Much has been written and discussed over the past few months with regards to Intel's upcoming platform known as the Alderwood and Grantsdale. While we all know these new platforms will represent a significant change in how PC hardware will evolve in the next few years, we think it's a big step forward for the PC industry as they strive to bring better features and performance to the desktop platform.
The new Grantsdale and Alderwood chipsets will feature a couple of new technologies. Most significantly, users will begin to see the implementation of a new peripheral bus technology known as PCI Express. PCI Express significantly reduces the pin-count of traditional PCI bus while further increasing its bandwidth to support the next generation of products. On the other side of the fence, these platforms will also include the support for the next generation memory specification, known as DDR2. Though DDR2 employs the same technology as DDR1, it now operates at a much lower voltage and at a higher frequency. DDR2 promises more memory bandwidth for the CPU as well as the additional headroom to scale up to greater frequencies.
Alderwood is the codename for the new Intel 925X Express chipset which targets the high-end gamers and power users. The chipset is tuned for performance and it's very much the successor to the Canterwood chipset. On the other hand, Grantsdale is the codename for the Intel 915 Express chipset family. Targeted at the mainstream and corporate platform, Grantsdale is designed for stability, flexibility and improved productivity and security. Similar to the previous Springdale chipsets, there are two main versions for Grantsdale, Intel 915P Express and Intel 915G Express. The 'G' suffix indicates an integrated graphics core while the 'P' suffix is for those who prefer to use their own discrete graphics solution.
Besides PCI Express and DDR2, these new platforms will also feature new technologies such as Intel High Definition Audio (Azalia), LGA775 CPU socket, Intel Matrix Storage Technology, Intel Wireless Connect Technology, Intel Flex Memory Technology and Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900.
Join us, as we explore and discuss these new platforms and their technologies in the next few pages. We also have a full suite of juicy benchmarks based on the new Alderwood platform with the latest Intel Pentium 4 Processor 560. How does it compare with the Canterwood? Are there any performance benefits and is the upgrade worth your investment? These basic questions will be answered in this detailed review.