A number of sources in Taiwan have confirmed today that Intel's next generation Lynnfield CPUs and P55 motherboards will arrive in stores on 1st September.
Shipping to the channel from the Chinese factories will start in August (it takes 30 days to get stock in stores), with mass production commencing from the start of July. The sources also confirmed that first samples of the boards will be available in late July.
P45, a year old this month, is set to be end of life when Lynnfield arrives, but LGA775 motherboards will continue to be built into 2010 with either the G41 or P43 chipsets.
Interestingly, or, unfortunately, we were told the bill of materials (BOM) for P55 boards is higher than current P45 boards, despite the fact that P45 is a two chip solution. Our sources said that although "P55" is really just "ICH10.5" (a term thrown around a lot in Taiwan) as it's simply just a southbridge with DMI link to the CPU, Intel is selling it at the same cost as both P45 and ICH10R together.
Couple that with the fact that Lynnfield CPUs are also expected to cost more than their LGA775 alternatives and Intel is effectively intending to leverage its performance advantage heavily. Where is the much needed competition as a price control?
P55 motherboards will cost between as much as the more expensive P45 boards now to low to medium range X58 boards - anywhere between £125 and £200 was the range of prices we were given. However, it's worth noting that this is a huge range at this stage since most motherboard manufacturers were not willing to reveal every product in their line ups to us.
Most manufacturers were still unsure on how to proceed with "two" P55 motherboards - one with video ports and one without - which makes any potential socket cross-compatibility worthless. That is if there is any, since we were told there would not be. This means Intel has no less than four sockets for different SKUs.
Another interesting note is that pre-4 Series chipsets will not get WHQL certification for Windows 7 - those investing in G31/Q31 boards will be shunned by Microsoft for not having the performance and not including a digital port (DVI/HDMI) as standard. For this, Intel pushed manufacturers to rely on an external TMDS from other companies like Silicon Image for DVI output capabilities.
It will be interesting to see how it pans out in the long term - will Intel capitalise with a performance advantage alone? Or will AMD's latest Phenom II products dominate the value sector or even provide a competitive alternative at a set price? Let us know your thoughts in the forums