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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Motherboard and System Devices | System Chipset and Controllers | Popular Chipsets | Sixth Generation (Pentium Pro / Pentium II Class) Chipsets ]
Intel 440FX ("Natoma")
The vast majority of current Pentium Pro motherboards use the 440FX chipset, which was offered as more of a "mainstream" replacement for the 450KX Orion. Feature-wise it is similar to the Pentium 430HX "Triton II" chipset, offering improved performance over the Orion at a lower cost. It does not, however, match the special capabilities of the 450GX chipset, making the latter still preferred for very-high-end applications.
Intel has really taken its time in coming up with a replacement for the 440FX chipset, which is starting to get a bit long in the tooth. (I guess having no viable competition will let that sort of thing happen...) Still, it is an adequate performer, and it formed the basis for the first Pentium II motherboards. The biggest weakness of the 440FX is that it does not incorporate the latest technologies--the 440FX has been around a while! This means in particular no support for Ultra DMA or SDRAM memory (which isn't really as big of a disadvantage as many people seem to think.) With the newer, Pentium-II-specific 440LX chipset now mainstream, few new Pentium II machines are being produced using the 440FX.
Next: Intel 440LX