Rifling through the box that the Intel DX58SO “Smackover” board came in, we were surprised not to find “love” and “hate” brass knuckles, because the motherboard definitely conjures feelings of both extremes.
If you think we’re being disrespectful, just take one look at the board’s SATA ports. That will tell you that somebody at Intel still doesn’t know that today’s graphics cards are big, huge, honking affairs. Since Intel oriented all the SATA ports vertically, you’ll have a hell of a time accessing the ports with a dual-slot GPU parked overhead.
And if that doesn’t make you bust out the hate knuckles, the memory slots might. We’ve seen four previous boards for the Core i7—two from Asus, one from DFI, and an MSI mobo—and all have had six DIMM slots so you could run up to 12GB of RAM and maintain tri-channel mode. Not Intel’s.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Gigabyte should be blushing. Why? Because Asus, highly regarded among power users for the company's high-end motherboards, has taken a page from Gigabyte and quietly outfitted some of its motherboards with 2-ounce copper PCBs (printed circuit boards).
Well over half of Gigabyte-brand motherboards shipped during the week before Computex were 2-ounce copper, and by the end of the year, Gigabyte predicts the copper design will account for 80 percent of its boards. But what's interesting about Asus following suit is that Asrock, an Asus subsidiary, at one time decried Gigabyte's copper design as completely unnecessary.
Asrock went on a rampage sending out PowerPoint presentations to the press that not only said a 2-ounce copper design didn't benefit cooling, but was actually harming the environment as well. Funny how watching another company gain marketshare can change one's perspective, isn't it?
EVGA set out to prove it's not the size of the motherboard that matters, but how you use it. And with the release of the X58 SLI Micro, you can use any speed grade Core i7 processor you want along with a pair of Nvidia graphics cards all in a micro-ATX package.
In addition to 2-way SLI support, the new mobo also crams 6 DDR3 memory slots (supporting up to 12GB of triple channel DDR3-1600MHz+) and 6 SATA II 3GB/s ports onto the mATX board. Other features include 100-percent solid state capacitors, VDroop control, an onboard temperature monitor, support for up 12 USB ports, a single LAN port, a passive heatsink for cooling the chipset, RAID 0/1/0+1/5 and JBOD support, and 8-channel onboard audio, all decked out in a red and black color theme.
Let's get this out of the way right off the bat - Asus launched its P6T7 WS SuperComputer motherboard in mid-March, so technically it's not 'new.' But there's no splitting hairs about this workstation board being one of the baddest mobos around thanks to a whopping seven PCI-E x16 slots. Yes, we said SEVEN!
While there's nothing to stop a power user from building a truly brag worthy rig with the P6T7 WS as its foundation, this motherboard was really designed for parallel computing. It's been certified for Nvidia Tesla GPU computing with support for up to three Nvidia Tesla cards and one Nvidia Quadro card. Such a configuration adds up to 960 parallel processing cores pumping out 4 freakin' teraflops of processing power, enough to qualify for a basement level supercomputer.
Other specs include RAID 0/1/5/10 support, up to 12 USB 2.0 ports (6 native and 3 USB connectors supporting an additional 6 ports), 2 eSATA 3Gb/s ports, two nForce 200 chips, three-way ATI CrossFireX and Nvidia SLI support, dual LAN ports, and more.
Taiwan-based Shuttle Inc. is mulling an entry into the notebook market, if the grapevine is to be believed. The rumor gained currency after Elitegroup Computer Systems' (ECS') ex-president of notebook business moved to Shuttle as its new president. However, the company has tried to downplay the rumor by contending that it is a bit farfetched to jump to conclusions based on the professional background of its new president. Shuttle is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of motherboards. Its product portfolio also boasts an assortment of small form factor computers and barebones.
In an effort to help save R&D costs for its own-brand motherboards, Intel will release ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) orders to Taiwan-based motherboard makers, with the first orders belonging exclusively to Foxconn, DigiTimes reports.
As it currently stands, Intel ships between 4-5 million units annually, but although the chip maker is reportedly looking to cut back, the company did say it will continue to design and develop motherboards, as well as closely cooperate with industry players in the motherboard market.
If it turns out to be true, the big loser in the new deal is Pegatron Technology, an Intel OEM partner which will stand on the sidelines for these new orders. Adding salt to the wound, Asus, Pegatron's biggest client, is looking to increase its outsourcing to other companies as well.
AMD has slated November 2009 as the month that they will begin mass production of their 8 series chipsets.
The new RD890 chipset is poised to replace the RD790 and RS880D in January 2010, after they pass the engineering verification (EVT) and design verification tests (DVT). The RD890 will pair up with AMD’s quad-core AM3 processors in the high-end market, and will support DDR3 memory and HyperTransport 3.0.
Along with this, AMD is planning to launch their SB800 series of southbridges in January of next year.
Good news for Gigabyte fans who like to tweak their systems but fear one bad move (or BIOS flash) could ruin the whole experience. The motherboard maker has begun offering its DualBIOS technology on its entire lineup of motherboards and not just the high-end boards.
Gigabyte refers to its DualBIOS as a "hot spare" for your system, and that's essentially what is. DualBIOS boards contain two BIOS chips. Should the primary chip fail for any reason -- say a power outage during a BIOS update, or a particularly nasty virus infection -- the secondary BIOS automatically kicks in the next time you boot your system.
Gigabyte initially only offered its DualBIOS technology on premium boards, but look to see it on both entry- and mid-level mobos going forward as the company tries to increase its market share.
Almost every top tier motherboard maker has been feeling the economic crunch, save for MSI, the only major mobo player to see its monthly revenues go up. Asus, ECS, and Gigabyte all slid in the opposite direction, with Asus hit the hardest after posting consolidated revenues of $428.55 million for May. That's a drop of 20 percent on month for the popular motherboard maker, and 22 percent down for the year.
ECS, meanwhile, posted consolidated revenues of $187 million for May, down 7.5 percent for the month and 17.54 percent on the year. Gigabyte's revenues checked in at just $88 million, a drop of 9.45 percent on the month and 7.64 percent for the year.
MSI, while up for the month, was down on the year, though just slightly at 0.54 percent.
Loud bellows can be heard at the ongoing Computex tradeshow in the Taiwanese capital. Nvidia is the one making all the noise with a bagful of Ion-based small form factor products. There are 21 Ion-based products being showcased at the event, including the Acer Desktop AspireRevo, Asus All-in-one eeeTop ET2002 and MSI All-in-one Windtop AE2201. Many of these products had not been heard of prior to Computex. The Ion platform has been at the receiving end of Intel’s contempt. But even Intel must be keenly observing the first wave of Ion-based products at Computex.