Pentium 4/Pentium D
Core 2 (up to 1066 MHz FSB)
|Socket supported||Socket AM2
|Release date(s)||March 1, 2006|
|Predecessor||Radeon Xpress 200/
Radeon Xpress 1600
|Successor||AMD 580 chipset series|
The Radeon Xpress chipset was designed by ATI to enter the realm of the desktop arena, especially the AMD Socket 939 platform where ATI's rival, nVidia, had a clear market advantage. The Xpress 200 was launched with the Crossfire edition of the chipset considered as the high end of the chipset. However, rolling delays with the Crossfire Master Cards forced ATI to launch the Socket 939 platform whilst the Intel platform was scrapped due to time constraints. Reviews painted the Xpress 200 Crossfire as a board that could match nVidia's nForce 4 SLI. With the release of the nForce 4 16x SLI, ATI changed strategy and announced the RD580 chipset.
The RD580 was no different with the Xpress 200 chipset with the exception of the 40 PCI Express lanes within the Northbridge. It was claimed by ATI that having 2 chipsets with 20 PCI Express lanes would slow down data transfers when the chipset is working with multi-GPU configurations. Having just all the PCI Express lanes within the Northbridge claimed to be more efficient and less bottlenecking as compared to the nForce 4 16x SLI. The RD580 was called the Radeon Xpress 3200 and was released on March 1, 2006. Supposedly, the chipset is also configured for the new Socket AM2 and of such, many motherboard manufacturers have decided to skip the Socket 939 RD580 and began R&D on the Socket AM2 RD580. [ASUS M2R32-MVP]
With the launch of the Socket AM2, ATI also announced the release of their SB600 southbridge which was to be compatible with the RD580 northbridge. Originally, the SB450/SB460 was highly flawed in the USB design and lacking in cutting edge features as compared to nVidia's counterpart which resulted in low sales. The ULi 1575 Southbridge was the other preferred Southbridge until nVidia took over ULI. As a result, high expectations was placed on ATI to design a Southbridge that was on-par or greater than the ULI 1575. As reference boards for Socket AM2 trickled out, many sites commented that ATI now had an even footing against nVidia with great improvement in the SB600.
Currently, it is rumoured that the final Intel based chipset (the "RD600") is a variant of the RD580 but contains the memory controller in the Northbridge and support for 3 PCI Express x16 slots.
As of the final acquisition of ATI, AMD has current moved to rename all ATI chipsets for the AMD platform. The Xpress 3200 Crossfire chipsets for AMD platform (Socket AM2) have been renamed as the AMD 580X Crossfire chipset.
The Xpress 3200 chipset for Intel platform is under the "RD600" codename, supporting Intel LGA 775 CPUs, such as Core 2 Duo, and the support for multi-GPU configuration, as CrossFire, to run two or more PCI-E graphics cards in 2 physical PCI-E x16 slots.
The RD600 has undergone delays over the months, it was originally expected to be released in Q2'06. As ATI was officially merged with AMD on the October 25, 2006, it is being more unclear that ATI will offer more chipsets supporting Intel CPUs. Since RD600 was delayed, it was reported that some of the motherboard manufacturer have dropped plans to produce motherboards using RD600 chipset. However, the first motherboard using the chipset will be produced by DFI and the first retail product was scheduled for release December, 2006 , named as "DFI LanParty UT ICFX3200 - TR2/G" . As of January, there are now actual products of "DFI LanParty UT ICFX3200 - TR2/G" on sale in some places such as Hong Kong and Singapore.
As the NDA rapidly approached, some popular overclocking sites such as XtremeSystems and VR-Zone started posting teasers for the soon to be released "DFI LanParty UT ICFX3200 - TR2/G". However, a big surprise was the revelation that the RD600 was based on a version of the RD480 or the Xpress 1600 chipset. One popular reason for this was that the RD480 was also designed for an Intel platform but constant delays and revision issues caused the Intel RD480 to become the RD600.