It hasn't always been smooth sailing for motherboard makers in 2010, but at least for the month of September, all the major players managed to increase revenues, most by 25 percent or more.
Pegatron showed the least amount of month-on-month growth of the bunch at 4.6 percent, followed by Asus with 5.79 percent (Asus is up year-over-year 45.42 percent).
ECS recorded the highest month-on-month revenue growth of them all by jumping up 33.27 percent. No other company needed it more, as ECS is also the only one to post a year-on-year loss, with overall revenue down 8.38 percent.
Gigabyte posted September revenues of $152.7 million, up 25.51 percent on month and 0.2 percent on year, while MSI posted $266.2 million in revenue for the month, up 26.22 percent.
MSI just gave birth to a faster breed of its N460GTX Hawk graphics card, which it's calling "Talon Attack" (no joke). The Talon Attack comes equipped with the same Twin Frozr II cooling solution as the original, but underneath the heatsink, MSI swapped the memory for lower-latency 0.4ns RAM chips.
"The newest addition to MSI's Hawk line-up, the N460GTX Hawk Talon Attack graphics card, is quipped with super-fast 0.4ns graphics memory and is overclocked out of the box to 810MHz core, 1620MHz Shader core, and 3900MHz memory clock," MSI said. "This places the MSI N460GTX Hawk Talon Attack above a reference GTX 470 in today's most popular benchmark, 3DMark Vantage."
For the sake of comparison, the original N460GTX Hawk came clocked at 780MHz core, 1560MHz Shader core, and 3600MHz memory. Other than goosing the clockspeeds across the board, the Talon Attack shares the same feature-set as the original, including 1GB of GDDR5 memory, a pair of dual-link DVI connectors, and a mini-HDMI port.
Here we are on Friday and we almost went a whole week without another addition to MSI's Classic series of laptops. Squeaking in just in time is the CX413, the newest addition to the Classic line sporting a 14-inch screen and AMD's new Vision (Danube) platform inside.
Base configuration consists of an AMD Athlon II dual-core P320 processor, up to 8GB of DDR3-1066 memory support (no word on much it ships with), ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 graphics with 512MB of video memory, 250/320/500GB hard drive, DVD burner, a trio of USB 2.0 ports, 4-in-1 card reader, HDMI, VGA, 802.11g/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Gigabit LAN, 1.3MP webcam, and a 6-cell battery.
Like several models that came before it, the CX413 includes MSI's exclusive ECO engine power saving technology, which allows users to select from various power management levels, including Entertainment, Presentation, Word Processing, and Turbo Battery.
MSI today announced it is taking its Wind Top AE2420 3D stateside. According to MSI, this latest Wind Top is the world's first 3D touchscreen all-in-one (AIO) PC, which is also capable of converting 2D content into three dimensions.
"Most people don't realize that MSI has been making the guts of PCs for more than 20 years, and were the first to launch the 10-inch netbook, which is now the most popular form factor on the market," said Andy Tung, vice president of sales, MSI U.S. "By bringing the world's first 3D all-in-one PC to North America, MSI is continuing to introduce people to the future of computing."
The main attraction, of course, is the 23.6-inch LED backlit display where the 3D magic comes to life. In and around the AIO sits some fairly powerful hardware and respectable feature-set, including an Intel Core i7 860 processor clocked at 2.8GHz, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5730 graphics with 1GB of GDDR3 memory, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, 801.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, a 1TB SATA hard drive, Blu-ray/DVD burner combo, 1.3MP webcam, 6-in-1 memory card reader, a pair of USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, eSATA, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.
In addition to the 3D visuals, MSI is making noise over the AE2420's sound system. Two 5W speakers are flanked by a 10W subwoofer and include Creative's THX TruStudio Pro technology.
The Wind Top AE2420 will be available soon starting at $1,800.
We've been hearing chatter that MSI is getting ready to roll out a line of ruggedized motherboards and videocards, though details beyond that are disappointingly sparse.
