Motherboard makers are wasting no time pumping out products built around Intel's new H57 and H55 Express chipsets, and that includes EVGA, who just announced three new boards built around the new platform.
Both the H55 (123-CD-E635-KR) and H57 (123-CD-E637-KR) are full sized ATX mobos and both come with four DDR3 slots supporting up to 16GB of memory running at 1333MHz+. So what exactly separates the two? The H57 comes with a whopping 14 USB ports and two PCI-E x1 slots, while the H55 boasts a still impressive 12 USB 2.0 ports and one PCI-E x16 slot.
Finally, there's the H55-V (111-CD-E630-TR) mATX board. This one also comes with four DDR3 slots and features 12 USB ports. No Firewire or IDE connector, though.
Both the H55 and H55-V are available now for $170 and $100, respectively. No word yet on price or availability for the H57.
Coinciding with the launch of Intel's next-gen 32nm Clarkdale processors and H55 chipset, Biostar this week announced three new boards built around the freshly minted platform, including the TH55 XE, TH55 HD, and TH55B HD.
The TH55 XE stands out as a mATX mobo designed with a "stylish black PCB" in a segment typically neglected in the aesthetics department. Biostar says it serves up support for Clarkdale Core i5/i3/Pentium 45/32nm series chips. It also comes with all solid caps, a 7-phase CPU power supply, and a Japan made PSE capacitor for better heat dissipation.
Other features include four memory slots with support for dual-channel DDR3-2000, a single PCI-E x16 slot, PCI-E x1, two PCI slots, 8-channel audio, and HDMI.
The TH55 HD also shares the same mATX form factor and black PCB design, though memory support tops out at DDR3-1800. Same deal with the TH55B HD, except it also drops down to a 5-phase power design.
In the days leading up to CES, EVGA's big attraction has been photo'd, spec'd, and drooled over. After all, it's hard not to salivate at the prospect of running two LGA 1366 processors on a single motherboard, but there's even more here to lust over.
EVGA's server hybrid board also comes equipped with no less than seven PCI-E x16 slots, all decked out in red. Naturally, the board also supports both USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s. But unlike your standard-fare LGA 1366 mobo, EVGA's dual-slot monster includes 12 DDR3 memory slots (that's six for each processor) and two NF200 SLI bridge chips.
Having been finalized for awhile now, the USB 3.0 spec has lost some of the glitz and glamor that accompany new technology announcements, but it's not all old news just yet. On the contrary, Gigabyte has taken to thumping its chest over its GA-P55A-UD3 becoming "the world's first motherboard to pass USB-IF (Universal Serial Bus-Implementers Forum) certification," paving the way for the company to plaster the SuperSpeed USB logo on its product.
Gigabyte claims its GA-P55A-UD3 "underwent strict compliance and product quality testing from the USB-IF" before receiving its certification. The mobo maker also said several other models with onboard USB 3.0 are currently being tested and are expected to pass certification within the next couple of weeks.
In addition to onboard USB 3.0, the GA-P55A-UD3 also boasts SATA 6Gb/s support, a 2-ounce copper PCB leading to lower temps and better power efficiency, DDR3-2000+ support, CrossFireX support, and several other features.
When it comes to hardcore overclocking, we can remember a time when it used to be DFI, and then everyone else. Those days seem like a distant memory now, and as of late, rumors have begun popping up writing the motherboard maker's obituary. Just stop it, says DFI, who insists it's here to stay.
According to Fudzilla, who had a chat with DFI, the mobo maker is still getting caught off guard by the recent rumors, even though this isn't the first time such rumors have surfaced. The speculation is so far out there, says DFI, that the notion of closing shop has never even been brought up within the company.
DFI contends it's currently focused on new products and BIOS updates, including bringing support for Intel's upcoming 6-core Gulftown chips on its X58-based motherboards. DFI is also busy promoting its Hybrid P45/Nvidia Ion mobo, as well as more motherboards in its Lanparty MI (Mini ITX) series.
Not everyone needs a rocking socket 1366 platform crammed with high-end parts and prepped for Intel's upcoming 6-core Gulftown chips, and even the more affordable (and mainstream) socket 1156 might be too much. Budget conscious shoppers not looking to push the envelope instead turn to IGP solutions, but if you're planning a build based on Intel's G41 chipset, you may want to hop off the fence and make it happen.
Wait too long and you may find that mobo of choice is out of stock. That's because supplies of Intel's G41 chipsets are falling short, a situation sources from motherboard makers say is due to insufficient capacity at the company's 8-inch Fab and a turnaround in orders by mobo makers.
