Now that Intel's fledgling i820 chipset is widely available, motherboard manufacturers have started releasing their next-generation fleets based on the new technologies Intel has brought to the card table. These technologies, which we would have seen months ago if it wasn't for the show-stopping RDRAM bug, include AGP 4x, a 133 MHz FSB, hub architecture, DMA/66 and the controversial RDRAM. With the intention of speeding up the transfer of data and eliminating the bottlenecks present on the 440BX chipset, Intel's i820 sounds great on paper. However, it also runs a premium price tag.
Prepared for the i820 release, ASUS has entered the i820 race with all cylinders firing. Today we'll be looking at their RDRAM-equipped P3C-E and comparing it to what you'd expect from a comparably equipped 440BX or Athlon system.
After almost two years, the 440BX chipset is still going strong (that translates into about 150 human years!). Showing no sign of slowdown, the only way Intel will be able to streamline the move from 440BX to i820 is to put the geriatric 440BX out of its misery. What's stopping them, you may ask? One main issue is Rambus' expensive RDRAM technology. Let's take a closer look at RDRAM and some of the other new features supported by the P3C-E.