According to some Intel slides posted on non-English website HKPEC, both PATA support and AC ’97 audio will not be supported by the ICH8 South Bridge chip. Of course today’s ICH7 supports both PATA and SATA, and for a little while longer it would seem they should continue that.
There are a ton of people out there who have upgraded their motherboards and still have parallel ATA drives that they probably spent a lot of money on. It may be that by the time they look to upgrade to a moherboard that has an ICH8 South Bridge, that they will need or want to upgrade to a SATA drive at the same time. However, it just seems that keeping the PATA support would be an easy way to keep users happy until the point that SATA is the dominant drive. New purchases may already be dominated by SATA (and should be), but unless there is some compelling reason, be it speed or cost, then it would have been nice if they have kept up the PATA support for one more iteration.
Posted by Jeff