Intel officially announced the release date of the high end chipset named X38 Express being the 23th of September. According to motherboard manufacturers and vendors, mainboards centered on Intel's X38 chipset will be available starting in early September. The date announced by Intel is referring to reviews and performance numbers concerning the new chipset. According to the news site DailyTech
, this situation is similar to the one encountered when the P35 Express mainboard chipset was launched as motherboards were available for sometime before Intel finally decided to officially announce the chipset's release.
The X38 Express chipset is the new top of the line mainboard chipset for the Intel platform and it comes as the continuation of the Bearlake line of products that includes the G33 and the P35 Express chipsets. The older 975X Express chipset is targeted for replacement by the X38 Express as the 975X made its debut along side the Pentium D Presler processors and it shares a number of common elements with the older 945 and 955X Express chipset families.
The Intel X38 Express chipset comes with a number of new features as the introduction of the PCIe 2.0 standard to the LGA 775 based computing platform. The new PCIe standard offers greater data transfer bandwidth than the current PCIe standard as it eliminates the encoding /decoding overhead of the previous standard. The PCIe version 2.0 allows motherboards to reach a total of four gigatransfers per second. As the X38 Express supports dual full-speed PCIe x16 expansion slots, multi graphics cards setups are possible. The chipset surely supports the ATI CrossFire multi-GPU technology and while it may also offer support for NVIDIA's SLI Technology, this is only a rumor.
According to Intel's specifications, the X38 Express chipsets work only with DDR3 memory, but most motherboards manufacturers may include support for DDR2 as well in order to gain a bigger market share. Motherboards equipped with the new Intel chipsets will probably become available in a few weeks and some estimate that an entry level solution will sell for about $200, while higher end models may reach $300.