Intel announced Monday that a new chipset for its Pentium 4 microprocessor will allow the speedy chip to utilize cheaper and more widely available SDRAM memory, instead of the RDRAM required by earlier chipsets. The Intel 845 chipset for the Pentium 4 will usher in an era of new sub-$800 personal computers and will likely soon lead to the end of the Celeron and Pentium III product lines. Intel will still offer its 850 chipset as well, which allows the Pentium 4 to work with the faster, but more expensive, RDRAM memory.
"While the Intel 850 platform continues to provide the maximum Pentium 4 processor performance, the Intel 845 broadens the Pentium 4 processor family by delivering support throughout the mainstream market segment for the advanced, and ever-evolving end-user PC usage models," says Louis Burns, Intel's vice president and general manager of the Desktop Platforms Group. "I fully expect that this will become the next high-volume mainstream platform for IT departments worldwide."
Even with the pedestrian SDRAM on board, a Pentium 4 system using the 845 chipset can significantly outperform similar Pentium III systems. The chipset supports a system bus that is three times faster than Pentium III versions, and wider data paths enable much faster access to the 133 MHz SDRAM memory. And AGP4x video card support will enable graphics bandwidth of over 1 GB/second.