When Intel launched its X38 Express high-end desktop chipset last October, some sources in Taiwan claimed that the product's lifespan could be short, as Intel was rumored to be preparing a newer and badder X48 Express chipset for a launch shortly afterward. However, we heard in December that the X48 might have been postponed until February or March. That claim has proved to be true, and today, DigiTimes reports that Intel has given motherboard makers confirmation that it will launch the X48 Express in the middle of March.
DigiTimes says Intel pushed back the launch a couple of months in order to give enough time for X38 inventory to clear. That's essentially the same story we heard in December, although back then one of the big motherboard makers was said to have lobbied Intel for the delay.
As we already reported, the X48 Express chipset should build upon the X38 by adding support for 1600MHz front-side bus speeds and DDR3-1600 memory. By contrast, the X38 "only" supports a 1333MHz FSB and DDR3-1333 RAM. The X48's 1600MHz FSB support should come in especially handy when Intel releases its Core 2 Extreme QX9700 processor, which should have a matching FSB and a 3.2GHz clock speed. DigiTimes says the QX9700 will become available around the same time as the X48.