Every couple of years Intel releases a new CPU architecture. To go along with the new CPUs a new high-end and a new mainstream motherboard chipset is released to support them. The last iteration of this was the Intel X48 chipset for the enthusiast and the Intel P45 chipset for the mainstream. The LGA-775 interface was common to both platforms as the motherboard chipset required three chips: the Northbridge, the Southbridge, and the Processor.
Intel released the X58 chipset late last year along with their next generation CPU core, Nehalem. This moved the memory controller from the Northbridge to the CPU and introduced a new CPU Socket, the LGA-1366. The new architecture featured the return of Hyper-Threading and Triple Channel memory. The problem with this architecture is that it still required the NB and SB and the CPUs were upwards of $266, not to mention the costs of a new motherboard and memory to go along with it. Today Intel is releasing the mainstream version of the X58 chipset, along with new CPUs to support the new chipset. Intel is releasing the P55 Express chipset and new Core i5 and i7 CPUs, the Core i5 750, the Core i7 870 and the Core i7 860. This marks a fundamental shift in the way the CPU and chipset work together and the Core i7 870 and 750 CPUs are on the review bench. Letís find out if the new chipset has what it takes to hang with the competition from AMD.