ATI launches new Pentium 4 chipset

The other shoe dropped at CeBit today, as ATI launched its Radeon Xpress 200 chipset for the Pentium 4. This product is more or less the same thing as the Athlon 64 version of the Radeon Xpress 200, save for the obvious modifications to support the Pentium 4. Those changes include the addition of a memory controller and a front-side bus for talking to Pentium 4 processors. The Radeon Xpress 200 can handle front-size bus speeds up to 1066MHz, and its memory controller is a dual-channel unit with support for both DDR and DDR2 memory, the latter at speeds up to 667MHz. ATI says the chipset is ready for dual-core processors and 64-bit computing.

Of course, the big news with this ATI chipset is its built-in DirectX 9-class graphics core. ATI will likely be pushing these chipsets as the perfect basis for a media center PC. Motherboard partners signed up to make boards (or at least listed prominently on the ATI presentation) include Gigabyte, MSI, Shuttle, ECS, FIC, Tul, Jetway, and Sapphire. At least some of those board makers are likely to pair up the Radeon Xpress 200 north bridge with ULi's compatible south bridge, rather than ATI's own first attempt at a south bridge.

Not to be outdone, NVIDIA is making noise about the showing of its own nForce4 SLI chipset for the Pentium 4 at CeBit. That product seems to be everywhere, but it's not officially announced yet. Soon, I expect.

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