We're not entirely sure how you supe-up a mobo or videocard so that it qualifies as rugged, but we're eager to find out. Maybe they'll come encased in rubber or coated in unobtanium.
Either way, MSI is hoping these new products will help spur sales. The company reported August revenues of around $203.72 million, down nearly half a percentage point sequentially. MSI's graphics card business has been especially brutal, with MSI expecting global shipments to drop by 10-15 percent on year in 2010.
MSI might be looking to release a Classic series notebook for every man, woman, and child on the planet, or so it seems. We haven't actually taken the time to count how many Classic models MSI has, but whatever it is, it just grew by one more unit, the CR420.
The CR420 is MSI's latest Classic laptop and checks in at 14 inches. It's built around Intel's Core i5 processor family and includes up to 4GB of DDR3 memory, Intel HD graphics, 250/320/500GB hard drive, DVD writer, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v2.1, 1.3MP webcam, HDMI, VGA, USB 2.0, eSATA, 4-in-1 memory card reader, and a 6-cell battery.
Other features include a chiclet style keyboard, scratch resistant cross-hatch color film print, and beveled edges for that, um, "classic" look.
It’s almost impossible to drop a processor into MSI’s 890FXA-GD70 motherboard without overclocking it. The reason has nothing to do with MSI not letting you run a chip at stock speeds—it does—but the temptation to goose your processor presents itself at every turn. If you’re poking around the BIOS, you need only enable the OC Genie Light option for a free speed boost. Alternately, you can turn a knob on the motherboard to make front-side-bus adjustments on the fly. And yet a third way to overclock is to fire up the included Control Center software and start moving sliders, or press the OC Genie button and be done with it. Using the latter option, we were prompted to restart our test bed, at which point the MSI board cranked our Phenom II X4 955BE up from 3.2GHz to a stable 3.68GHz. Not bad.
One look at the Big Bang-XPower’s row of six x16 physical PCI-E slots tells you the board is special. PCI? Feh, who the hell needs that in 2010?
MSI has now also adopted the one-clip DIMM slots that let you easily remove RAM without having to pull out the GPU first. The board also includes a somewhat nifty wired remote to monitor system vitals and perform an overclock. Unfortunately, we found the OC Dashboard a bit buggy. While trying to crank up the bclock using the small device, we had to manually refresh the display in order to see the correct frequency.
Hewlett Packard (HP) expects to become the world's second largest supplier of netbooks in 2011, and should the company get there, they should consider sending a bottle of Cristal to Intel, the world's No. 1 chip maker. It only seems fitting, considering Intel just shipped a large number of its new dual-core Atom N550 processors to HP for $65, representing a significant 25 percent savings over the chip's official $86 price tag.
As it currently stands, Acer, Samsung, and Asus are the three largest netbook suppliers in the world, in that order. MSI could have been in the mix too, but the company is putting on the brakes somewhat citing concerns over market demand for dual-core netbooks. Instead, MSI is reportedly stepping back to focus on single-core units, and eventually will exit the market in favor of traditional notebooks.
MSI's latest Fermi-based graphics card is a tweaker's dream, assuming you sit around dreaming about cranking voltage knobs on your hardware. That's exactly what you can do with MSI's new N460GTX Hawk, supposedly the world's first videocard with a triple overvoltage function to support core voltage, memory voltage, and PLL voltage adjustments.
MSI says the N460GTX Hawk is also the only model on the market to have successfully achieved 1GHz on air, a feat made possible in part by the 7+1 PWM power design, V-Check Points (which allows users to measure voltage on the graphics card with a multimeter), active phase switching (APS), and the dual-fan Twin Frozr II heatsink.
With the core clockspeed cranked to 1GHz, Indonesian overclocker "Hazzan" posted a 3DMark Vantage score of 21,706 (18,725 GPU, 41,552 CPU), an impressive mark for an air cooled setup.