Entry to the Core i7 PC club requires the purchase of one of a triumvirate of chips, ranging from £240 to £800, and a motherboard based on the only supporting chipset currently available, X58, which starts at a not-so-tasty £160.
Intel will dilute the Core i7 brand with the introduction of cheaper chips and mainboards later on this year, and the chips currently goes by the code-name of Lynnfield. Interfacing with the chipset via DMI instead of QPI and based on a dual-channel memory-controller architecture, the likely-to-be-named Core i5 will need a new supporting core-logic.
And here it is, courtesy of Jetway and Biostar.
The Intel P55 (Ibex Peak) chipset will provide support for the LGA1156 chips, and you can think of it as a cut-down X58 in most respects.
Vendors are likely to ship boards with two PCIe x16 slots that operate at x8 when in dual-card mode. Support for both CrossFire and SLI should remain intact, of course.
What we hope to see are chips costing <£150 and boards etailing for <£100. Combine that with the steadily-dropping price of DDR3 memory, and Core i5 systems should start cropping up at £599 for a base unit.
Expectations are that the new platform won't ship until Q3 2009, however. Saving up your pennies in expectation? Let us know.