Intel may be struggling a bit with its processors right now, but the company smacked one out of the park with the introduction of its 900-series chipsets. These new core logic wonders introduced a whole raft of novel features to the PC platform, including enhancements for expansion, storage, audio, graphics, and memory.
The competition has been scrambling to keep up, but a funny thing happened on the way to Pentium 4 chipset nirvana. Suddenly, for the first time, at least three different chipset makers decided to push toward completion of an AMD-oriented product before taking the plunge on the Intel side of things. The prospect of competing head to head with Intel's impressive new core logic was no doubt a part of their motivation, but they were probably also tempted by the Athlon 64's incredible performance advantage over the Pentium 4, as well. It's safe to say that the best Athlon 64 chipset will also be the highest performance PC platform available, bar none.
The race between the major chipset players to produce that first AMD chipset with PCI Express has been dramatic. Who knew that ATI would be the first to deliver a fully working reference board for an extended testing session? And who knew that ATI's Athlon 64 chipset with PCI Express would also pack an integrated DirectX9 Radeon graphics core? Say hello to the Radeon Xpress 200 chipset, ATI's surprisingly solid first stab at the AMD core logic market.