In a case of great timing, it seems that the ICH8 doesn't have IDE ports, and, well, there is a distinct lack of S-ATA optical drives out there. Now let me see, where have I heard that before? Ah yes, now I recall. Talk about timing.
One source tells us that Intel is roping Marvell into 'welding' a SATA/PATA PCI controller to the south bridge, something that is taking a lot of custom engineering. The problem is that the current version, the fifth, still won't boot a Linux or Windows install CD. Oops. In the irony of all ironies, Intel has to resort to using the Plextor SATA DVD drive to install an OS.
OK, funny as this is, in a "look at the stupid kid that jumped off a building and landed on his face" kind of way, there is a deeper lesson here. I keep ranting about how Intel screws their partners, and it bites them in the ass, and this is a prime example. If i965s are broken, then where do you turn? Via? Sis? ATI? NV? Hmm, the door was shut on them for the high end a while ago, and they certainly won't have parts ready for launch. Who does Intel turn to? That leaves, oh listen, you can hear crickets chirp on such a clear night.
Basically, there is no plan B anymore, and as AMD has pointed out with painful clarity recently, Intel stumbles on occasion when under duress. With no parts in the bank, tight timetables, and a gutted partner programme, when you slip, the only thing you get is knives in the back. The i965, fine chip though it may be, coupled with Conroe, fine chip though it is, would be a lot better off if it had a friend. µ
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