECS P35T-A). To handle migration to DDR-3 memory, Intel has included a DDR-2 and DDR-3 memory controller into the P35 chipset. You can use either one but not both at the same time. Depending on what motherboard manufacturers want to use, you may see boards with two DDR-2 slots and two DDR-3 slots or just one or the other - it all depends on how they want to configure.


Intel hasn't moved away from the integrated graphics for its value-end desktop chipset, Bearlake-G or G33 as its known. It will feature the same DDR-2 and DDR-3 memory controller setup as P35 which is limited to a final DDR-3 memory speed of 1066MHz DDR. It also features Intel's Clearview Video technology supporting full DX9 feature set. No word on performance numbers just yet.


To manage Vista Premium support the Bearlake-G+ will come into the line in Q3 which will feature a new graphics core with hardware DX10 support for running Vista Aero Desktop and gaining Premium support. Only DDR2-800Mhz will be supported and will probably end up being coupled with older ICH8R Southbridges, most likely ICH8DH. Again, no word on performance numbers as yet.


Lastly Intel has a couple more chipsets labelled Q33 and Q35. These chipsets will be vPRO supporting chipsets. There is no details of any changes to the onboard graphics systems but will be positioned with the DH Southbridge.

Intel Core™2 Extreme QX6700, 2.66 GHz (BX80562QX6700) Processor


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