Intel broke the 800 MHz barrier last month, and the combination of the i875P chipset and Pentium 4-3.0C processor opened up a whole new avenue for high-end performance. The release was quite inventive, as the actual clock speed of the Pentium 4-3.0C was slightly lower than the previous 3.06 GHz model, but the 800 MHz front-side bus and dual-channel DDR400 memory controller of the i875P provided an extra lift, and made it the high-end platform of choice.
After that impressive introduction, it naturally brings up the question of what Intel can do for an encore. After all, moving higher than 400 MHz on the DDR memory scale brings with it some problems, and Intel has barely scratched the surface of their 800 MHz FSB processors. The next step is not necessarily to offer an improved platform base, but to extend this design to other market segments. Powerful as it may be, i875P motherboards are still relatively expensive and creating a lower-cost version would be a real coup.
That's exactly what Intel has done with their new i865 Springdale line of chipsets, and these take the base specifications of the i875P and transition the technology into the mainstream markets. This is a necessary ingredient to the Intel strategy, especially since AMD and NVIDIA already have a dual-channel DDR, mass-market champion with the Athlon XP/nForce2 platform. Hitting the right price-performance mark is very important, as you may get the press at the high-end, but you make the cash at the mid-range.
Intel has released three different i865-based chipsets, the mid-range i865PE, the entry-level i865P and the integrated i865G. These serve different market needs and include varying features and performance specifications. Each includes standard features such a dual-DDR memory controller, AGP 8X, support for HyperThreading technology, and the CAS (Communication Streaming Architecture) dedicated network bus. These are the basic features shared by the line, but three i865-based chipsets are differentiated based on CPU support, DDR memory speeds, and integrated graphics and features.