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.
Biostar today adds to its T-Series motherboard lineup, this time with a hybrid board capable of running both DDR2 and DDR3 memory (not at the same time).
"Needless to say, the double DDR2/DDR3 design make it possible for users to enjoy better compatibility and cost saving on future memory upgrade," Biostar wrote in a press release. "This motherboard also supports Biostar's exclusive G.P.U. energy-saving technology."
The TP45E Combo motherboard dedicates two slots to each memory standard with support for up to 4GB of DDR3-800/1066/1333, and up to 8GB of DDR2-667/800/1066. Other notables include "whole solid capacitors," 1600MHz frontside bus support, 3 PCI slots, 2 PCI-E x1 slots, a single PCI-E Gen2 x16 slot, 6 SATA ports, and 5.1 surround sound.
Biostar's second Core-i7 compatible motherboard, the TPower X58A, is now available for sale, and here's why the company believes you should look at upgrading to the platform, price be damned.
"Although Intel X58 chipset based motherboard is sold at a relatively higher price in the market, Biostar still has an excellent reputation for TPower series, in which TPower X58 and TPower I45 are very popular with a lot of power users," Biostar writes in its press release.
Alrighty then. But quirky marketing aside, the revised TPower X58A does come with some enthusiast features, such as adopting an overclocker-friendly 12+2 power phase design (12-phase CPU and 2-phase memory), Ferrite core chokes, all Japananese manufactured solid capacitors, support for up to 24GB of DDR3-1333/1600/2000, three PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots, eSATA support, and a 'Rapid Debug 3' POST LED display to help you figure out which device(s) might be failing.
It's worth noting that Biostar has made a major push in the past 12 months to shed its reputation as a budget option and compete at the high end, snagging overclocking and frontside bus world records along the way.
Two Nvidia nForce 200 chips? Check. Seven (SEVEN!) PCI-E Gen 2 x16 slots? Check Three-way SLI and CrossFireX support? Check and check. Put it all together and you have the recipe for Asus' newly launched P6T7 WS SuperComputer motherboard.
"The Asus Workstation Series is the ideal foundation for a powerful PC," Asus states on the mobo's product page. "It delivers awesome power, dependable performance, and unparalleled multiple I/O scalability for the most demanding tasks an future upgrades. Also, it provides extreme power saving experience with EPU-6 Engine function."
Other features include six DIMM slots for up to 24GB of DDR3-2000 (O.C.) tri-channel memory, a comparatively modest six SATA 3Gb/s ports, two eSATA ports with support for RAID 0/1, two SAS ports also with support for RAID 0,1, oodles of USB 2.0 ports (12 in all), a true 16+2 phase power design, support for CrashFree BIOS 3, a stepless frequency selection, and more.
Designed mainly for CUDA parallel computing, Asus says up to nearly four teraflops of performance is made possible by outfitting the SuperComputer with four CUDA cards, one of which the company says should be a Quadro graphic card.
Asus this week announced new beta drivers for several of its motherboards that "enable Asus motherboard users to run Windows 7 RC." By doing so, Asus claims its mobos are the world's first to support the newly released operating system.
"Asus' industry-leading Research & Development team has kept close pace with each new beta release of Windows 7, and has developed beta drivers that enable Asus motherboard users to try Windows 7 RC immediately," Asus wrote in a press release. "The drivers can be downloaded from the Asus Motherboard Support website (http://support.asus.com/)."
Asus notes the following models are now officially supported:
P6T Deluxe V2
P5Q PRO Turbo
P5Q SE PLUS
Updated drivers for the full range of P6T, P5Q, and M4 series boards will be coming soon, Asus says.
You probably won't pull the global economy up by its bootstraps simply by upgrading your motherboard, but you will help reverse the downward sales trend mobo makers have had to contend with. According to a report by the Taiwanese Market Intelligence Institute (MIC), only 32 million motherboards were sold in the first quarter of 2009, a 16 percent drop from one year ago.
While sales in the US were down, the European market showed the most severe slowdown, according to the report. And it doesn't look to get any better in the second quarter of 2009.
"Markets in each region are entering the off-season, and channel inventory replenishment activities are slowing down," said Vincent Chang, MIC industry analyst. "market shipment momentum is thus weakening. Only several PC brands have continued to make procurements in April."
Chang went on to predict that year end sales figures, while still comparatively dismal, will fare a little better. He expects worldwide motherboard shipments to be in the 134 million range, or a 9 percent drop from 2008.
So there you have - tell your significant other you're only upgrading to Core i7 to help save mobo makers.
AMD faithful and bargain hunters alike have a pair of new toys to play with starting today, as AMD launches two new processors for its socket AM3 platform, the Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition and 945. Both parts boast compatibility with AM2+ (DDR2) and AM3 (DDR3) motherboards, while the Phenom II X4 955 BE supplants the AM2-based 940 as AMD's new flagship entry in its Phenom line.
Coinciding with the launch, AMD has also overhauled its Dragon Platform Technology, saying "every aspect of the platform has been improved and the overall value is impressive." And we'd have to agree, considering both new chips are being priced below $250.
Hit the jump to get all the nitty-gritty details on AMD's new AM3 processors and Dragon Platform refresh.
Citing un-named "sources in the channel," DigiTimes reports that second-tier motherboard maker Abit has decided to quit the consumer electronics branding business. Among the products affected are digital photo frames and digital speakers, neither of which have been prominent sellers in the U.S. market, if at all.
Still, the news comes as another reminder of Abit's fall from grace as a premier motherboard maker who once catered to overclockers. At one time on the level of the likes of Asus, questionable management decisions proved fatal for the Abit of old, who hit hard times financially and sold its brand name to Universal Scientific Industrial (USI) in 2006. Since then, the company has shifted its focus to becoming a second-tier mobo maker, with its latest Abit-brand motherboard being the Intel X48-based IX48 GT3.
Maybe the world has gone topsy-turvy on us, but Biostar, the company best known for its budget motherboards, has set another overclocking world record, this time on AMD's Phenom platform. Say what?
Using Biostar's recently released TA790GX A3+ motherboard, Japanese overclocker "PcCI2iminal" and his team (Yoko) pushed AMD's Phenom II 955 processor to 6.16GHz and 6.20GHz, respectively, claiming the top and third spots for highest OC for that processor. In both cases, liquid nitrogen cooling was used to push the processor nearly 94 percent higher than its stock speed. The fourth highest OC sits at a distant 4.09GHz using air cooling.
Last summer, a Biostar board was used to set the frontside bus world record when an overclocker who goes by the name Youngpro manged to maneuver the Biostar I45 board's FSB to 725MHz (2,900MHz quad-pumped).