As many of you know, it has been quite some time since Intel launched a desktop chipset targeted squarely at power users and PC enthusiasts. Of course, the P965 and current P35 have both been very well received by motherboard manufactures and the enthusiast community, but these chipsets were actually designed for the upper-mainstream space. In fact, the 975X Express, which launched almost two years ago, was the last desktop chipset Intel specifically marketed for enthusiasts.
With today’s launch, however, the Intel desktop chipset line-up gets a new flagship. To lay the foundation for the upcoming arrival of Intel’s 45nm dual- and quad-core processors, the company is officially introducing the X38 chipset. The X38 takes all of the things that have made the P35 a success and adds a flew of new features designed to increase memory and graphics subsystem performance.
To test the new X38 chipset, we obtained a pair of enthusiast class motherboards, the Asus P5E3 Deluxe and the Gigabyte X38-DQ6. The Asus P5E3 Deluxe is an ultra high-end motherboard that supports DDR3 memory, 802.11n wireless networking, and it even features an embedded Linux-based operating system that can be loaded in a matter of seconds. The Gigabyte X38-DQ6 is also a high-end offering, but it supports more affordable DDR2 memory.