Intel's i845 chipset is a complete non-starter according to hardware guru Dr. Tom Pabst and others. The chipset, which allows users to combine the power of Pentium 4 with "normal" SDRAM has flopped completely, demonstrating pathetic office benchmarks and even more abysmal gaming ones. With the price of DDR-RAM so low, why are we even bothering with this, Dr. Tom asks. The i845 chipset, codenamed Brookdale, has been in the works for a long time, and will also support DDR memory in the near future, but thanks to its contractual obligations to Rambus, Intel is unlikely to promote the two together any time soon. Which leaves us with PC133 SDRAM. According to Dr. Tom's benchmarks, the inclusion of SDRAM in a Pentium 4 system helps it to slip right off the pace. In the gruelling Sysmark 2001 benchmark, a Pentium 4 system equipped with Rambus PC800 RDRAM is 7% faster than a machine running SDRAM, and that makes a lot of difference. Even the 1.7GHz Pentium 4 RDRAM system is outpaced by an Athlon 1.4GHz, and the same system with SDRAM cannot muster Athlon 1.2GHz results. Moving on to gaming benchmarks and the results are very similar. The Pentium 4 system with RDRAM really dominates here, demonstrating its extensive use of memory bandwidth, with a DDR-based Athlon 1.4GHz system not far behind. In fact, the Pentium 4 SDRAM system is loitering so far behind here that it almost touches the Pentium III SDRAM results. Up the ante and ask for more of it, and it does brush them. Dr. Tom's verdict? At least until DDR becomes a reality on this platform, "I wouldn't even touch an i845 motherboard." Related Feature - AMD Athlon using DDR SDRAM Review
If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.