As AMD rolls out its new 780-series integrated graphics chipsets, Intel is revisiting the high end and is rumored to be preparing another top-of-the-line enthusiast chipset. According to DigiTimes, motherboard manufacturers have already begun shipments of motherboards based on a new Intel X48 Express chipset, and the products are close to hitting the retail market.
First-tier mobo makers like Asus and Gigabyte are among those shipping out X48 boards. Both firms have kicked off shipments in small volumes this week, DigiTimes says, and mass shipments are expected to follow in the middle of the month. Based on the rumors we heard last year, the X48 Express will build upon the X38 Express by introducing support for 1600MHz front-side bus speeds and DDR3-1600 memory. The X38, for reference, supports only 1333MHz FSBs and DDR3-1333 RAM.
Once the X48 is out the door, DigiTimes says Intel will follow up in the second quarter of this year with a P45 Express chipset. We haven't heard much about this offering, although its name suggests that it will succeed the existing P35 in the mid-range market. Word also got out last December that the P45 will have support for AMD CrossFire X multi-GPU setups.