updated 12:10 pm EDT, Wed June 6, 2007
Intel has taken the wraps off the '3-Series' chipsets (codenamed 'Bearlake'), built to house Core 2 Duo and Quad processors. The new chipsets are also designed to accomodate that 45 nanometer (nm) "Penryn family" processors expected later this year. The company claims that more than 100 motherboard designs based around the chipsets are currently in development. Alongside the 3-Series announcement, Intel announced plans to ship a Core 2 Extreme mobile processor by the third quarter of this year.
The Intel 3-Series chipsets support DDR2 up to 800MHz, or DDR3 memory with data transfer speeds up to 1333 MHz and PCI Express 2.0, which doubles the available bandwidth (to 5Gpbs) for graphics cards and other internal expansion devices.
There are also version of the 3-Series with integrated graphics called the, dubbed G33 and G35 Express, which have built-in HDMI enhancements and Blu-Ray playback capabilities.
Other features for the chipsets include support for up to six external drives Intel High Definition Audio, and "Quiet System Technology" to help enable reduced system noise and heat.
While Intel touts Windows Vista compatibility for these chipsets and the future Core 2 Extreme, they could well make their way into Macs as well. The Core 2 Extreme is based on the Core 2 Duo, which is already used in a number of Macs, and the 3-Series chipset provides drop-in compatibility for both.