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  Daily Column, September 26th 
  Sep 26, 2001, 10:00am EDT 
By: Sander Sassen

Guess you already saw the new article we just posted, about Intelís new i845 chipset. Although I realize that the launch was two weeks ago, September 10th to be exact, and we couldíve posted the article back then we were actually hoping to get some more performance out of the platform with a new driver set and some changes in BIOS settings, hence the delay. Unfortunately that meant we had to redo all of the benchmarks as the new drivers clearly boosted performance for the i845 platform. Unfortunately they provided an even bigger boost for the i850 platform thus further distancing it from the i845.

Although I expected the i845 to be much less of a performer than the i850 I didnít think Intel would go ahead and still launch it as a SDRAM only solution. I mean, judging from its performance it is even slower than a Pentium III in most cases and it would have been a good decision on their part to give the user the option to either go with DDR or SDRAM. By the looks of the performance offered by Viaís P4X266 the i845 should do pretty well teamed up with DDR SDRAM, at least a lot better than with the current SDRAM solution.

The i845 reminds me of the cacheless Celeron, that also failed to impress anyone, as it was just a castrated Pentium II. The i845 is similar, it takes away all the things needed to make the Pentium 4 a competitive solution against AMDís Athlon. Furthermore if this is Intelís answer to the low-cost market they will have a hard time selling these motherboards as AMDís Duron will run circles around the i845 Pentium 4 platform, at lower cost. I canít see why anyone would opt for a i845 platform especially since 3rd party chipsets from Via and SiS are just starting to appear on the market. For example SiSís 650 chipset boasts PC2700 DDR support and has integrated graphics, in my opinion youíre better off with that for a low-cost integrated solution than the i845 as it will offer better performance and has upgrade potential, unlike the i845.

Okay, Iíll stop blaming Intel for releasing a bad product, as Iím sure sales will be pretty good in the OEM market. Just be very careful when you order a Pentium 4 from Dell, Compaq or HP, make absolutely sure it does NOT have an i845 motherboard.

Sander Sassen


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