Karbosguide.com - Module 2d.06

Intel's i810


The contents:

  • Introduction
  • The Accelerated Hub Architecture
  • The Graphics Memory Controller Hub of 810
  • The AC97
  • Karbo's conclusion
  • Next page
  • Previous page


  • Intro to Intel 810

    With i810, Intel has launched the first chip set of a new generation.

    In late April 1999 the 810 "Whitney" chip set was introduced. This set is new in several aspects.

  • A new type of memory controller with built-in graphics technology.
  • Support for up to 512 MB SDRAM.
  • Built-in audio-codec controller.
  • No ISA bus!

    810 is an inexpensive chip set built on the BX technology. However, the new memory bus will come in other chip sets as well. The built-in audio-codec controller enables software audio and modem implementations. This meens that no sound card or Modem is required. And finally we see the first attempt to produce modern PC's without the old ISA bus.

    Chips in 810

    The chip set consists of three chips:

    82810 Graphics Memory Controller Hub 421 Ball Grid Array (BGA)
    82801 Integrated Controller Hub 241 Ball Grid Array (BGA)
    82802 Firmware Hub 32-pin PLCC or 40-pin TSOP


    The Accelerated Hub Architecture

    Usually we talk about north and south bridges in chip sets. These refer to the two controllers a chip set usually consists of. Intel replaces these terms with "hubs".

    The new thing in this hub architecture is, that the two controllers not are connected by the PCI bus. Instead they connect via a new Interlink dedicated bus. This is a high speed bus, currently with twice the bandwidth of the PCI bus. This architecture resembles the new K7 Athlon point to point channel.

    266 MB/sec

    The interlink bus operates at 133 MHz in 2X mode. Being 64 bit wide this gives a bandwidth of 266 MB/sec (2 X 133.000.000 X 8 byte).

    Hub architecture

    Also see the MCH below.


    Graphics Memory Controller Hub

    The 82810 Graphics Memory Controller Hub (GMCH) is a MCH "north bridge" including a graphics controller and using Direct AGP (integrated AGP, where the graphics controller is directly connected to the system RAM) operating at 100 MHz.

    The 82810 chip features a "Hardware Motion Compensation" to improve soft DVD video and digital video out port for digital flat panel monitors. The graphics controller is a version of Intel's new model 752. Optional, the chip set can be equipped with a display cache of 4MB RAM to be used for "Z-buffering".

    Dynamic Video Memory Technology (D.V.M.T.) is an architecture that offers good performance for the Value PC segment through efficient memory utilization and "Direct AGP". A new improved version of the SMBA (Shared Memory Buffer Architecture)used in earlier chip sets as VX. In the 810 chip set 11 MB system RAM is allocated to be used by the 3D-graphics controller as frame buffer, command buffer and Z-buffer.

    82801 I/O Controller Hub

    This "south bridge", the 82801 (ICH), employs an accelerated hub to give a direct connection from the graphics and memory to the integrated AC97 (Audio-Codec) controller, the IDE controllers, the dual USB ports, and the PCI bus. This promises increased I/O performance.

    82802 Firmware Hub (FWH)

    The 82802 Firmware Hub (FWH) stores system BIOS and video BIOS in a 4 Mbit EEPROM. In addition, the 82802 contains a hardware Random Number Generator (RNG), which (perhaps and in time) will enable better security, stronger encryption, and digital signing in the Internet.

    AC97

    The Integrated Audio-Codec 97 controller enables software audio and modem by using the processor to run sound and modem software. It will require software, but using this you need no modem or soundcard.

    This feature is smart if you do not use audio or modem on a regular basis. It adds a heavy work to the CPU, which has to act as a modem and as a sound card beside its regular tasks.


    Karbo's conclusion

    The 82810 controller represent a new generation of low-priced chip sets. I find these aspects interesting:

    Integration of a powerful graphics accelerator

    The RAMDAC is of 230 MHz giving a max. 2D-resolution of 1280 X 1024 pixels with 24 bit color depth and a refresh rate of 85 Hz. The graphics controller offers 3D acceleration with both DirextX and OpenGL support.

    I found the performance to be quite OK for non-game use. The visual quality of the screen images seemed to match the out put from mid-range graphics adapters from ATI and Matrox. I could live with this graphics without any problems.

    Here you see a dump from the Windows -driver that goes with the chip set:

    Many users will not like that you cannot disable the graphics controller. So for gamers this chip set is no good. It was never really accepted by the motherboard manufactures, nor by the press. However, I liked it ...

    The new support for software-based sound and modem

    Will this work, and what are the consequences going to be?

    No ISA bus. This is good.we shall soon see a lot more USB-based devices. And it will become very easy to built small, inexpensive, and elegant PCs using all the integrated hardware and only connecting external units using the very handy USB cabling.

    100 MHz support

    The 810 chip set is made for Intel Celeron processors. But so far these processors only work with a system bus frequency of 66 MHz. Why does the chip set then support 100 MHz? The obvious reason is that Intel planed to move the Pentium III processors to a Socket 370 platform. And the Celerons comes operating at a 100 MHz bus frequency. This is good news, and it all happened in 2000 and 2001.

    Go for i815E

    After the arrival of i815E in June 2000, that is the chip set to go for. It holds all the nice features from i810 plus a lot of great news.


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    Read about the Pentium in module 3c

    Read about the Pentium II's etc. in module 3e

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