It has taken Intel a while to finally release the i845D chipset that now 'officially' brings DDR SDRAM memory support for the Pentium 4. Although Via's DDR Pentium 4 chipset, the P4X266, has been out for a while it wasn't endorsed nor supported by Intel and is topic of an ongoing legal dispute between the two manufacturers. But there's also a third DDR SDRAM chipset available from SiS, the SiS 645, which is fully licensed by Intel, so it looks like the i845D is faced with some stiff competition right from the start.
In reality most manufacturers don't dare using Via's P4X266 chipset as Intel is still in dispute with Via over the bus license and thus there's a very limited number of P4X266 motherboards to be found on the market. As for motherboards based on SiS' 635 chipset those are even harder to come by even though SiS' chipset is fully licensed by Intel, there simply aren't too many manufacturers using this chipset.
Whereas the i845 chipset was launched with a lot of press coverage and a full-blown Intel marketing campaign, the i845D has been introduced with a lot less exposure. One obvious reason could be that most i845 customers will feel pretty awkward if their purchase, made only three months ago, is now already obsolete. Another reason could be that Intel doesn't want to draw too much attention to the chipset, as it doesn't really have an edge in either performance or features over the other DDR Pentium 4 chipsets currently available.
In the next few pages we'll be looking at what the i845D has to offer over the i845 and the competing chipsets from Via and SiS. And naturally we'll try to answer the question whether there's a market for the i845D and whether this new chipset will not unnecessarily further complicate matters for the average consumer, as the Pentium 4 can now be had with SDRAM, DDR SDRAM and RDRAM all featuring on Intel and 3rd party chipsets, confusing to say the least.
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