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Pentium 4 finds harmony with Dual Channel DDR

Today Intel will announce its E7205 codename Granite Bay chipset for the Pentium 4 platform. The main highlight in the newest product to come out of Santa Clara is its Dual Channel DDR-266 memory controller, bringing the maximum theoretical system bandwidth up to 4.2GB/s compared to only 2.1GB/s of its single channel PC2100 DDR predecessor. Follow Cameron "Mr.Tweak" Wilmot has he gives us his thoughts on the subject!
@camwilmot
Cameron Wilmot
Published Sat, Nov 16 2002 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:25 PM CDT
Manufacturer: none

Granite Bay - Introduction

IntroductionPentium 4 finds harmony with Granite Bay Dual Channel DDR... at least on paper, we think.The move to Dual Channel DDR technology by processor giant Intel was inevitable as ties between Intel and the RAMBUS company wind up, which many months ago had Intel Corp sell a certain number of RDRAM pieces in what was one of IT's most talked about legal agreements ever shaking the industry up quite a bit at the time.Today Intel will announce its E7205 codename Granite Bay chipset for the Pentium 4 platform. The main highlight in the newest product to come out of Santa Clara is its Dual Channel DDR-266 memory controller, bringing the maximum theoretical system bandwidth up to 4.2GB/s compared to only 2.1GB/s of its single channel PC2100 DDR predecessor - not that it takes a mathematician to figure that out. But in all seriousness, this important figure is in-line with what the adventurous RAMBUS company has been able to provide the industry for the past year or more, without the added expensive of its ambitious RDRAM products.Unfortunately we were not supplied with a reference sample motherboard based on the E7205 from Intel, which would have enabled us to provide you with our usual set of benchmarking results. Fortunately for us though, Amos Lee from Gigabyte Technology provided us with some documentation and pictures of their brand new Granite Bay based 8INXP motherboard (pictured below) which the Taiwanese motherboard company is also introducing today themselves.
Feature-packed 8INXP in all its glory

Granite Bay - Initial Thoughts

Before we begin
E7205 codename Granite Bay chipset courtesy (with permission) OC Workbench
Let me first make it clear to you all that we do not yet have a Granite Bay motherboard in our labs for testing. The information you find in this article is based purely on documentation curtsey of Gigabyte Technology. We wanted to provide you, our readers, with a little bit of coverage on Intel's latest release today by means of our initial thoughts and opinions.Now we've got that sorted, let's continue on...- Hyper-Threading, an obvious inclusionAs well as being the first retail chipset available on the market to support Dual Channel DDR-266 memory, the Granite Bay chipset supports Hyper-Threading (HT) technology which is found in all Pentium 4 3.06GHz processors and above - and possibly even slower Northwood based processors as hinted by several tech sites over the past few days, such as VR-Zone Hardware.In the most basic of terms, HT makes a dual processor compatible Operating System actually think the system has two physical processors when in fact the technology breaks the single processor into two logical processors. Our results showed roughly a 20% increase in performance compared to when HT was disabled. For more information on HT, you can read a detailed description over at X-Bit Labs.- Intel 82801 ICH4
Intel 82801 ICH4 chipset courtesy (with permission) OC Workbench
Coupled with its new ICH4 (pictured above), the Granite Bay includes support for FSB 533/400MHz, AGP 8x, ATA133 and USB 2.0.

Granite Bay - Initial Thoughts Continued

Granite Bay Chipset - Initial Thoughts Continued- Gigabyte's packed out 8INXP moboAs well as the hybrid features listed on the previous page, Gigabyte's 8INXP motherboard includes support for ATA133 RAID through a Promise controller, Serial ATA150 through a Silicon Image controller, onboard Gigabit networking through the Kenai chip from Intel, 6-Channel AC'97 audio and 6 x PCI 2.2 compliant slots for maximum upgradeability - some of which you can see below in Gigabyte's future advertising poster below.
Gigabyte advertisement on 8INXP
As you can see, Gigabyte are really positioning this motherboard as a strong feature packed product which one could safely surmise tends to suggest the market for the Granite Bay is going to be a fierce one among all motherboard companies fighting for their share of your hard earned dollars, well at least more than usual.With such a wide spectrum of features, it's quite hard to classify which sector the 8INXP and other Granite Bay based motherboards will fit into - high end desktop or low end workstation and server. That is the question on our minds right now.- First down fall, and maybe a secondThe only down fall we can note so far is the need to have two separate sticks of DDR memory due to its dual channel setup - go figure. This shouldn't prove to be much of a hassle for users looking at buying a new computer system.Although, for those of us upgrading from older 845x, VIA P4X or SiS 648 based motherboards with only a single stick of memory, you will need to purchase another before you can take advantage of the new technology - making the upgrade a little more expensive than one might have originally thought.The next possible down fall (if you can call it that...) we hazard to question is if the Granite Bay will be able to provide Dual Channel DDR-333 support - officially or not, one way or another. If it does, it will be mean super fast bandwidth of up to 5.4GB/s for the Pentium 4 platform and an incredible 6.4GB/s in the case of not yet JEDEC certified PC3200 memory. Only time will tell on this front, though it never hurts to tempt the imagination, right?

Granite Bay - Conclusion

ConclusionThere you have it. End users can now truly harness the power of the Pentium 4 processor with the E7205 chipset that is able to provide the bandwidth required, through inexpensive and readily available DDR-RAM, that the processor platform and industry has been hungry for since its inception to the market last year.On paper, Dual Channel DDR-266 certainly looks fantastic and is bound to do wonders for parts of the industry not-so inclined in the idea on usage of RDRAM solutions. However, with that being said, it remains to be seen if it will result in any tangible real world performance gain in every day computing at this time, but we suspect it should...Rest assured we will answer this question for you later this week in our usual suite of benchmarks when our 8INXP motherboard arrives in our labs direct from our friends at Gigabyte Technology.If you have any questions or opinions regarding this article, please direct them to the Motherboards section of our forums.

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Cameron founded TweakTown in 1999 after it originally started off as his personal homepage. Cameron was once, many years ago, the only person at TweakTown producing content, but nowadays, he spends his time ensuring TweakTown operates at its best in his senior management role.

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