Tainted Intel chipset gets new lease of life

Chip giant ends the i820 misery with the launch of Camino-2

Intel has launched the i820E chipset, the successor to its troubled i820.

Codenamed Camino-2, the new chip has much enhanced input-output capabilities, using the same ICH2 module as found in the i815E and providing the same four-port USB connectivity integrated Ethernet controller and management, six-channel Dolby surround sound audio and two Ultra ATA-100 hard disk interfaces.

The chip only works directly with Rambus RD-RAM, and will support two Rambus RIMM slots. Although it, like its ancestor the 820, is supposed to support the cheaper and slower SDRAM, the Memory Translator Hub (MTH) component required has a serious bug in it and won't be fixed until later this year.

While the i820E continues Intel's approach of integrating ever more and ever faster interface functions into low-cost chipsets, the lack of alternative memory support will probably keep manufacturer demand at a low level for now.

The four-port USB system is perhaps the most generally useful addition: ATA-100 disk interfaces currently comfortably outpace most disks, so the i820E's over-provision here is of most interest to those running Raid systems.

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