Locked In

By Mark Hachman  |  Posted 2004-06-17 Print this article Print

OEMs that wish to ship a Wi-Fi-enabled desktop at the Grantsdale launch next week will likely be forced to purchase their own solution—including the control logic and the corresponding radio—such as an aftermarket, USB-based Wi-Fi device, Snyder said. None of the third-party Wi-Fi radios available on the market can interface to the ICH6W components, he said, meaning that Grantsdale-equipped PCs are essentially locked in to the Intel solution at a chip level. Intels PCI daughter cards will ramp during the third and fourth quarters, he said.
The Linley Groups Wheeler said he believed that the daughter card designed for the Grantsdale/Intel 915 chip set was nothing more than the 802.11b/g PROWireless card found in the Centrino platform. "My understandng is that the wireless LAN chipset is identical," he said.
At press time, the process of someday upgrading a Grantsdale/Intel 915 PC to take advantage of the Wi-Fi functionality remained somewhat of an open question. When asked how the process would work, Intels High said, "Make sure your OEM knows that you have the intention of upgrading, so you have the right SKU." The Grantsdale snafu isnt the first issue Intel has had with Wi-Fi radios. The company shipped third-party radios with its first Centrino mobile platforms. But the Centrino and ICH6W use different control logic, Snyder said, so Intel cant use the Centrino to help it out of the jam. According to Intel, the Grantsdale and Alderwood chip sets will be used as the foundation for a new generation of entertainment PCs, such as the examples Intel president Paul Otellini showed off at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Each of the two chip sets will use PCI Express, a new architecture that will replace the PCI cards used by todays PCs. Intel also will announce six CPUs on Monday—five new models and the redesign of an existing CPU—to take advantage of the new 775-pin socket. Intel will ship the new 2.8GHz Pentium 4 520, the 3.0GHz Pentium 4 530, the 3.2GHz Pentium 4 540, the 3.4GHz Pentium 4 550 and the 3.6GHz Pentium 4 560. All five chips will use an 800MHz front-side bus, contain a megabyte of level-2 cache and use the HyperThreading protocols of the current Pentium 4. A sixth chip, the 3.4GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition, will be redesigned for the 775-pin socket. Some sources agreed with reports predicting that the initial supply of Intels new microprocessors will be constrained, especially for the faster models. But Intels High said volume quantities of the chips will be available at launch, and that it wouldnt be a "paper launch" where shipments show up later in the year. "Were feeling that a fairly reasonable supply will be coming out the door," High said, although he acknowledged that there would be a higher number of the slower microprocessors, as they are easier to fabricate. "Were ready to rock and roll," High added. Intel will disclose the prices for the chips over the weekend. Check out eWEEK.coms Desktop & Notebook Center at http://desktop.eweek.com for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing. Editors Note: This story was updated on June 17 at 4:00 PM PDT to add comments from The Linley Groups Wheeler. Additional comments from Intels High were added at 6:30 PM.


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