Hardware's next wave: more, better, faster

Intel is scrambling to correct its mistakes and catch up with competitors like AMD and Via in its processor and chipset markets. The 800MHz Pentium III chips Intel promised before the first of the year are still quite scarce, but Intel is prepping a major new stepping of the chips, The Register reports. The change is intended to help with yields of higher-speed chips, it seems. Also on the agenda: a new revision of the 820 chipset. The new 820 rev will reportedly support both Rambus memory and SDRAM on the same board, at the same time. There's also a new stepping of the 820's memory hub included--perhaps performance with SDRAM will finally match up with Intel's old BX chipset.

Meanwhile, the rest of the industry is moving forward with other plans. AMD and Via are both looking to hit 266MHz bus speeds with their chipsets soon, with DDR SDRAM and ATA-100 interfaces helping to make all of our current PCs morbidly obsolete.

AMD is also getting ready to unleash SMP-capable Athlon chipsets, and their 770 chipset is going to be a real beast:

One technology Huff indicated that AMD might license is its Lightning Data Transport bus, the isochronous bus designed for future multiprocessor systems, including the AMD-770. In a dual-processor system, the LDT will be used to connect the north and south bridges at up to 3.2 Gbytes/s. In an eight-way system using a different, forthcoming chipset, two Athlons will each connect to a north bridge, which in turn will be connected to each other via an LDT bus. Additional LDT links will be used to transmit data throughout the server.
All of that bandwith will have to be fed by some kind of exotic memory technology. If it ain't Rambus, it might be the next spin of DDR SDRAM, DDR-II, which "could produce bandwidth as high as 600 Mbits/s per pin," according to the EE Times.

(Thanks to Hardware One for pointing out some of these news bits.)

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