Intel Chip Set Supports Hyperthreading

Chip maker announces four desktop chip sets that bolster the performance of PCs.

Intel Corp. today announced four desktop chip sets designed to bolster the performance of PCs featuring its Pentium 4 and Celeron microprocessors.

Intel, based in Santa Clara, Calif., is the worlds largest supplier of chip sets, a key PC component that enables the transfer of data between the microprocessor and other system components, such as memory.

Among the various enhancements, the chip sets released today--the upgraded 850E and the new 845GE, 845PE and 845GV--will support hyperthreading technology that will be first introduced in the Pentium line with the release of a 3.06GHz version of the chip this quarter.

Hyperthreading, a technology developed by Intel that can boost PC performance by up to 30 percent by enabling a single chip to work like two virtual chips, is currently offered only in Intel Xeon processors designed for workstations and servers.

The upgraded 850E, Intels top chip set designed for use with the companys fastest processors, now supports dual-channel 1,066MHz Rambus dynamic RAM, the fastest RDRAM technology available. Earlier versions of the 850E supported dual-channel 800MHz RDRAM. The chip set also offers a 533MHz system bus.

The chip set is targeted at power PC users, such as gamers and those involved in digital film and music editing and encoding.

The new 845 chip sets offer six integrated USB 2.0 ports, enabling high-speed data transfers 40 times faster than todays commonly used USB 1.1. The new chip sets also come with enhanced AC 97 audio implementation with dual independent DMA audio engines for improved sound quality, as well as new audio usage models.

The Intel 845GE chip set includes an increased 266MHz graphics clock speed for its Intel Extreme Graphics engine, and either a 533MHz or 400MHz system bus (depending on the processor), as well as support for 333MHz double data rate (DDR) SDRAM. The Intel 845PE offers support for 333MHz DDR SDRAM. And the 845GV offers support for 266MHz DDR SDRAM with either a 533MHz or 400MHz system bus.

The new chip sets are priced at $40 for the 850E, $37 for the 845GE, $34 for the 845PE and $28 for the 845GV. Prices are based on 1,000-unit shipments.