In somewhat of an attempt to play hardball, motherboard manufacturers tried to push demand for Intel's G31 chipset, a part that costs about $4-5 less than G41. The idea was to force Intel to maintain its output of the older chipset, but Intel has held firm on transitioning to G41, causing mobo makers to place orders for the newer part.
The sudden turnaround, sources say, has resulted in a surge in demand that Intel's maximum supply volume simply can't keep up with.
Much ado about nothing? Perhaps. Intel says the situation is typical of a product transition and that it is working closely with customers to satisfy demand.
I had a problem with the speed on my Intel motherboard so I went into the BIOS and reset the RAM speed to 800MHz. On restart, I got three beeps, which signals a RAM failure or RAM not recognized on my board. Is there a way to reload the BIOS? I have tried resetting the CMOS by pulling out the battery but I still get three beeps with no POST. I even used the ISO method to create a BIOS disk image for a boot-from-disk, but the board still does the same thing.
I get nothing. No HDD light, no monitor. I even pulled the RAM and replaced it, and still nothing. The system is only six weeks old and it’s built on an Intel DQ963FX, Pentium E2200, Nvidia 9400 GT, 4GB of Kingston 1GB DIMMs, and a 650 watt power supply.
Most of you know ASRock as the brand name behind budget-oriented boards, some of which pack a lot of value for the money. And that's been the intention all along. The Taiwan-based company was spun off from Asus in 2002 in order to compete with major OEM players like ECS and Foxconn, but every once in awhile the mobo maker designs a board that attracts the attention of the enthusiasts. Some of you might still remember (and maybe even still own) the ASRock 939Dual-SATA2 board, one of the first boards to implement both an AGP and PCI-E slot with nary a performance hit on either side.
Packing features that belie a budget price tag has been the company's staple, but does it have what it takes to compete at the high end? We may soon find out. According to sources at motherboard makers, Pegatron Technology is expected to use the ASRock brand name to compete against firt-tier mobo makers and vendors, and that includes Asus after the company is spun off in July 2010.
ASRock will end up shipping 7 million of its own-brand motherboards in 2009, putting the company in position to wrestle with MSI and ECS for the No. 3 spot in global branded motherboards. In addition, Asus plans to reduce its mobo outsourcing to Pegatron from 50 percent to just 30 percent of Asus' total shipments, freeing Pegatron up to churn out even more ASRock branded boards next year and beyond.
It's not all about motherboards, either. Pegatron will use the ASRock brand to promote desktops and notebooks, and could even use it on smartbooks, e-book readers, handheld devices, and LCD TVs, the sources say.
VIA this week announced its new VN1000 digital media chipset, which the company claims is the "world's most power efficient DX10.1 chipset" on the planet.
Providing the DirectX 10.1 graphics is VIA's Chrome 520 IGP, which boasts the same traits as the Chrome 500-series, such as a 500MHz GPU and 32 stream processors. It also supports Shader Model 4, OpenGL 3.0, and OpenCL 1.0.
VIA says its high-performance ChromotionHD 2.0 video processor also offers advanced filter and "ultra smooth decoding" of MPEG-4/AVC, H.264, MPEG-2, VC-1, WMV-HD, and AVS video for Blu-ray content.
"The VIA VN1000 leverages our optimized VIA Nano 3000 Series processors, creating the most balanced, power-efficient, multimedia-focused desktop platform on the market today," said Richard Brown, VP International Marketing, VIA. "Supporting the latest system memory, graphics, and entertainment standards, the VIA VN1000 takes the VIA processor platform to new heights of power-efficient visual sophistication."
Other features include support for DDR3 memory at speeds up to 1066MHz, a single x8 and four x1 PCI-E lanes, up to ficve PCI slots, and 8-channel audio.
November ranks as a quirky month for first-tier motherboard makers ECS and MSI, who posted mixed results. ECS said its consolidated revenues were down 3.05 percent sequentially in November, which is in contrast to revenues being up 6.16 percent for MSI.
Unfortunately for MSI, November is not indicative of the past year. MSI's November revenues tumbled 24.25 percent on year with combined revenues from January to November down 20.43 percent on year, which is by far the biggest drop out of first-tier mobo makers.
To put it into perspective, ECS posted the second worst numbers, with November revenues down 4.8 percent on year. Meanwhile, Gigabyte and Asus were both up, posting gains of 18.62 percent and 58.32 percent, respectively.
ECS, who began the year with ambitious goals, will have little to celebrate as the year comes to an end. The company estimates that its total mobo shipments for the year will reach 17.2 million, failing to meet its goal of 20 million units. ECS is also unlikely to achieve its shipment goal of four million notebooks for 2009, and is expected to fall short by about 600,000 units.