The neglected P4 chipset
Everyone knows that Intel has the largest market share for microprocessor. Even so, Intel doesn't want to just sit around being happy with most of the market - no, it wants all of the market. While we all know that this is almost impossible (and in many legal senses ill-advised if possible), Intel will attempt to do it anyway.
As of right now, the value end of the processor market is well controlled by AMD with its Duron processors. Clock for clock, the Duron line offers better performance than Intel's offerings and at a much lower price point. For the general public there's probably no reason why anyone should be purchasing an i845 based motherboard except for the following reasons:
- You are an IT professional who needs a tried and true platform - Intel
- You gobs of PC133 SDRAM modules left over from a previous machine
- You want absolute stability, even if some performance is sacrificed
- You are determined to stay away from a VIA/AMD platform, yet hate RAMBUS
All these points seem great for current SDR DRAM owners but not so great for those wanting to move to a DDR based platform. Interestingly enough, the i845 chipset already contains the necessary technology to take full advantage of high-bandwidth memory like DDR RAM. Unfortunately though, those wanting to pair up a Pentium 4 with DDR memory will have to reach for VIA's controversial P4X266 chipset. As you may very well have heard, VIA and Intel haven't been too friendly with each other lately. Lawsuit after lawsuit, VIA and Intel threw claims at each other for patent infringement. All these issues were mainly due to the fact that VIA never received Intel's blessing to produce a DDR platform for the Pentium 4.
Intel's plan was to produce a regular PC133/100 SDRAM solution for the Pentium 4 first, and afterwards roll out with a DDR solution. Only then would chipset manufacturers be allowed to produce their own DDR solutions. This is primarily the main reason why VIA was the only company to offer a DDR platform for the Pentium 4 for months.
Although the P4X266 was a hot chip, most motherboard manufacturers insisted on staying away from the solution to avoid Intel's wrath. If you're a tier 1 motherboard manufacturer with strong ties with Intel, jumping on the P4X266 bandwagon would sour that important relationship, as well as disrupt your operations considerably. Thus, the P4X266 was a shining star without gazers and Intel moved forward with SDR-only i845.