MSI readies “Bearlake” motherboards
Bearlake is Intel?s upcoming replacement for the current Broadwater 96x series of chipsets and is expected to arrive on May 9th. The main benefits of Bearlake are DDR3 and PCI Express 2.0 support. The vPro series will be named the Q35 and Q33 Express. High end chipsets will be dubbed the Intel X38 and P35 Express names while the mainstream parts will receive the Intel G35 and G33 names.
MSI’s entry features five boards ranging from the P35 Neo Combo to the flagship P35 Diamond. All five boards include Intel’s P35 chipset. Leading the lineup is the P35 Diamond, featuring four DIMM slots with support for DDR3-1066/800 up to 8 GB. Users hesitant to adopt DDR3 memory can go for the DDR2 alternative, the P35 Platinum, featuring four DDR2 DIMM slots. Or if you’re on the fence you can opt for the P35 Platinum Combo featuring four DDR2 and two DDR3 DIMM slots. Like most combo memory supporting motherboards, the P35 Platinum Combo will not function with both types of memory installed. All three high end P35 motherboards feature two physical PCIe x16 slots, one full-speed and the other x4 electrically. Two PCIe x1 and two PCI slots.
For mainstream users MSI is offering the P35 Neo, featuring four DDR2 memory slots and the P35 Combo, which offers two DDR2 and two DDR3 memory slots. MSI packs the mainstream models with one PCIe x16, three PCIe x1 and two PCI slots.
Aside from feature differences, all five P35 Express powered motherboards support LGA775 processors up to 1333 MHz front-side bus. MSI supports all Core architecture processors including Core 2 Extreme, Core 2 Quad, Core 2 Duo, Pentium E2100 and Celeron 400-series. Netburst processors are no longer officially supported, due to Intel no longer validating the processors with its Bearlake chipset family. Nevertheless, MSI will support Intel?s upcoming Penryn family of 45nm processors.
With all those features MSI’s new lineup looks very promising.