The Granite Bay is Here
The most awaited chipset is here - Intel's Granite Bay. The Granite Bay is actually Intel's high-end chipset made for the enterprise segment and it's not for the mass consumer market. However, motherboard manufacturers will make this chipset widely available, thanks to the demands of power users.
Gigabyte is one of these manufacturers who will bring the Granite Bay to the consumer with the GA-8INXP. The GA-8INXP motherboard is not just another product for the Pentium 4 platform. You will see later that Gigabyte has innovatively designed and added a few more interesting features that would surely attract the power user.
The Granite Bay is Intel's first chipset to support the AGP 8X standard. We all know that AGP 8X will double the bandwidth and it should give you a slight boost in graphics performance. Currently, the only chipset that supports AGP 8X on the Pentium 4 platform is SiS 648.
In addition to AGP 8X, the Granite Bay comes with two memory controllers. Similar to the 850E, the chipset will support two DDR memory channels. This effectively doubles the memory bandwidth - giving you up to 4.2GB/s. That is equivalent to the bandwidth offered by PC1066 RDRAM. While the 850E will give you the same performance, what's offered by the Granite Bay is the attractive price-performance of DDR266 memory. Since DDR memory is now very affordable, it makes sense for users to go for DDR266 instead of PC1066 RDRAM.
Here's a quick look at the specifications of the GA-8INXP :-
Intel® E7205 MCH support Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor at 3.06GHz or above with HT technology
Dual Channel DDR 266 memory support
D.P.S. (Dual Power System)
IDE RAID (0,1) or ATA-133 support through Promise Technology's PDC20276 controller
Dual Cooling System
Silicon Image Serial ATA
Intel® Kenai 32 Gigabit network connection
6 USB 2.0 ports
6-Channel AC97 audio CODEC
5 x PCI 2.2 compliant slots
ATX form factor