Intel Core i7 920, 940 and 965 Processor Review

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The Intel X58 Express Chipset

In order to understand this new platform it is best to look at the motherboard chipsets that are going to be used.

The Intel X58 Express Block Diagram

The Intel X58 Express chipset is the chipset that was designed just for the Intel Core i7 series of processors as they require a new socket. Since the DDR3 memory controller is located inside the processor itself hundreds of new pins had to be added and the result was a larger CPU with more pins.  Intel designed the X58 Express chipset from the ground up for Core i7, but re-used the ICH10/ICH10R southbridge chipset that has been out for several months now.

The Intel X58 Express Block Chipset

Together the Intel X58 Express chipset and the ICH10 Southbridge make up what is certain to be a very solid platform to use on high performance systems.  The Intel ICH10/ICH10R Southbridge was launched with the Intel P45 Express chipset and has already proven itself a winner with some of the best Solid State Drive performance numbers of any chipset on the market.  The X58 Express supports up to 36 lanes of PCI Express 2.0 connectivity, and since many boards using these chipsets will have both NVIDIA SLI and ATI CrossFire enabled it will mean that Triple-SLI and Quad CrossFireX will be easy to implement.  This is due to the fact that NVIDIA is allowing motherboard makers to use a special sBIOS if they pay a licensing fee for SLI Technology. So, finally multi-GPU technology from both graphics card companies can be used on the same board. If that isn’t enough Intel has done away with the Front Side Bus and now has the Quick Path Interconnet to handle the flow of data between the processor and the chipset.  The memory now has over 25.5 GB/s of throughput since it now has a direct connection to the processor. 

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