By offering support for either 66, 100 or 133MHz front side bus on its enhanced 810 chip set, the chip giant has brought a Coppermine upgradable budget board to the masses.
Home-surfers will applaud the move, which gives them the ability to upgrade to 600MHz Pentium III processing without going the expense of buying a flashier BX or the as-yet-unavailable 820 chip set. But by building for a price-conscious audience Intel has opted for integrated graphics, forcing hard-core gamers to opt for more expensive chip sets if they want to upgrade to the latest 3D graphics engines.
"Ultimately we'll fix the problems with the 820, which will become a business, mainstream platform," says an Intel spokesman. "But the 810E is available now, and is a highly integrated, cost-effective board that allows users to upgrade to the very latest Pentium III processors instead of restricting them to the Celeron range."
He adds: "Consumers can take up the 810E system, which does protect an investment in PIII by being processor-upgradable, but users wanting graphics flexibility will have to opt for the 820 or BX chip set coupled with the latest third-party graphics engine.
Palmer said that cost wasn't at the top of the high-end gamer's agenda.
One gamer responded saying: "The 810E appears to be quite competent if you're after value for money. The on-board graphics should prove ample for surfing and your average multimedia apps. Even players of so-called grown-up games such as Civ will be fine, but you wouldn't want to tackle something as rich as Unreal or Quake III without the best graphics you can get your hands on, and that means a 3D card."