Intel's 915G and 925X Express chipsets

Intel remakes the PC platform

YOU MAY BE aware that Intel is introducing a new PC expansion spec called PCI Express, designed to replace the not-so-gracefully-aging PCI bus and its prodigal son, AGP. This move has been planned for some time now and needed for even longer. PCI is older than the hills and slower than Jessica Simpson counting her change. What you may not know is that Intel was not content just to replace the PCI bus. Instead, the company has undertaken to freshen up nearly the entire PC platform, with new specifications for everything from memory to storage, graphics, power, enclosures, cooling, processor sockets, and audio.

The intent of these wide, sweeping changes is clear: to inflict as much pain on the industry as possible in the shortest time window.

Err, sorry.

What I meant to say was that Intel clearly intends to clean up the last vestiges of the circa-1990s PC platform at once, weeding out weaknesses and pulling open bottlenecks. We've tested the whole shebang, from the Intel 915 and 925X Express chipsets to new processors including the Pentium 4 model 560 at 3.6GHz. We've tested PCI Express graphics cards from ATI and NVIDIA, and we've benchmarked Maxtor's impressive new MaXLine III Serial ATA hard drives with support for Native Command Queuing. Read on to learn more about what each of these changes means for you and to see how this first wave of next-generation PC hardware performs.

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