Hardware for the summer - autumn 1999
i810: a too economic (?) chipset
We are before the whole paradox: the Intel 810 probably is the most innovative chipset of last years, and nevertheless it turns out to be very little advisable for almost all the publics. Why? Let's see it.
With this chipset Intel it inaugurates his technology "Accelerated Hub Architecture" (AHA), which consists of opening specific channels for the devices to communicate with the CPU or the memory, without having to happen for the bus PCI as it was done till now.
Despite the big advance that he supposed in his epoch, the bus PCI has remained short for some uses, like for example the transmission of video 3D. One of the solutions to this problem has been the bus AGP, which works of form independent from the PCI and destined for a specific use, the transmission of video. Generalizing this concept, Intel presents now AHA to us, with bands much major than 133 MB/s of the veteran PCI.
In particular, we meet the double, 266 MB/s, for the devices of entry / exit (I/O) and 800 MB/s for the video thanks to "Direct AGP" or integrated AGP (opposite to 533 MB/s of the AGP 2x). Also, we have the possibility of using UltraDMA66 for the communication with the hard disk, allowing 66 MB/s opposite to 33 MB/s of UltraDMA33 (if the hard disk is UltraDMA66, skylight).
All these numbers look like a marvel; well, there are a marvel. Where is the problem then? The principal problem is that i810 an integrated video checker incorporates, something that would be good if it was not for two motives:
Another aspect in which i810 it is very peculiar is the memory. Although it is a question of a chipset conceived with a view to his use with the Celeron, which work with a 66 MHz bus, the memory must be necessary PC100, because it is used also like video memory. This is not bad, because the 66 MHz memory scarcely is already, although it makes almost forced to have a minimal quantity of 64 MB memory. Another solution would be to use the version i810-DC100 of the chipset, which includes support for 4 MB of "cache memory of video" integrated to the badge... although then the supposed saving turns out to be very questioned, since videocards exist based in i740 for less than 6.000 pts... and with 8 MB of memory of video. Be as it is, the important thing is not to remain short as for memory, as it indicates the following picture (courteousness of Intel):
To end with the innovations that it introduces i810, we have two new expansion grooves: AMR and PTI. AMR means "Audio - modem Riser", and it is a small groove (4 scarce cm) that serves to connect sound cards or modems of the type "software" that is to say, devices that do not have the whole necessary circuitry to work and that fulfill it by means of calculations realized by the processor. Since we have commented other times, these devices are not very advisable, since the saving is done at the cost of not being able to realize scarcely multitask, for example. But if we want to save even in this, since not at all...
As for the PTI, "PanelLink TV-Out Interface", serves to install another small card that it provides gone out for TV or for digital flat screen. This can be something very interesting for some persons and very little for others, as; in any case, to connect the most expensive flat screen to an "economic" chipset as i810 it does not seem very logical.
And in addition, the basic badges with chipset i810 tend to economize in expansion grooves: almost none has grooves ISA (which is not very serious, but it would not be bad either that they had one) and the majority only has 3 ó 4 grooves PCI (what is more problematic). As for memory grooves, only 2 DIMM, although fortunately he supports up to 512 MB.
Summing up: i810 looks like a chipset with a very interesting technology, which begins to lose for an excessive emulation to economize, as it demonstrates the fact that versions exist without video cache memory and even without support of UltraDMA66. But it is not necessary to worry, soon his older brother will come...