Karbosguide.com - Module 2d.13a

Intel i815E "Solano"


The contents:

  • Introduction
  • The chips in i815
  • The features
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  • Intro to Intel 815

    The Intel 815/815E chipsets from June 2000 are great products. After all the troublesome affairs with i820 it seemed that Intel finally was back in the chip set business.

    Intel i815/815E is an update of the succesfull 810 chip set. It holds an integrated graphics adapter as well as a lot of new functions. It is intended to replace the workhorse BX chip set, which is to be phased out late in 2000. In i815 Intel finally supports PC133 RAM!

    The only thing I do not understand is why Intel come up with two flavours of the chip set. The i815E is the only one, they should sell. Why market both a fine and a lousy product?


    The chips in i815

    The chip set is designed using the same hub-based layout as the former i810 and i820 chip sets.

    As in i810 we find a memory controlling hub with integrated graphics (GMCH:"Graphics and AGP Memory Controller Hub") and an I/O-hub (the ICH2):

  • 82815 (GMCH)544 Ball Grid Array (BGA)
  • 82801BA (ICH2)360 Enhanced Ball Grid Array (EBGA)

    The ICH2 is a chip also used in the I820E chipset. Here you see the two chips:


    The features

    The main idea with the 82815 Graphics and AGP Memory Controller Hub (GMCH) is to give an rather inexpensive motherboard with integrated graphics and high power memory management. The ICH2 on the other hand is fully updated with the lates improvements forming a sophisticated I/O hub. Totally we see:

  • Integrated VGA graphics
  • Up to 512 MB of PC100 or PC133 SDRAM
  • Asynchronous FSB
  • ATA/100 interface
  • Dual USB root hub

    The graphics part

    We have not tested the chip set. However we were (contrary to many others) very pleased with the 2D graphics performance of the i810 chipset. It works very well, and we expect the same to be the case with this chip set.

    One big improvement has been made compared to the i810; you can choose to disable the graphics engine and install your own adapter in the AGP slot. The chip set also supports TV out and digital out for flat panels:

    You may choose to upgrade the integrated graphics by adding more RAM using a AIMM (AGP Inline Memory Module). However, do not expect to do 3D-gaming using the integrated graphics of i815. Tests shows that high-end graphics boards work at 6-8 times speedier than this one!

    The enhanced 82801BA I/O Controller Hub (ICH2)

    This chips is also found in the i820E chipset. It delivers twice the I/O bandwidth as traditional bridge architecture, using an interlink connection to the GMCH chip as in i810.

    The two USB controllers double the bandwidth to 2.4 MBps across four USB ports.

    AC97 audio supports full surround sound with up to 6 channels and a soft modem implementation.

    The integrated LAN is used for three networking environments (1Mbps, 10/100Mbps LAN and managed 10/100Mbps LAN). This means that we do not need an ethernet adapter, it is all in the chipset!s

    ATA/100 is a great new interface giving a noticeable improvement to disk performance if the disk is build to ATA/100. Otherwise the interface is fully downwards compatible.


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