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Chipsets for the Pentium 4

Intel 850

The 850 is Intelís high end solution for the Pentium 4, mainboards based on the 850 chipset cost more and use the more expensive RDRAM memory.† The 850 uses a dual-Rambus channel memory architecture; this requires that you install the RIMM modules in pairs of two. The dual Rambus channel helps the latency issues to be lessened and at the same time doubles the bandwidth of the memory.†

The 850 offers the standard features that Intel's ICH2 hub has to offer, this includes ATA/100 support, an additional USB hub resulting in a total of four USB ports, the implantation of the AC97 audio and 10/100Mpbs LAN. The North Bridge features support for the Pentium 4 processor running at 400MHz Quad Pumped Bus, support for 2GB of RDRAM PC800 memory along with AGP4X.


The Pentium 4 was introduced along with Intelís 850 chipset, not long ago it was the only solution available for the Pentium 4; obligating people to use it without giving them choice to go with an alternative solution.

Intel introduced their 845 chipset earlier this year in order to accommodate their Pentium 4 with a value segment chip which costs less to produce and eliminating the need of using the expensive RDRAM memory.

SDRAM PC133 memory was unfortunately the only choice due their agreement with Rambus stating that Intel was not allowed to produce a non RDRAM chipset supporting a memory subsystem with a bandwidth higher than 1.06/GB/sec until 2002, limiting the 845 only to the less powerful SDRAM PC133 memory. Intelís 845/ SDRAM 1.06GB/s clearly wasnít enough to accommodate the Pentium 4 3.2GB/sec bandwidth, the 845 SDRAM performances was suffering compared to the 850 chip which takes full use of the 3.2GB/s bandwidth.
Intel had everything planned in advance, knowing and releasing that the 845/SDRAM would not be the perfect solution for the Pentium 4 due its memory bandwidth limitation wouldn't be smart, they knew that their competitors were working on DDR solutions that would offer similar chipsets in terms of features but with higher potential from its memory subsystem thanks to DDR memory. Intel was from the beginning designing the 845 to support DDR SDRAM, making the 845/SDRAM a temp solution for the Pentium 4 and giving more time for Intel to continue working on their DDR support for the 845.

The South Bridge of the 845, ICH2, is the same as in the high end 850 chip which supports 4 USB 1.1 ports, ATA/100 support, CNR/AMR slots and a 6 channel ACĒ97 audio along with a LAN interface.

Intelís 845 built on hub architecture is used on the 845 as well. The
North Bridge features support for the Pentium 4 processor running at 400MHz Quad Pumped Bus, supports 3GB of memory for PC133 SDRAM or 2GB of PC1600/PC2100 DDR SDRAM along with AGP4X. Note that as Intel positioned the 845 as a value segment, ECC support is not available on the memory controller.

The 845D (DDR) and 845 (PC133) versions offer the same features; both share the same ICH2 hub. The only difference between the 845D (DDR) and the 845 (SDRAM) is the extra support for DDR SDRAM memory on the 845D.

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