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Intel to kill P chipset in January

Sources in the Swindon area are telling us that Intel’s had enough of the ‘P’ chipset for Sandy Bridge and will be canning it around January – just in time for the launch of Ivy Bridge.

The launch of the new ‘Z’ chipset was a bit of a surprise. With the P67 working ‘fine, thank you very much’ anyway, the market was uncertain as to the usefulness of a new chipset.

While Gigabyte made a lot of early noise about a strong move to ‘Z’, it was Asrock that first delivered the goods – with something of a pre-launch. Product from MSI and Asus is now widely available and enthusiasts seem OK with the small price delta – because it brings some additional features.

So now that we know that Intel will no longer ‘P’ after 2011, what can we expect in the chip-giant’s line-up?

Well, it all seems pretty straightforward.

Entry level boards will continue to be known as ‘H’, the ability to get a boost on graphics (and do some overclocking) stays with the ‘Z’ chipset and – finally – the ‘X’ range will continue to provide the high-end thrill seekers with something to spend £200 on.

Significance?  We’re not sure really, but one thing is for certain. For the first time in a VERY long time, Intel in actively engaged in some ‘re-action’ to AMD – rather than it always being the other way around.

First there was the push to include a major new feature like DX11 inside Ivy Bridge. Secondly, there was the move to create a co-operative bridge between Intel’s integrated offering and any graphics card that’s added in – sometimes with a boost of up to 30% (according to Intel). Lastly, Intel’s sales and marketing gurus (driven by Paul Otellini) are considering a price move on 2600k, if need be, to counter the 8-core FX version of Bulldozer. Interesting times.

The last time AMD launched a serious performance part – Intel simply loaded an existing chip with a heap of fast cache and, effectively, kept the lead in the CPU Cold War Arms Race.

Preparing for action - Peter Sellers (Dr Strangelove) and Paul Otellini (Intel)

KitGuru says: We wonder how many more good ideas Intel might thing are worth a look at?

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